Lake Biwa and Nagahama Japan with Kids (Shiga-ken)

Lake Biwa and Nagahama Japan with Kids. If you missed the cherry blossoms in Tokyo we recommend visiting Lake Biwa and the Nagahama Castle in Shiga Prefecture. Next week from April 9 – 17, 2018 the area will hold the Nagahama Hikiyama Festival. “The “Nagahama Hikiyama Festival” is a festival that began in Nagahama during the Edo period (1603-1868 CE). Nagahama Hikiyamas, a type wheeled float pulled manually with ropes, filled with carvings and metal decorations that were common in the during the Edo period are paraded down the streets. In 2016 UNESCO registered it on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritages. At the festival young boys will perform skilled Kabuki on the hikiyamas from the evening of April 13th – 16th.

*** Lake Biwa and Nagahama Japan with Kids ***

Lake Biwa and Nagahama Japan with Kids

Spend the morning taking a stroll along Lake Biwa to the Nagahama Castle and Historical Museum and learn the history of Nagahama (Japanese descriptions only). Nagahama Castle was built in 1575-1576 by Hashiba Hideyoshi (later known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi) renaming the area Nagahama. Cherry blossoms are expected to bloom early to mid April around the castle base. A great time to visit and experience the festival and sakura.

Nagahama Castle Details
Address: 110-10 Koen-cho, Nagahama
Cost: Adult 400 JPY; Kids (Elementary & JHS) 400 JHS
Hours: 9:00-17:00 (last entrance 16:30). Closed Dec 27 – Jan 2. *All or part of the museum may temporarily close when changing exhibits.

Nagahama Hikiyama Festival Dates: Friday, April 13 – Monday, April 16

Walk East from the castle exit through the park to Toyoho Children`s Park (豊公園の児童遊園). The playground park is spacious with swings, spring riders, rolling slide, trampoline, and climbing equipment with sakura trees along the walkway. Note they have a cage at the entrance of the park with three sad monkeys inside. Hoping they`ll move them to better facilities.

*** Lake Biwa and Nagahama Japan with Kids ***

Lake Biwa and Nagahama Japan with Kids

Head to Kurokabe Square and enjoy the slow life of the unique lakeside town and Nagahama Otemon Street with shops, eateries, Kaiyodo Figure Museum and temples and shrines. Older kids might be interested in creating their own glass cups, stained glass, and more at the Kurokabe Glass Studio. Reservation required.

Kaiyodo Figure Museum Details
Cost: Adults 800 JPY; Kids (elementary – JHS) 500 JPY
Phone: +81-749-68-1680
Hours: 10: 00 – 17: 00 (It is open from April to September at 18:00.)
Admission until 30 minutes before closing
Access: 5 minute walk from Nagahama station on the JR Hokuriku line.

Kurokabe Glass Studio
Address: 12 – 38 Motohama cho Nagahama shiga prefecture
Phone: 0749-65-2330
Hours: 10:00-18:00 (from November to March till 17: 00)

Lake Biwa and Nagahama Japan with Kids

Visit the 28m tall Nagahama Biwako Daibutsu (Nagahama Lake Biwa Great Buddha). The Nagahama Biwako Daibutsu is located in Ryochu-ji Temple. First named Gokoku Amida Nyorai but was taken down and rebuilt in 1994 and named Nagahama Biwako Daibutsu. One of 10 tallest Great Buddhas in Japan.

Address: 86 Shimosakahama Town, Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture
Phone: +81-7-4962-1770
Hours: 9:00 – 16:00
Access: 20 minutes on foot from Nagahama Station. 12 minutes from the Yanmar Museum.
Price: FREE

*** Lake Biwa and Nagahama Japan with Kids ***

Another option is the Yanmar Museum, an interactive museum where kids can learn the `various processes involved in food production and harnessing power.` There are 14 areas to explore with each zone highlighting agricultural, construction and marine technologies that play vital roles in our lives. Kids can enjoy exploring the interiors of construction equipment, operate an excavator or try out their boat simulator. Visit their terrace to explore their biotope filled with plant and animal life found on the shore of Lake Biwa or take off your shoes and soothe your feet in their foot bath heated from engine waste heat. Head to the roof for an unobstructed view of the surrounding area or relax in their 2nd floor lounge with baby play area. Kids` workshops available by reservation. Visit their website for more information (Japanese language only).

Address: 6-50 Sanwacho, Nagahama, Shiga
Phone: 07-4962-8887
Hours: 10:00-18:00 (last entry 17:00). Closed Monday, and New Year’s Day. *If Monday is a public holiday they will open and close the following day.
Fee: Adults 600 JPY; Kids (elementary – JHS) 300 JPY; preschool and under FREE
Access: 10 minute walk from JR Nagahama Station on the Hokuriku Main Line. A shuttle bus runs from Nagahama Station to the museum on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Lake Biwa Cruise
– The Nagahama Railway Museum

Lodging: We stayed at the Daiwa Royal Hotel in Nagahama with a beautiful view of Lake Biwa, indoor and outdoor onsen and dining; also walking distance to all of the above except the Nagahama Biwako Daibutsu. 20+ min was a stretch for the kids.


Lake Biwa and Nagahama Japan with Kids


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