Shiga pref road trip - underrated beautiful hidden gem -

Kyoto has so many places that are famous for great scenery, history, garden, food, photogenicity, etc but with...a lot of people.

If you are looking for a bit of relaxed day trip destinations from Kyoto, I highly recommend Shiga!

Last weekend, me and my friend decided to have a small road trip to East part of Shiga. My 2 main motivations for the trip were "Vories buildings" and "farmer's markets" - have you heard of Vories? I actually had not heard of him at all before this trip, until I started doing some research on interesting architecture.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merrell_Vories_Hitotsuyanagi
I was super fascinated by his biography, as a missionary, self-taught architect, American, eventually Japanese citizen, what he has done here during war time, how close he was to the Emperor...


Located in Hikone city, two hour drive away from Kyoto, we arrived at Former Toyosato Elementary school.




Vories was so impressed by this story...
https://www.moralstories.org/the-rabbit-and-the-turtle/




It's so nice to walk on the corridor which was squeaky at some spot


The Auditorium was just so beautiful





And this school became famous as it's used as setting for Anime K-ON! movie, so we saw actually a lot of people in cosplay, with their anime-decorated cars, people showing off each other's K-ON! stuff.


I don't know anything about K-ON, but this school, its history and their mixed cultural side were so interesting.

Then we drove towards Omi-Hachiman city and the scenery on the way was absolutely idyllic and so peaceful.



We arrived to Omi-Hachiman city, and had late lunch at a local restaurant to try local beef called Omi beef which was just WOW. Melting. 


The central town of Omi-Hachiman is very small but traditional with old buildings everywhere, and less people compared to old areas in Kyoto! I think it would be so nice to visit here again in spring as we saw a lot of cherry blossom trees lining up along the canal which was very beautiful. In Edo period, merchants from Omi-Hachiman, who were called 'Omi shonin' (Omi merchants) played active roles in various parts of Japan. You can still see nice traditional houses and exciting treasures at some vintage shops in the town!







Have you heard of Tobidashi Boya? That's a cute sign for drivers to get aware of children jump out to the road that you can find all around Japan. And seems like Tobidashi Boya is actually from this region! 



SO CUTE. I've been taking photos of different Boyas everywhere, but the eel one is probably my favorite so far!


It was such a nice day driving around, checking out some local farmer's market, cool buildings and overall, in the beautiful nature and food!
You can take JR train to get to Omi-Hachiman, and you can probably take local bus to get close to the Toyosato school too.

Shiga is right next to Kyoto, but I think it's definitely underrated prefecture which is totally more breathable than Kyoto and so much more spacious! You should definitely try those small places before it's discovered by so many more tourists ;)

Comments

Popular Posts