Nagahama (長浜市) is a city in Shiga Prefecture, Japan.
Nagahama is located on the JR Hokuriku Main Line, 3 stops north of Maibara, which is accessible by shinkansen (bullet train).
Most of Nagahama's tourist destinations and hotels are within easy walking distance of the station.
There are buses available, but they are mostly used by locals to commute to places on the outskirts of the city proper.
There are veritable hordes of taxis just waiting for your patronage outside the station, should you need to get somewhere a bit farther away.
Bikes can also be rented, but you would need to speak Japanese to do this. The bike rental place is located near the west exit of the station.
Ferries connect Nagahama to the island of Chikubu in Lake Biwa.
- Nagahama Castle (長浜城), Koen-cho 10-10 (Walk west from the station. It should be visible!), ☎ 0749-63-4611, . 9:00 - 17:00. Nagahama Castle was built in 1575-1576 by Hashiba Hideyoshi (later known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi) in the village then called Kunitomo, renaming the area Nagahama. In 1615, the castle was demolished, though parts of it were utilized in the construction of Hikone Castle. The castle as it currently stands was rebuilt in 1983 and houses a museum (in Japanese only) about the history of Nagahama. Nagahama Castle is located in the middle of Hokoen Park, which is the only place you'll find nature in Nagahama, and has a stunning view of Lake Biwa. In Spring, it is a favorite place to picnic under the cherry trees. ¥400 adults, ¥200 children.
- Hikiyama Museum (曳山博物館), 4-8 Motohama-cho (Located in Kurokabe Square), ☎ 0749-65-3300. 9:00 - 16:30. Nagahama Hikiyama (Float) Matsuri (festival) having more than 400 years of history is known as one of the three great float festivals of Japan. In this museum, the gorgeous and splendid floats that are paraded around the city during the Hikiyama Festival are exhibited. A movie showing highlights of the festival, such as kabuki played by boys aging from 5 to 12 just like the old days, are screened. ￥600/adult, ￥300/child.
- Kaiyoudou Figurine Museum (海洋堂), 13-31 Motohama-cho (Located in Kurokabe Square. It's a very obvious building, with a huge anime character statue in front.), ☎ 0749-68-1680. 10:00 - 17:00. An otaku's paradise! Figurines of all shapes and sizes inhabit this museum, a recent boom for collection, depicting dinosaurs, anime characters, etc., are exhibited in a diorama style. Those figures are sold in the shop on the first floor of the museum. There are some seriously heavy-duty collector's items in here! ￥800/adult , ￥500/child (both include souvenir figure).
- Daitsuji Temple, 32-9 Motohama-cho (The eastern-most end of Kurokabe Square. Behind the very tall black and white condo building.), ☎ 0749-62-0054. 9:00 - 16:30. It is said that Daitsuji was built from the remains of Fushimi Castle in Kyoto. In the temple building, there are sliding door paintings by Oukyo Maruyama and by painters of the Kano school reflecting the gorgeous atmosphere of Momoyama culture. Daitsuji's garden is designated as a national scenic garden. Along the street approaching Daitsuji, there are many shops built in the Machiya style, the traditional merchants’ housing style. ￥500/adult , ￥100/student.
- Jinshouji Temple, 323 Shinjotera-cho, ☎ 0749-62-1629. Jinnshouji is the oldest temple in Nagahama and was founded in 895 (Kanpyo 7). There are many valuable cultural assets such as statue of a multi-armed deity, and a Cetaka statue looking over his shoulder. Kinginto Sukashibori Keko (flower basket motif in lace worked arabesque carving in gold and silver), a national treasure, is especially worth noting since it has been exhibited in the Boston Museum of Art and other famous international art museums.
- Hachimangu Shrine, 13-55 Miyamae-cho (About a 25 minute walk east from the station. Taxi would be better.), ☎ 0749-62-0481. This shrine has over 1000 years of history. It is a shrine protecting the community of Nagahama. On every April 15 you can attend the Hikiyama Matsuri!
- Ohmi Kouhouan Temple, 135 Uwano-cho (30 minute taxi ride from the station). 9:00 - 17:00, closed on November 17. Ohmi Kohouan is a temple located in the tranquility of the mountains and greenery which consoles the spirit of Enshuu Kobori (1579 - 1647), Lord of Komuro Castle, known as one of the three great tea ceremony masters. Enshuu constructed Kohouan in Daitoku Ji (temple) in Kyoto, and this temple in contrast is called Ohmi Kohouan. The garden of this temple is well noted for using the natural environment applying Karesansui (dry garden style) and Chisen Kaiyuu Shiki Teien (Japanese garden style with layout of pond, miniature mountains, bridge, etc., where visitors can walk around). The garden is designated as scenic spot by the prefectural government and is known as the best spot for autumn leaves in Kohoku (Northern part of Lake Biwa) ￥300.
- Nagahama Railway Square (長浜鉄道), 1-41 Kita Funa-cho (3 minute walk south of the station's west exit.), ☎ 0749-63-4091. 9:30 - 16:30. Closed Dec. 29 - Jan. 3.. There are three buildings within the Square. The old Nagahama station house is the oldest existing station house in Japan and its stationmaster’s room and waiting room are kept as they were in the old days. In the second building, the Nagahama Railway Cultural Pavilion, a large number of valuable materials about railways are exhibited. In the third building, the Museum for Commemoration of the Electrification of the Hokuriku Line, you can see steam locomotives which were in full operation before the line was made electric. Adults ¥300, Children 15 and under: ¥150. 20% discount for group with more than 20 people..
- Hikiyama Festival (曳山祭り). Every April 15th. Begins at Hachimangu Shrine and snakes its way towards Kurokabe Square. Young boys perform traditional kabuki plays on floats.
- Nagahama and Kita-Biwako Fireworks Festival (長浜と北琵琶湖花火大会). Every August 5th. MASSIVE fireworks festival launched in the harbor area of Lake Biwa. Green Hotel Yes Nagahama Minato-kan offers the best view, but generally any rooftop will do nicely. Remember to wear your yukata! *The 2011 Festival is possibly the last ever to occur due to budget constraints.*
- Nagahama Shusse Festival. This festival started in 1983 commemorating the reconstruction of Nagahama Castle. It's now a major October event in Nagahama. The festival includes various events, most notably the “Great Kimono Garden Party” where thousands of young women from near and far dress up in extraordinarily ornate kimono and parade about town.
- Art in Nagahama. Artists from various fields gather from all over Japan to exhibit, demonstrate, and sell their works in various spots in Kurokabe Square. In other words, this event is an open air market for artists. Usually takes place during the Shusse Festival.
- Nagahama Bonbai Exhibition, Keiun-kan, 2-5 Minato-cho. January 20 - March 10: 9:00 - 17:00. Bonbai is a Japanese apricot tree in bonsai style. This annual exhibition began in 1952 when the late Shichizo Takayama donated his bonbai to Nagahama City. A 400-year-old tree is among the exhibits. The Nagahama Bonbai Exhibition has been referred as the No. 1 bonbai exhibition, both historically and scale-wise. Adults ¥500, Children 15 and under: ¥200.
Nagahama is famous for its glass art. There are many places in Kurokabe Square to see, buy, and even learn to make glass art! The following are two of the more well-known ones.
- Kurokabe Glass Shop (黒壁ガラス館), 12-38 Motohama-cho, 1 Kurokabe (Go east on Ekimaedori, lefthand sidewalk. Follow the little signposts.), ☎ 0749-65-2330, . 10:00-18:00. The namesake of Kurokabe Square, which was originally built in 1890 as Daihyaku Sanju Bank Nagahama Branch. Two storeys of glass art, jewelry, stemware, etc. The first floor is a shop for glass accessories and sundries, while the second floor displays glassworks from all over the world which are also available for purchase. free.
- Studio Kurokabe (スタジオクロカベ), 12-38 Motohama-cho, 2 Kurokabe (Located directly behind Kurokabe Glass Shop), ☎ 0749-65-2330, . 10:00-18:00. Everything sold in this studio is handmade by artists who work in-house. There's a window where you can watch them at work.
- Yum Thai (ヤム タイ), 八幡中山町251 コルドンブルー2F (If you can find Seiyu, you're only a block away!), ☎ 0749-68-2422, . Lunch: 11:00 - 14:30 Dinner: 17:00 - 23:00. Cheap Thai food in Japanese suburbia. Who'd've thought? Yum Thai is very delicious and the staff is friendly. Some of the waitstaff speak English, but the chef/owner lady only speaks Thai and Japanese. Most dishes are around ¥1000.
- Yakiniku Den (焼肉でん), 八幡中山町25 (Immediately next to Art Hotel on Route 8.), ☎ 0749-68-5429, . M-F Lunch: 11:30 - 15:00. M-F Dinner: 17:00 - 26:00. Weekends and holidays: 11:30 - 26:00. Meat nirvana. Also a good place to get kimchi. Expensive but so worth it. Women's prices are cheaper than men's!.
- Nagahama Roman Beer (長濱浪漫ビール), 14-1 Asahi-cho (Exit station east. Walk to the backside of Heiwado. Turn right on the street before the big canal. At the second 4way intersection, turn left. You'll see it on your right.), ☎ 0749-63-4300, . Weekdays 11:30 - 15:00 and 17:00 - 22:00 / Sat & Sun 11:30 - 21:00. Nagahama's only brewery. Decent beer and nice atmosphere, but the food is pricey. Ranging from ¥380 to ¥2600 for beers. Food averages ¥1000 per dish..
- One Coin (Counter's One Coin), 神照町489 (If you can find North Elementary School, you're not very far away!), ☎ 0749-65-7250, . Tues - Sun: 19:00 - 01:00. By far the best bar in Nagahama. It's a pain to get to it, but once you're there, it's awesome! Sumi and his incredibly old mother love foreigners of every stripe. Sumi speaks incredible English and has a basic grasp of Portuguese and Spanish. If you're a new face, his mother will want to interview you. She'll even take notes. ¥600 for all drinks. Food costs more..
- Curry & Bar Sai (カレー＆バー サイ), 元浜町(Motohama-cho) 7-14 2nd Fl. (Right across from the main Kurokabe store.), ☎ 0749-50-7348, . 6:00pm - 0:30am. Sai has a variety of foods and cocktails. Try curry or omelet rice with Heartland (special Kirin beer). It basically opens until customers leave. ￥800-2000.
- Kitabiwako Hotel Grazie (北ビワコホテルグラツィエ), 4-17 Minato-cho (Located on the yacht harbor in the southern end of Hokoen Park.), ☎ 0749-62-7777, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 11:00. An "Italian" style waterfront hotel. Has decent in-house restaurants. One of the finer hotels in Nagahama. ranging from ¥11,000 to ¥55,000 per night.
- Nagahama Royal Hotel (長浜ロイヤルホテル), 38 Oshima-cho (Also in Hokoen, between Kitabiwako Hotel Grazie and the castle), ☎ 0749-64-2000, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 11:00. Has several in-house restaurants. Also has onsen (hot springs). It's probably the ritziest hotel Nagahama has.
- Green Hotel Yes Nagahama Ekimae-kan (グリーンホテルYES長浜駅前館), 9-30 Minami Gohuku-cho (1 minute walk east of the station. Near Kurokabe Square.), ☎ 0749-65-8080, .
- Green Hotel Yes Nagahama Minato-kan (グリーンホテルYES長浜みなと館), 2-28 Minato-cho (From station west exit, about 10 minute walk south.), ☎ 0749-63-2323, .
- Art Hotel Nagahama (アートホテル長浜), 八幡中山町28-1 (From station east exit, about an 8 to 10 minute drive east on Ekimae-dori, then north on Route 8.), ☎ 0749-64-5500, . checkin: 16:00; checkout: 10:00. A national chain; calls itself a "business hotel", but it definitely appeals to travelers seeking a hotel minus frills but with amenities you wouldn't find in a hostel. It's comparable to another national chain called Toyoko Inn, and priced similarly.
- Hamakogetsu (浜湖月), 4-25 Koen-cho, ☎ 0749-62-1111, . A Japanese-style hotel.
- Sugatani Onsen Hotel (須賀谷温泉), 36 Sugatani-cho, ☎ 0749-74-2235, . A Japanese-style hotel, most notable for its onsen.
- Onoe Onsen BENIAYU (尾上温泉紅鮎), Onoe, Kohoku-cho, Higashiazai-gun (30 minutes by taxi from JR Maibara, 10 minutes by taxi from JR Koudoki), ☎ 0749-79-0315, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 11:00. This Japanese onsen hotel is not in Nagahama proper, but it is the only Japanese cultural experience nearby with information in English. About ¥25,000 per night (this includes lavish meals and onsen access).
- L'Hotel du Lac (ロテル・デュ・ラク), Oura 2064, Nishiazai-cho, ☎ 0749-89-1888, . A hotel on the outskirts of the outskirts of Nagahama. Basically in the middle of nowhere. Not easily accessed by train.
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