The prefecture of Shiga is in the middle of Japan; Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, lies at its center. It is surrounded by Mt. Ibuki to the northeast, the Suzuka Mountain Range to the east, Mt. Hira-san and Mt. Hiei-zan to the west, and the Shigaraki Mountains lie to the south. Biwako Quasi-National Park includes Lake Yogo, Mt. Ibuki, Mt. Hira and Mt. Hiei; it extends over one-sixth of the area of Shiga. Shiga has a number of scenic beauty spots, including Omi Hakkei, or eight scenic views of Omi, which resemble views of Lake Tungtinghu in Hunan, China. As it stands at a trading crossroads between western and eastern Japan, civilization has flourished in this area since the earliest times. There are a number of precious heritage sites, including Hiei-zan Enryaku-ji Temple, designated as World Cultural Heritage, Hikone Castle designated as a national treasure, and many famous Buddhist images. Shiga is one of the richest areas in Japan for national treasures and important cultural properties.
You can also enjoy Shigaraki ware pottery, noted for statuettes of raccoon dogs, Otsu-e pictures with their vivid colors, and other traditional arts and crafts. Delicious food treats include traditional sushi, with fermented freshwater fish called "Funa-zushi," which has been enjoyed since the 8th century; also try Omi beef to tempt your palate. Not to be missed is the Hikiyama-matsuri Festival where decorative floats parade through the city in spring.