Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Shiga Prefecture’s Top 12 Cherry Blossom Destinations

Located northeast of Kyoto, Shiga Prefecture is home to the biggest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa. But what many aren’t aware of is there are quite a few spots hidden in this less-traveled prefecture that are great for cherry blossom hunting. Many of these off-the-beaten-path places can be easily accessed from Kyoto by train.

The Top Cherry Blossom Destinations in Shiga Prefecture

Kaizu Ōsaki (海津大崎)

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Ⓒ photo-ac.com

The best place to adore the cherry blossom in Shiga Prefecture has to be Kaizu Ōsaki, where around 800 cherry trees, young and old, flourish along the 4km lakeshore.

This spot isn’t hard to access. It is a 30-minute walk from JR Makino Station. During the cherry blossom season, direct bus services depart from the station to bridge you to Kaizu Ōsaki. You can also hop onto a ferry or kayak to adore the flowers from a different angle.

For more information, please refer to our article on Kaizu Ōsaki.

Mii-dera Temple (三井寺)

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Ⓒ びわ湖大津観光協会

Mii-dera is the spot in Shiga Prefecture that you should visit for cherry blossom hunting. After all, the view of this spot was chosen to be one of the Eight Views of Ōmi Province.

In addition to the beautiful scenery, the temple houses not one but ten National Treatures on the precinct and 42 Important Cultural Properties!

For more information about the temple, please refer to our Mii-dera article.

Tenson Shrine (天孫神社)

The small but spectacular Tenson Shrine is one of the best spots in Shiga Prefecture for admiring the cherry blossoms in spring.

The Tenson Shrine is the guardian shrine of Ōtsu, which was once Japan’s capital. The best time to visit Tenson Shrine is from late March to early April, when the blossom is in full bloom. The dazzling evening lighting at the Tenson Shrine will illuminate the flowers, offering superb photo opportunities for visitors.

Furthermore, the two-day Ōtsu Festival in October takes place is another occasion not to be missed.

For more information, please refer to our article on Ōtsu City.

Sanami-dera Temple (酒波寺)

The Sanami-dera is a stunning destination if you are looking for cherry blossom scenery. A majestic cherry tree at the side of the staircases leading to the Sanmon Gate is regarded by local people to be a tree of special power.

The Prunus Itosakura, or Gyoki-zakura, is 21-meter tall and more than 300 years old. This tree tends to blossom in early to mid-April to the delight of visitors. While the spring blossom at the Sanami-dera Temple is more impressive than fall foliage, this area is still enjoyable to visit in the fall.

For more information, please refer to our Takashima City article.

Ishiyama-dera (石山寺)

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Ⓒ びわ湖大津観光協会

As a literature sanctuary and a less-known spot for some cherry blossom viewing, Ishiiama-dera is a place not to be missed!

This temple has many other features that warrant a visit from any tourist, such as the gigantic wollastonite, which gives the temple its name. At other times of the year, plum blossoms, as well as peonies, azaleas, irises, wisteria, and many other blooming flowers, can be seen!

For more information, please refer to our Ishiyama-dera article.

Ōjigaoka Park (皇子が丘公園)

From mid-March, the cherry trees in Ōjigaoka Park start having flowers covering their branches, making it another off-the-beaten-path spot perfect for cherry blossom hunting.

The peak of the season is around late March, and, as it is only a five-minute walk from Keihan Ōtsukyō Station, there is really no excuse not to visit!

Ōjigaoka Park is also well known for its fall foliage scenery that peaks from mid-November to early December for your amusement.

For more information, please refer to our article on Ōtsu City.

Nagahama Castle (長浜城)

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What surrounds Nagahama Castle are many cherry trees that usually blossom from early to mid-April. The scenery here is so breathtaking that Nagahama Castle was voted one of Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots!

To get the best view, head to the castle’s observatory floor, which offers an exquisite panoramic view of Lake Biwa, framed by gorgeous pink flowers.

For more information, please refer to our article on Nagahama Castle.

Hikone Castle (彦根城)

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In addition to Nagahama Castle, the other castle in Shiga Prefecture that you must visit in early spring is Hikone Castle. The scenery painted by the cherry trees here is even more impressive than Nagahama Castle!

If you can’t get to the castle in spring, autumn is another time of the year when tourists flock to it for beautiful scenery.

For more information, please refer to our Hikone Castle article.

Okubiwako Parkway (奥琵琶湖パークウェイ) 

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Ⓒ 公益社団法人長浜観光協会

Another place in Shiga Prefecture where cherry blossoms line the sides of the motorway is the Okubiwako Parkway. Up to 3,000 cherry trees are standing along an 18.8km motor road!

If you enjoy hiking, there are multiple nature trails with picturesque scenery for you to explore along Okubiwako Parkway. You can also drive all the way to Tsuzura Ozaki Observation Deck, which has stunning views at sunset.

For more information, please refer to our Nagahama City article.

Ayukawa Village (鮎河の千本桜)

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Our recommended off-the-beaten-path spot in Shiga Prefecture for cherry blossom hunting is Ayukawa Village. The small village near the border of Mie Prefecture has many cherry trees planted at the banks of the Ugui River.

In June and July, the locals gather around the cherry trees again to watch the fireflies dancing at night. The spot is also a great place to visit for fall foliage hunting in the autumn months.

For more information, please refer to our Kōka City article.

Oozuchi Dam (青土ダム)

After your visit to the Ugui River, remember to trek upstream to Oozuchi Dam for a different but still impressive natural scenery dotted by cherry blossoms.

The dam is a secluded, peaceful spot that offers you awesome photography opportunities all year round. From mid to late November, the foliage of the trees will turn into bright autumn colors for you to enjoy.

For more information, please refer to our Kōka City article.

MIHO MUSEUM (ミホ・ミュージアム)

The last spot perfect for cherry blossom admiration is the MIHO Museum buried in the mountainous area south of Lake Biwa.

While the museum’s design immediately stuns its visitors upon their arrival, the rows of vivid cherry trees growing along the 500-meter promenade are the best visual highlight.

The museum, filled with amazing exhibits from various eras, is also a great spot to enjoy the autumn scenery with the surrounding mountains dyed with vivid fall colors.

For more information, please refer to our Kōka City article.

The Best Places to Visit in Shiga Prefecture for Fall Foliage Hunting

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Click the photo for all the top spots to visit for fall foliage hunting in Shiga Prefecture!

If your plan is to visit Kansai from late October to early December, you will want to check out our article on the Best Fall Foliage Destinations in Shiga Prefecture for some stunning spots to add to your itinerary.

We are sure you will discover some places you weren’t aware of before!

The Top Attractions in Shiga Prefecture that Are Awesome All Year Round

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Click the photo for more travel ideas in Shiga Prefecture!

If what you are after isn’t just a spot to adore natural scenery, you will want to check out our article on the Best Attractions in Shiga that are great to stop by throughout the year.

This includes a shrine with its torii gate standing in Lake Biwa as well as a ninja house that was the residence of the head of a ninja school in the Edo period!

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