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Be Wa: Explore Shiga & Japan's Hidden Wonders
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Explore Shiga & Japan's Hidden Wonders
Explore Shiga & Japan's Hidden Wonders

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The preparatory float relocating ceremony 曳山交替式 took place last weekend in Nagahama. (Photo courtesy of Yasuo Shimizu)

The purpose of this ceremony is to switch festival floats for the Hikiyama (Children Kabuki) Festival 長浜曳山まつり next week. Every year, four floats out of a total thirteen, each representing a district of central Nagahama, are used for the main festival. This preparatory ceremony takes place at the float maintenance warehouse at Hikiyama Museum in the Kurokabe area, where the 4 floats to be used the following week are returned to their respective districts, and the 4 floats for next year's ceremony will replace them in the warehouse to begin the preparations for the next festival.
The main event of course is still to come next week, at the Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri, where the floats will be paraded around the city for 4 days, with children performing kabuki on the floats as they are moved around the city.

For more info for the Hikiyama Festival, please visit at: 
http://kitabiwako.jp/en/events/ (some English information)
http://pht.nagahama-hikiyama.or.jp/ (Festival photography website)
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Hikiyama Float Relocation Ceremony, Nagahama, 2015
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New article up on Be Wa covering a recent visit to Adogawa-cho in Takashima, Shiga. It's one of the only remaining places where Japanese folding fans are still being crafted by hand.

And a special thanks to our intern, Elena Szost for writing the article; sadly, it may be her last for us since her study abroad program is nearly finished.

http://www.bewashiga.com/article/takashima-where-all-japanese-fans-are-born/

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This weekend in Omi Hachiman is the very exciting Sagicho Festival.
Local communities from around the area create awesome floats celebrating the Chinese Zodiac animal of the year (this year the sheep).
All the animal representations are made of foodstuffs (that in itself is worth seeing) which has taken a lot of time, patience and skill to achieve.
They then parade the floats - with occassional battles between then - around the Hachiman Bori area before burning the floats later Sunday night in big bonfire style.
There's a very 'merry' vibe to the air and often lots and lots of sake is on hand.
Definitely one of the most lively festvals Shiga has to offer.
To get there, exit Omi Hachiman Station on the west side and head for the big mountain with a cable car straight down the main street (30 minutes walk) - or look out for buses/shuttles heading that way. (There's a tourist information center just under the station out of the west exit).
Have fun!
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Annual Hina-Ningyo doll display for Hina-Matsuri (Girl's Day) at the historic Gokasho Omi Merchant Residences. See our full article for more info: http://www.bewashiga.com/article/celebrating-hina-matsuri-homes-omi-shonin/
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2015-03-07
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Photos by our friend, Yasuo Shimizu, from the fun event in Nagahama this past weekend. What is a big day for girls this time of year...? Yes, Hinamatsuri (girls' day / dolls festival)!!

There were hina dolls displayed at 80 different stores and households in town. Plus, a Hinamatsuri sushi contest, plum wine tasting festival and lots more! Please come and visit next year.
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Hinamatsuri Nagahama, 2015
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ome university students' art works on display in Kusatsu Creahall until Sunday, March 1st.
Looked interesting last night on the local news!
http://www.creahall.net/blog/syosai.php?id=24

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Intriguing puppetry and story telling in Yokaichi's Cultural Center this coming Sunday, March 1st.
Show starts 2pm. (Pre-booked) tickets from 1500 yen.
Web link to puppet company here:
http://www.mc.ccnw.ne.jp/musubiza/
Yokaichi Cultural Center ph: 0748 23 6862
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ew article up on Be Wa by our new contributor, Elena. Have a look at the beautiful plum blossoms, or better yet, head up to Nagahama for the actual exhibit before it finishes on March 10!

http://www.bewashiga.com/article/plum-blossom-bonsai-trees-blooming-bonbaiten/

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Last weekend on the way to the talented Tomoyuki Yoshida exhibition in Ishiyama, this restaurant managed to draw me in.
'Osteria Cielo Alto' has great waterside views, a very delicious (and reasonable) Italian menu, a small cosy feel, very well mannered staff and convenience from Ishiyama station. 

Note: It may be worth booking ahead as the place is small.

http://www.osteria-cielo-alto.com/

Then on the way back I popped into the Suzu-ya bakery/cafe for some very reasonable and tasty pastries.

http://r.gnavi.co.jp/kp3g644t0000/

A wonderful fill of food, art and river views in Ishiyama~!
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