Otsu City (大津市)
Otsu City is a city located at the southwest end of Shiga Prefecture, which is the prefectural capital. It is designated as a core city.
It is an ancient capital known since Emperor Tenchi transferred the capital to Omi no miya (Omi Palace), and it is dotted with lots of historical sites including shrines and temples such as Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei as the World Cultural Heritage, Onjo-ji Temple (Mii-dera Temple) and Hiyoshi-taisha Shrine.
Centered around Otsu-juku, which is an important port of Lake Biwa and used to be the 53rd posting station of Tokai-do Road, it consists of Zeze, the castle town of the Zeze Domain, Sakamoto, a temple town of Mt. Hiei, and Katata, a hub of lake-borne trade.
Although it is the prefectural capital, the feature as a core city of Shiga Prefecture is weak since it is located at the southwest end of the prefecture and adjacent to Kyoto City, and it has been developed as a satellite city of Kyoto.
The city area of Otsu City stretches from the southwest coast to the south coast of Lake Biwa, long and thinly from north to south. As its name suggests, it has been an important point of water transport of Lake Biwa. Mt. Hiei runs north-south in the border with Kyoto City to the west, and the relationship with Kyoto City, which lies across the mountain, is deep. There are three cases that capital cities lie adjacent in Japan; the above-mentioned cities, Yamagata City and Sendai City, and Fukuoka City and Saga City. However, the said cities are especially close to each other in all cities, and the centers of the both cities are only about 10km away (The distance of the centers of Yamagata City and Sendai City is about 62km, that of Fukuoka City and Saga City is about 53km).
It has Inland climate as well as Seto Inland Sea climate in the south and Japan Sea area climate in the north. The old Katata Town area in the snowy area has a lot of snow in the winter.
Before the Jomon period, Ishiyama Shell-Mound was made on the west bank of the Seta-gawa River.
667: Emperor Tenchi built the capital at the Imperial Palace Omi Otsu.
672: Jinsh War occurred. A battle erupted over the bridge of the Seta-gawa River (later Seta no Karahashi Bridge), and Prince Otomo (he was given a posthumous name as Emperor Kobun in 1870) committed a suicide, which made the Imperial Palace Omi Otsu extinct.
In the Nara period, Kokufu (provincial office) was established in Seta, and the timber for constructing the Heijo-kyo Palace came down from the mountains to the south of the lake such as Mt. Tanakami.
794: After the extinction of the Imperial Palace Omi Otsu, its site was called 'Furutsu,' but an imperial decree was issued to call it Otsu again on the occasion of the transfer of the national capital to the city of Heian-kyo.
In the Heian period, Otsu became a port to handle people and products heading for Togoku (eastern Japan) and Hokkoku (northern Japan) from Heian-kyo. The strife between Enryaku-ji Temple and Onjo-ji Temple (Mii-dera Temple) intensified, and armed priests emerged. Ishiyama-dera Temple served as a setting of lots of the Heian literature.
1096: The Eicho-Tokai earthquake occurred. There were heavy damages such as the collapsed bridge of Seta.
In the Muromachi period, the power of Enryaku-ji Temple increasingly became big, and it was successively set on fire by powerful people such as Yoshinori ASHIKAGA and Masamoto HOSOKAWA. Otsu, Sakamoto and Katata flourished in water transport of goods, and the Katata Navy was active.
In the Edo period, Otsu was restored. The base of Otsu hyakusosen, the union of ship operators traversing Lake Biwa, was established there, and it became the hub of water transport of Lake Biwa. And Otsu-juku (a shogunal demesne), a posting station of Tokai-do Road, flourished in transport of goods and traffic of people. Otsu paintings and Otsu abacus became its local specialities. The castle town of Zeze-jo Castle under the Zeze Domain became famous for Shijimi clam gathering and Zeze-yaki pottery, but the finance of the domain was always tight.
1698: The Katata Domain was founded, which lasted until 1826.
1868: Otsu Prefecture was established.
1869: A steamer line was opened between Otsu and Kaizu.
1870: Zeze-jo Castle was demolished, and the Zeze Domain became Zeze Prefecture in the following year.
1872: Shiga Prefecture was established, and Otsu became its prefectural capital.
1880: Osakayama Tunnel was opened, which made the railroad connected with Kyoto.
1889: A railroad replacing the ferry boat between Otsu and Nagahama was opened, which made the Tokaido Main Line opened.
May 11, 1891: The Otsu Incident occurred.
October 1, 1898: Otsu City was established by enforcement of municipal organization.
1905: Nango Weir (present Setagawa Weir) was completed.
May 10, 1932: Shiga Village was incorporated.
April 1, 1933: One city and two towns - (the old) Otsu City, Zeze Town and Ishiyama Town - were newly incorporated, which became the new Otsu City.
April 1, 1951: Ogoto Village, Sakamoto Village, Shimosakamoto Village, Oishi Village and Shimotanakami Village were incorporated.
April 1, 1967: Seta Town and Katata Town were incorporated.
1994: Enryaku-ji Temple was registered as a World Heritage site along with Kinkaku-ji Temple and Kiyomizu-dera Temple under the 'Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage' (World Heritage Convention).
(Registered in December)
April 1, 2001: It was designated as a special city.
October 10, 2003: It was designated as the 10th ancient capital in Japan under the Ancient Capitals PreservatiLaw.
March 20, 2006: Shiga Town was incorporated.
March 18, 2008: The thousand-year anniversary of the Tale of Genji in Koto Otsu was held.
April 1, 2009: it was designated as a core city.
As traditional industries, there are noteworthy items mentioned below as well as Otsu paintings, Otsu abacus, Matsumoto-kawara roof tiles (sangawara, kanryakugawara), Zeze-yaki pottery and Konan-yaki pottery.
Matthew PERRY liked it when it was served on board during the arrival of his black ships, and it became the first item imported to the U.S.
Lansing (Michigan, USA)
It was affiliated as a sister city on October 1, 1969.
Interlaken (Bern, Switzerland)
It was affiliated as a sister city on October 1, 1978.
Würzburg (Bayern, Federal Republic of Germany)
It was affiliated as a sister city on February 13, 1979.
Mudanjiang (Heilongjiang, People's Republic of China)
It was affiliated as a sister city on December 3, 1984.
Gumi (North Gyeongsang, Republic of Korea)
It was affiliated as a sister city on April 12, 1990.
One of the top 100 beautiful stretches of sandy beaches dotted with pine trees.
Lake Biwa Cultural Park
Zeze Park (Zeze-jo Castle Ruins)
Museums and halls
Museum of Shiga Prefecture, Biwako Bunkakan
The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga
Otsu City Museum of History
Mitsuhashi Setsuko Art Museum
Kinoshita Museum of Art
Omi Jingu Shrine Clock Museum
Otsu City Science Museum
"Aqua Biwa" Museum
Biwako Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Shiga
Tanakami Regional Museum
Tanakami Mineral Museum
Mt. Hiei Kokuhoden (national treasure house)
Takebe Taisha Homotsuden (treasure house)
Tachiki Ongakudo music hall
Onjo-ji Temple (Mii-dera Temple)
It is the head temple of the Tendaijimon sect. Its sango is Nagara-san (Mt. Nagara). It is the 14th temple of 33 Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage.
It is the 25th temple of the 36 Fudoson in Kinki.
It is the 13th temple of 33 Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage.
It is the 12th temple of 33 Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage.
It is said to have been founded by Prince Shotoku.
This temple is related to Eshin Sozu Genshin.
It is a Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings.
Enryaku-ji Temple Sakamoto Honbo Garden
The following ten gardens are designated as National Scenic Beauty.
Shigain monzeki garden
Shikobuchi Daimyojin (Great God) (Setsumatsu sha [smaller shrine managed under the shrine], one of the seven Shikobuchi shrines)
Takebe Taisha Shrine
The main halls of Nishihongu and Higashihongu are National Treasures, and it has fourteen buildings and three objects as the Important Cultural Property.
Hiyoshi Toshogu Shrine
It is one of the Omi Hakkei (Eight Views of Omi).
Its festival is called Otsu-matsuri Festival, which is one of the Big Three Festival of Lake Countries.
It has also the Clock Museum, in connection with the historical event that Emperor Tenchi installed a water clock (rokoku) for the first time in Japan.
This shrine is related to Basho MATSUO.
Its front gate was moved from Zeze-jo Castle, and is the National Important Cultural Property.
Its main hall is the National Important Cultural Property.
It enshrines a deity of music performance and accomplishments. It is famous for Noh song Semimaru.
Kanda-jinja Shrine (in Mano, Otsu City)
Ono-jinja Shrine, ONO no Takamura-jinja, ONO no Tofu-jinja Shrine
Hassho-jinja Shrine (in Ikadachi, Otsu City)
Hassho-jinja Shrine (in Hachiyado, Otsu City)
Juge-jinja Shrine (in Kido, Otsu City)
Juge-jinja Shrine (in Kitakomatsu, Otsu City)
It is supposed to be the grave of ONO no Imoko, and it has ONO no Imoko Park.
Sakamoto-jo Castle Ruins
This castle was built by Mitsuhide AKECHI.
Otsu-jo Castle Ruins
Zeze-jo Castle Ruins
The Honda clan of the Zeze Domain lived in this castle.
Site of Osaka no Seki (The Gate of Meeting Hill)
Lake Biwa cruise
Ogoto Hot Springs
Biwako Hot Spring
Otsu Biwako Keirin Velodrome
Biwako Kyotei Boat Race
Sanno-sai Festival (main festival: April 12 to 14 every year)
Biwako Otsu Summer Festival
Biwako Fireworks Festival (August 8 every year)
Senko-sai Festival (boat parade: August 17 every year)
Otsu-matsuri Festival (main festival: the day before the Health Sports Day every October)
Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon
Kansai Interscholastic Ekiden relay race
Prince Takamatsu Memorial Cup bicycle race
The scene of sound in Japan Best 100: Mii no bansho (the evening bell at Mii)