The city of Nagahama, located in the northeast of Shiga Prefecture, has been a castle town since Toyotomi Hideyoshi began his rule as a feudal lord in the late 16th century. To the west of Nagahama Station there is a famous cherry blossom viewing spot Ho-koen Park, constructed in the ruins of the Nagahama Castle. The castle tower was rebuilt in 1983, and is open to public as Nagahama Castle Historical Museum.
Nagahama Hachiman-gu Shrine, related to Hideyoshi, is the reason for the Nagahama Hikiyama-matsuri Festival, held annually from around 13-16 April. Besides its gorgeous floats, be sure to see a kabuki theater played by boys under the age of 12. They were invited by the former US President Clinton to play at the White House. From 10 January to 10 March, Japan's best 'bonsai' plum exhibition, both in the length of its tradition and size, is held at Keiun-kan, a reception hall constructed in 1887. Plum trees are planted in pots, but some can be almost three meters tall. These bonsai pots are displayed in Japanese-style rooms, filled with Japanese atmosphere, to let you feel the fragrance of spring earlier than the others.
Kurokabe Square is now one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Shiga, where you can find a row of glass galleries and ateliers, as well as restaurants, situated along Kitaguni-kaido Street with its quaint atmosphere. You can see the works of Rene Lalique at the Musee Narita, while Museum of Glass and Kurokabe Museum of Glass Art exhibit outstanding works of other artists.