Find Businesses and Services in Otsu, Kansai

Otsu is located on the main island of Honshu, just 10 minutes by train from Kyoto, Japan. It is situated on beautiful Lake Biwa, Japan's largest freshwater lake. Some 1,300 years ago, Otsu was the capital of Japan, prior to the capital moving to Kyoto. Today, it remains the capital of Shiga Prefecture (a Prefecture is like a State in America). Otsu became the center of Japanese Buddhism and is well-known for the Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei. Otsu has four Sister Cities: Lansing, Michigan - 1969, Interlaken, Bern, Switzerland - 1978, Wurzburg, Bayern, Germany - 1979, Mudanjiang, Kumi, Kyongsangbukdo, Korea - 1990 and one Friendship City - Heilongjiang, China - 1974. It enjoys programs which support citizen, student, teacher, police, sports and cultural exchanges. There are three major festivals (matsuri) celebrated in Otsu. The Otsu Festival - October 9-10; Sanno Festival - April 12-15; and Senko Festival - August 16. Although the most popular of times is a pageant of dancing and lights during the Otsu Summer Festival which begins early August with the annual summer fireworks lighting the skies on August 8. Otsu is also proud of its traditional tastes and crafts which range from Otsu-e Pictures (which date back to 1624), Braided Rope for kimono accessories (1602), Freshwater Fish from Lake Biwa (50 varieties), Funazushi (long-keeping food), Zezeyaki Pottery, Karahashi-yaki (named after the famous bridge), to Gampishi Silk Paper (intangible cultural asset).

Other special products and souvenirs include Lake Biwa freshwater pearls, bamboo and shell crafts, silk thread, tea, pickles, sake, miso, soba, rice cakes and senbei crackers. Citizens and visitors can enjoy sipping tea while viewing beautiful gardens; worshiping at temples and shrines; tolling a temple bell; Zen meditation; or relaxing in the hot springs (onsen). Otsu is well known for its beaches and large waterfront. It provides tourist and recreational activities year-round in the mountains and water. You can enjoy various recreational sports such as skiing, skating, camping, swimming, golf and archery; or take scenic drives, ride yachts or motor boats, and take strolls in its numerous parks.

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