Itinerary Guide: Spend an Afternoon in One of Japan’s Historic Castle Towns
Feel like you've traveled back in time!
Omi Hachiman, with its rich history and beautiful scenery, is a castle town that prospered through the Omi merchants’ activities.
If you plan on visiting it, you ought to try the Omi Beef, buy the famous lunch box sold at Kusatsu Station, drop by Omi Hachiman, and cruise around the Hachiman Moat on a ship and feel the town’s atmosphere. You can also visit the castle ruins and the famous Japanese confectionery shops around the town.
Check out our one-day itinerary below:
< 11 a.m. > Start the day with a hearty lunch at Nanyoken Kusatsu Concourse Branch.
Nanyoken Kusatsu Concourse Branch
JR Kusatsu Station 2/F, 1-1-16 Shibukawa, Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture
Open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nanyoken Kusatsu Concourse Branch has a history of more than 100 years. Some of the lunch boxes that they serve include the Omi Beef Sukiyaki & Yakiniku Lunch Box (¥1,500), which is popular for having two kinds of Omi Beef, and the Omi Beef Rice, which has a special sauce served with the Omi Beef.
Omi Beef Sukiyaki & Yakiniku Lunch Box
In this lunch box, you can enjoy two flavors of Omi Beef: one with a slightly spicy yakiniku sauce, and the other with a sukiyaki taste. It is served in a heating container with a strap that you can pull to heat your food instantly. However, note that prior reservations must be made for the lunch boxes. Remember to call the shop in advance before you make your purchase.
Omi Beef Rice
The traditional sauce combines perfectly with the Omi Beef’s tallow in the Omi Beef Rice lunch box (¥1,280). It also comes with a mini ubaga mochi (a bite-sized mochi wrapped with strained red bean paste) that you can enjoy as dessert.
Enjoy a spectacular view while eating your lunch at Hachiman Park.
Lunch boxes are also available at ubaga mochi shops.
Ubaga Mochi is a traditional confectionery shop in Shiga.
This shop is located inside the station. You’ll find it right after you exit the gate.
< 12 p.m. > Take the Hachimanyama Ropeway.
Miyauchi Town, Omi Hachiman City, Shiga Prefecture
Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (The last trip going up is at 4:30 p.m.) The ropeway runs every 15 minutes.
A round trip for adults cost ¥880.
The Hachimanyama Ropeway allows you to travel to the Himure Hachiman Shrine, where various castle ruins can be found. You can take a stroll around the castle ruins surrounded by nature then visit the observatory that offers a panoramic view of the whole town.
Take in the fresh, green scenery as the ropeway takes you to the top.
The observatory is 271 meters above ground level, making it the best spot to view the entire town. One other thing to look forward to once you’re there is the clean and crisp air.
The monuments in the west circle ruins are popular among couples.
? 1 p.m. ? Visit the Himure Hachiman Shrine.
Himure Hachiman Shrine
257 Miyauchi Town, Omi Hachiman City, Shiga Prefecture
Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Himure Hachiman Shrine served as the main shrine of the Old Hachiman town during the Heian Era (794-1185). Many Omi merchants visited the shrine and worshipped there. Trees from the ancient times still stand on the site, giving the place a spiritual atmosphere. In addition to this, there are also many important cultural properties found within the area.
The tower gate was rebuilt in 1858 after it had burned down in the same year.
People believe that this shrine brings protection against harm, and good luck in terms of commerce and education.
< 2 p.m. > Enjoy some sweets at Omi Hachiman Himure Village Taneya Himurenoya.
Omi Hachiman Himure Village Taneya Himurenoya
Himureya Village, Miyauchi Town, Omi Hachiman City, Shiga Prefecture
Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Last order is at 5 p.m. for the cafe)
The store has a seating capacity of 90 people. Smoking is not allowed within the premises.
Omi Hachiman Himure Village Taneya Himurenoya is a Japanese confectionery shop that originated from Omi Hachiman. It is located on the street that leads to the Himure Hachiman Shrine. One of the most popular items at the store is their limited edition Tsubura Mochi. It consists of Omi mochi rice wrapped around a small mochi. We highly recommended you to try it with zenzai (stewed red beans with sugar).
Tsubura Zenzai (¥648)
The red beans from Hokkaido are stewed in a relatively short amount of time. This process allows you to enjoy the taste of the beans in a purer state.
You can also visit the tea café next to the shop, which has a Japanese-style fireplace and an aesthetic charm to it.
The smell of the mochi being baked fills the shop. You can observe how the mochi is baked through a glass.
Spend a relaxing and slow afternoon outside the shop.
< 3 p.m. > Ride a boat through the Hachiman Moat.
743 Taga Town, Omi Hachiman City, Hyogo Prefecture
Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (depending on the season)
A boat ride for adults costs ¥1,000. See to it that you make reservations a week ahead before you come to the site.
At the Hachiman Moat, you can travel around and sightsee while riding a Yakata ship. Going through the moat, surrounded by white-wall storehouses and old houses, will feel as if you’ve traveled back to the Edo Period.
The ship will travel through the Hachiman Moat for 35 minutes. You can get on either of the ships located beside the Kawara Museum.
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Kansai Walker™ (6 June 2018)