Daytrip to Shiga: Hira Mountains and Lake Biwa West Shore

Greetings from Kyoto

I was up in Shiga Prefecture today, which is ‘just over the mountain’ from Kyoto. Shiga is home the Japan biggest lake: Lake Biwa. Lake Biwa is so large that it can be seen from space with the naked eye. The capital of Shiga, Otsu City was once the capital of all Japan – before Kyoto even. But Otsu didn’t stay capital for long. I have often thought that combining the history and culture of Kyoto with the natural beauty of Lake Biwa, you would have a place truly fit for a king!

I was visiting an associate about a project at his studio on the West side of the lake, the area called Kosei (湖西). The opposite, East shore, called Koto (湖東) is very developed, but Kosei is not and is still a place that offers glimpses of what this region was like in eras gone by.

When I got off the train at Shiga Station, I snapped this first photo. When I was back at the station, waiting for the train back to Kyoto, I snapped this second photo. The first photo reminded me of a time several years ago when I had a consulting job at a mobile startup company with their offices on the South shore of the big lake. I used to watch these wicked storms blow down out of the Hira Mountains and onto Lake Biwa. They almost always blew down the lake to the South and walloped our building, right on the shore. The building’s windows didn’t quite seal and the wind whistled through the cracks in a way that I found very pleasant. My workmates sometimes thought me a bit odd, gazing out the big windows, enthralled by the wind and rain. There were some amazing storms!

I miss Shiga. Especially Kosei and the Hira Mountains.

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