Country for PR: Japan
Contributor: Kyodo News JBN
Wednesday, March 31 2021 - 17:00
Shiga Prefecture Publishes Cultural Information Guide "COOL SHIGA"
OTSU, Japan, Mar. 31, 2021 /Kyodo JBN-AsiaNet/ --

-Life and Prayer with Water-

Shiga Prefecture has published cultural information guide "COOL SHIGA" to 
convey the various attractions of Shiga's culture to foreigners visiting this 
western Japan region in the future. It introduces articles that can be viewed 
from the following URL from March 30.


Spiritual "torii" gateway, floating on Lake Biwa, to Shirahige Shrine in 

Shiga Prefecture is located just northeast of Kyoto, at the center of Japan's 
main island. It is home to Japan's largest lake, Biwako (Lake Biwa), and to 
communities of unique culture and traditions that developed over time in 
harmony with nature that sustains local cuisine, industry, and lifestyle. 

Okishima, among the world's rare freshwater islands, still inhabited by a 
community of residents:

Mt. Ibuki in Maibara: Worshipped since long ago as a sacred mountain and home 
of water deities:

A Shinto ritual, Yatsugasaki-shinji, of Hyozu-taisha Shrine in Yasu takes place 
annually in December:

An annual Buddhist ritual, Isaki-no-Saotobi, in Omihachiman is a unique 
ceremony with a history believed to date back nearly 1,000 years:

Sustainable Living Blessed by Pure Water 
This "satoyama" environment of life in harmony with nature offers a tranquil 
atmosphere and scenic views of traditional village life. Clear channels of 
spring water flow through the town in a system designed for sustainable balance 
with the local ecosystem that has lasted for centuries. The waterways also 
connect to each house with a "kabata," or a river-edge basin, for everyday 
household use which is fed by spring water and overflows back into the 
channels. The water keeps a steady year-round temperature of about 13C. 
Residents use kabata for cooking, doing dishes, and cooling farm vegetables. 

Cooling vegetables in a household "kabata" (river-edge basin):

Waterways fed by mountain water, and shared by the community:

People believe the deity of water resides in kabata. So the New Year begins by 
gathering freshwater from the kabata, offering it at their family altar, and 
then making the New Year's "ozoni" dish, a soup with "mochi" rice cake and 
vegetables. The outer portion of kabata connects to the water channels shared 
by all households. So everyone is careful to keep the water clean for each 
other, especially for those who are further downstream. The mutual trust and 
care between residents help to ensure a pure sustainable ecosystem. 

Art Brut, expression driven solely by internal impulse
Essentially meaning "raw art" in French, the term Art Brut is used to describe 
an artform that relies on expression driven solely by internal impulse, without 
regard for expectations or convention. Shiga has continually been at the 
forefront of support for Art Brut artists and activities, with many local works 
being created in places such as social welfare facilities.

Art Brut:


Source: Shiga Prefectural Government