City of Omihachiman, Shiga Prefecture, Japan
Omihachiman is a city located in the Prefecture of Shiga, Japan, founded March 31, 1954. The Hachiman Town existed before and when this village arose “Omi” was added to differentiate it from the other. Omihachiman has been a commercial town since Toyotomi Hidetsugu built a castle in the last part of the 16th century. Therein he gathered many merchants whose residences and the canal used to transport goods are still preserved in the old city area.
Grand Rapids, Michigan is the first sister city of Omihachiman, inaugurated in July of 1986. Each city has assembled and dispatched several delegations to visit and learn about the others’ culture, educational system, lifestyle, and city governance. Leavenworth, Kansas and Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea are also sister cities to Omihachiman.
This Japanese city is located on the shores of Lake Biwa near the center of the Japan Islands. Lake Biwa is the largest fresh water lake in the country. There is a mix of private and public schools and its most important agricultural products are rice and beef. The city’s focus is on preservation of its historical assets through tourism. The manufacture of prayer beads, shoes, and fresh water pearls are also well-known in this region.
Tourists enjoy visiting the ruins of Azuchi Castle, Kawara Museum wherein local folk art created from the debris left behind from earthquakes and typhoons is on display; Chomeiji Temple, Jogonin Temple, and the Oiso Shrine are also fascinating areas to visit. A cable car takes visitors up the side of Mount Hachiman where peaceful surroundings and views of the lake and countryside provide breathtaking views. The food is delightful with little open-air cafes and restaurants overlooking the beautiful terrain and the people extremely friendly and accommodating. A visit to the outskirts of the city near the canal appears to be a different world as the old historic homes are located there.