Shizugatake Mountain, the height of which is 421 m, and is a fine spot just between Lake Biwa and Lake Yogo. The name is renowned for one of the important battles in Japanese history, together with the Seven heroes of Hideyoshi’s side, which is often called “The Seven Spears” (七本槍). In Apr., 1583 AD, Hideyoshi and Katsuie fought at around the mountain and the lakeside of Yogo, for the next heir after Nobunaga. They say that Hideyoshi’s side had 60,000 military forces and Katsuie had 40,000. Though Katsuie’s side had the upper hand at first, but soon Hideyoshi upturned the military situation. The fierce battle was clearly settled within one day, making the small lake crimson red with the soldiers’ blood.
The local people here have a custom to climb up to the top of the mountain in early Apr., in order to comfort the braves of the both sides who fought at the hazard of their lives.
Guests can use a lift service from the base to the summit of the mountain from Apr. to the end of Nov.
Lift Service to the Summit of the Mountain
Kinomoto Town along Old Hokkoku Street
Kinomoto town has been prospered as a post station town from olden days, since the town located at the intersection on Hokkoku street to Kyo and Hokkoku wakiokan, a short but an important bypass to Edo via Ogaki in an adjacent domain. Old people here used to say that it took almost one day from Imajyo in Echizen to Kinomoto, crossing over Tochinoki mountain path in the northernmost KOHOKU. There used to be many inns for tourists and “Honjin” accommodation facility for higher class samurais and court nobles. There are other historic heritages such as the site where more than several hundreds cows and horses were dealt since Muromachi period (more than 550 years ago.)
And Kinomoto is also known as a temple town of the Biggest Jizo statue in Japan (6 m tall.), which has been believed as the Buddha for eyes. That’s why there is a place for thanking for our old glasses, and the spot you can experience the perfect darkness under the floor of the temple. You must appreciate your eyes’ power once you crawl in the darkest world.
The origin of winking frogs is that these cute living creatures are sacrificing themselves for those who suffer from some diseases of eyes, too.
When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for the days of the temple’s sacred festival in late of our summer holidays. It is of course not to pray in front of the Buddha, but to buy toys at the street stall along the approach, the cheap toys were easily broken within a day, though. Good old memories.
Kinomoto is also renowned for good Japanese Sake and Soy Sauce, which is made from fermented soy beans. There are 2 famous Sake breweries, both of which has more than 480 years history. As for Soy Sause, there are 3 breweries along the street, all of which has more than 150 years history. The reasons why Kinomoto is called as “The town of Brewage” are mainly
1) The best qualified water sprung from the Ibuki mountains
2) Its climatic conditions.
Local Guardian Deity for the Folks at Jyoshin-ji Temple (Jizo Buddha)
Old Hokkoku Street
Old Japanese Sake Breweries
Old Soy Sauce Breweries
Retro-cool Restaurants and Shops
- 18000 JPY
- 1 ~ 5people
Meeting PointJR Kinomoto Station
- Kinomoto Guardian Deity for the Folks (Big Jizo Buddha)
- Remains of "Honjin" Accommodation Facility along Hokkoku Street
- Old Japanese Sake Breweries
- Old Soy Sauce Breweries
- Remain of the Marketplace where Cows and Horses were Dealt
- Old Tradesmen's Houses (MACHIYA) along Hokkoku Street
- Lunch at a Local Food Restaurant
- Shizugatake Mountain
- Stroll around OTO Hamlet, at the Base of Shizugatake
Ending PointJR Kinomoto Station
What to Expect
1. To taste retrospective street scenery and “Unobtrusive but Elegant” culture of the old post station and temple town
2. To recall the military deployment and the strategy of the both sides at the fierce battle in the Provincial War Era
3. To enjoy viewing a part of Northernmost Lake Biwa and the small but mysterious Mirror Lake of Yogo from the summit of Shizugatake Mountain
Inclusions & Exclusions
1) Transportation & Lift service (For Tourists): Less than 1,500 (One Thousand and Five Hundred) JPY Each at a Maximum for One Day.
2) Lunch and/or Dinner (For Tourists): Less than 1,500 (One Thousand and Five Hundred) JPY Each at a Maximum.
3) Any Unexpected Cost (For Tourists): Less than 500 (Five Hundred) JPY Each at a Maximum.
1) The tour consists of one day excursion, starting 10:00 AM to 17:00 (5:00 PM).
2) Meeting Schedule: At JR Kinomoto Station
10:00 AM at JR Kinomoto station (Start)
17:00 PM at JR Kinomoto station: Arrive (Tour end)
3) The tour is a bit flexible, depending upon the guest’s interest, since it is an excursion-style, taking advantage of walking and public transportations such as a city bus and / or a taxi.
4) Lift service for the summit of Mt. Shizugatake is available as follows;
From 23, Apr., to 30, Nov. (Round-trip: 900 JPY)
(Others: Out of service)
5) Guests can enjoy local cuisines at a reasonable price at the downtown.
6) Peak Season: The destination spots may slightly change due to a seasonal situation, after getting an approval from the guests.
1) Free cancellation – 10 days prior to meeting time
2) 50% Refund – 9 to 3 days prior to meeting time
3) No Refund – Within 2 day(s) prior to meeting time
Yoshi was very informative, knowledgeable, time conscious, kind, humble, and considerate. We asked a lot of questions because we truly wanted to understand the Japanese culture, and he -answered them with honesty. We are 69 years old and he often asked us: can you walk 15 minutes to a certain location or can you walk up the stairs? He seemed to be very sensitive about our health mobility. Although he is about our age, he has great wisdom and much more energy than we did. We would highly recommend him.
Dear Linda san, and Mike san I was so happy to be able to share the time with you on the 18th. Thank you for your lavish words to this amateurish tour guide. I was glad to know that both of you were listening in earnest, when I explained about the histories and the related episodes, with what little knowledge I have. I already sent my "Homeworks" to your e-mail address, and will send all the photos in a week, as I promised. Again, I was really lucky to get acquainted with the nice couple from Louisiana. From Yoshi
Hello, Yoshi. Reached home safely.
Thank you for the lovely photographs. I was able to download them. You may want to use some of the photographs, if you wish to. Thanks again for your help. Subramanium
Re: Tour Guide around Kyoto and Nara for the 5 Wonderful Families from US - KOHOKU Tour
"Massively Wonderful Research Tour around KOHOKU" with Yoshi, a Licensed Tour Guide
The "research tour" conducted by your guide was perfectly fruitful.
Since I have had an interest in Lake Yogo and its surrounding hamlets, I've been eager to make the on-the-spot research there. That's why I asked your help, since you were born and grown at a small village of Kawanami (the north-west of Lake Yogo) and have abundant knowledge about KOHOKU.
My "research tour" was 2days. On the 1st day, you kindly showed me every spot in your home-village of Kawanami and around the Lake, spending no less than 5 hours. I thought afresh Kawanami was wonderful, walking round the fantastic hamlet and seeing its beautiful landscape. And I felt happy enough to be able to have a good chance to exchange greetings with many village people there. And I was lucky to hear very interesting stories as well about their lives and scenes of olden days from a nice old man who has lived there all his life. On the 2nd day, you guided me around the nearby town of Kinomoto, which used to be a post-station town with a long history, didn't you? You brought me to that historically famous old battlefield, Shizugatake, the amazing view from which I'll never forget. And when we walked around the area along the Niu river, I was impressed a lot, imagining about the days of old hamlets that have already disappeared from a map, due to a dam construction schedule. All the spots that you guided were so colorful and informative. Thank you, Yoshi.
And you've been very kind to take actively a proper care of incorporating additional spots that I wanted to visit, even after the initial itinerary. If I had no help of your guide and did it myself, I definitely couldn't visit such wonderful places. I was fully satisfied with your nice guiding around KOHOKU. Thank you, again, Yoshi!
Haruka san, the "Research Tour" with you around KOHOKU was so pleasant and a good lesson for me, too. I was honored to be with a hard-working student like you. Thank you, From YoshiOct., 28 (Fri.), 2022
Yoshi is an excellent guide! He is a hard-working and wonderful ambassador for his country. Yoshi takes his work seriously and is scrupulously prepared. His care for his clients really shows. He went above and beyond for us. Yoshi is very well-informed about so much, including Japanese history, current Japanese affairs, and the flowers and trees of Japan. He is interesting, energetic, kind, and hospitable. Our only wish was that we had more time with Yoshi! We are grateful we met him.
Dear Julie san and Ron san. Thank you very much for your nice feedback. As our mission as a tour guide is, of course, to insure our customers' satisfaction, I've believed (as a former Quality Engineer) that we have to do our maximum effort, sacrificing our short lunch and rest time. I'm so glad to know that you kindly felt a touch of it. Again, I was extremely happy to be able to have an opportunity to go around the best spots with you and Ron san yesterday. Thank you, PS: I will try not to be a "Crybaby" any more. From Yoshi Apr., 19 (Fri.), 2019; 22:23
Yoshi was very knowledgeable on all the places he took us for the two days we were in Osaka. He picked us up at our hotel. Planned the day according to what we wanted to see and the activities we were interested in. I have a bad knee and stairs were a problem, he made a lot of effort to accommodate this. For this I am very impressed. He definitely went over and beyond. Our family had a great time and will be beyond. Thank you Yoshi San! -- Sheila Cemer Houston Texas
Sheila san and your handsome family members: Thank you very much for your lavish word to this amateurish tour guide. I have to appreciate you, giving me the opportunity to go around here and there in the merchants' city under brisk winter sky. I'll never forget the fantastic memory with you and your family. PS: Have you successfully been able to open all the pictures that I took for your family?