Visiting the Land of Omi-merchants Part 2: Hino

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After spending a day or two in Omi-Hachiman, you can come to Hino town, the birthplace of Omi-Hino-merchants and the town I live in.

 

Hino is the place I really recommend that you come because it has both traditional culture and the countryside. It has the traditional townscape including Omi-merchants’ houses; and Satoyama, rice fields, mountains, rivers; and people who lead sustainable ways of living.

 

Hino is about 50 minutes from Omi-Hachiman by bus, so it is in a convenient location to get to coming from Kyoto and Omi-Hachiman. You spend a day seeing the historical city of Kyoto, then spend another day or two exploring Japanese culture in a more relaxed manner with fewer tourists, and finally go to the real countryside.

 

A great thing about Hino is that it isn’t touristic at all. You probably won’t see any other tourists. Only people you see are locals, and therefore you get to see how Japanese people live rather than visiting sightseeing spots.

 

You can catch a bus from the south exit of Omi-Hachiman station. You want to get on a bus going to Kitabataguchi.

越川町

You first want to get off at Echigawa-cho, which is in the middle of the Omi-Hino-Merchant-Street. You can walk south, and soon you’ll see a café called Rakkoya at the corner of the next street.

らっこやと自転車

It is a renovated Kominka, and you can feel the atmosphere of a tatami room there.

らっこや中

らっこやコーヒー

They serve organic coffee there.

らっこや店

After having tea there, you can walk back to the Omi-Hino-Merchant-Street and turn right and walk for a few minutes. You’ll see a big Kominka on your left. That is Hino Tourism Association.

三方よし

You can get a map and more information about where to go. You can also rent a bicycle there.

 

You can continue walking on the Omi-Hino-Merchant-Street and enjoy the traditional streetscape.

町並み1

町並み2

You will soon come to Murai Honmachi bus stop. Just before the bus stop, you turn right, and you will see a temple at the end of the road. That is Shingyoin Temple.

shingyoin

It has a beautiful Japanese garden, and the ceiling in the main temple features an ornate painting of a flying dragon. It is a magnificent drawing and Shingyoin is famous for it.

shingyoin2

shingyoin3

After visiting Shingyoin, you can go back to the Omi-Hino-Merchant-Street. You turn right, and keep walking until you come to Mukaimachi. Just before Mukaimachi bus stop, you want to turn left to walk toward Watamuki Shrine. On the way to the shrine, you will see a mansion.

ふるさと館

That is Omi-Hino Shonin Furusato Museum. It used to be a house of an Omi-Hino-merchant.

furusatokan1

It has marvelous Zashiki rooms and splendid Japanese garden. You can feel how wealthy Omi-merchants were.

furusatokan2

furusatokan3

furusatokan4

From Omi-Hino Shonin Furusato Museum, it is only a minute walk to Watamuki Shrine.

watamuki

Watamuki Shrine is the biggest shrine in Hino, and it is the place of worship for Omi-Hino-merchants.

watamuki2

watamuki3

It has tall cedar trees and a massive garden. It is one of the few shrines with this size to be so quiet I have visited, and therefore worth visiting if you want to feel the sacred atmosphere of a Shinto shrine. You can’t feel it at a famous shrine since it is always crowded or at a smaller local shrine.

watamuki4

Well, enough of sightseeing, now let me move onto a Satoyama holiday which is the main attraction of Hino. I’ll see you tomorrow.

 

 

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