Chikubushima Island

OVERVIEW

A Spiritual Island on Lake Biwa

Nestled as a prime example of the harmonious blend between Shinto and Buddhist customs in Japanese heritage, Chikubushima Island holds deep cultural and spiritual importance. Enveloped in a tapestry of historical narratives and folklore, this serene island, spanning just 2 km in circumference, hosts one Buddhist temple and one Shinto shrine, tracing its roots back over 1300 years. Upon ascending the 165 stone steps, visitors encounter the esteemed Hogon-ji Temple, venerating Benzaiten as one of the revered “Three Benzaiten” sites, alongside Enoshima and Miyajima. The temple gate, a designated national treasure known as Karamon, showcases remnants from Osaka Castle, offering a glimpse into the artistry of the Momoyama era. Originally part of Osaka Castle, the gate was relocated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s son after Hideyoshi’s passing, preserving this cherished relic and symbolizing the island’s deep ties to Hideyoshi’s wife, who hailed from this region.

Further along, the Tsukubusuma Shrine, accessed via a corridor crafted from boat wood belonging to the Toyotomi Clan, pays homage to Benzaiten as a revered water deity. The island’s lore intertwines with the legend of Princess Asaihime, revered as the guardian ensuring safe passage for boats in the area. Today, Chikubushima remains a revered spiritual haven within Lake Biwa, drawing pilgrims and visitors seeking blessings. Additionally, the shrine hosts the “Kawarake-Nage” ritual, inviting anyone to cast clay dishes toward a torii gate on the rocky shore, aspiring to fulfill their wishes. Access to the island is facilitated by ferries departing from Nagahama Port or Hikone Port, with a journey time of approximately 30 minutes.

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OPEN HOURS

9:00am – 5:00pm

CLOSINGS

9:00am – 5:00pm

Open hours

9:00am – 5:00pm

Closings

Closed Tuesdays

6-50 Sanwachō, Nagahama, Shiga 526-0055, Japan