Lakeshore Village of Sugaura



”Hidden Village” – a Trip to Medieval Japan

This area is a residential community. Please be considerate by keeping voices down, staying off private property, and not littering. If you’re interested in exploring, consider joining a guided tour.

The northern edge of Lake Biwa, often referred to as okubiwako, or “Deep Lake Biwa,” showcases a landscape resembling the beauty of Scandinavian fjords. With mountains stretching to the lakeshore, a charming hamlet called Sugaura emerges from nature to occupy this scenic space. Along the picturesque cherry blossom lined street lies a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Passing through a thatched-roof gate, which once served as a surveillance checkpoint during medieval Japan, reveals a nostalgic scene of a fishing village. Sugaura earned its moniker as a “hidden village” due to its isolation from surrounding communities until just a century ago, when boat travel was the sole means of access. This isolation contributed significantly to Sugaura’s preservation of traditional culture and architecture.

The village’s unique history traces back to the legend of Emperor Junnin, who sought refuge here during the mid-7th century, and was believed to have been buried here in a tomb within the village. Moreover, Sugaura boasts a collection of invaluable ancient documents known as the Sugaura Documents, recognized as a National Treasure. These documents offer a rare glimpse into the lives of ordinary people from ancient times. Recognizing its cultural significance, Sugaura was designated a National Important Cultural Landscape in 2014. The village takes pride in its well-preserved traditional architecture, including thatched-roof gatehouses and wooden houses, showcasing the rich heritage of this serene locale.


To request a guided tour, please use the contact form on this website.

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