Ōmihachiman (近江八幡市) is a city in Shiga prefecture, Japan.

Get in

By train

Ōmihachiman is on the JR Main Line, also called the JR Biwako Line between Kyoto and Maibara, which are the closest Shinkansen stops. JR Ōmihachiman is about 30 min from Kyoto and 20 min from Maibara.

By car

From the Meishin Expressway, Ōmihachiman is about 20 min north of the Ryuo (竜王) Interchange, 20 min west of the Yokaichi (八日市) Interchange, and about 40 min southwest of the Hikone (彦根) Interchange. Parking is available at the Obata-cho Visitor Center: ¥500 for cars and ¥2000 for buses.

Get around

Hachiman Elementary School

Take the north exit from the JR station, where there is a small tourist information office and a city bus terminal. All the major tourist attractions are some distance away in the older part of town near Lake Biwa. The tourist office will provide a guide map (in Japanese) outlining a walking tour of the main sites, each clearly identified on the map by image and number key. Many of the signs by the main attractions are bilingual in Japanese and English. The loop through the old town begins and ends near Hachiman Elementary School in Ikeda-cho, 25 min on foot or 5 min by bus down the main street to and from the station (Ekimae Ōdori, which becomes Obata-chō-dōri 小幡町通り). The basic walking tour covers 6 km and takes 1.5 hours on foot, perhaps 4 hours with stops included. An optional, 5-km detour to the scenic lakeside village on Sainoko ("West Lake" but east of the old town) would add an extra hour.


Ikeda-cho Western-style houses
Obata-cho Visitor Center
Hachiman-bori Canal
Kawara (Tile) Museum

The old part of this city is practically an outdoor architectural museum, designated by the Japanese government as a national preservation district as well as an important cultural landscape. It was an important commercial center from at least the early Edo Period, when prosperous Omi merchants controlled trade across Lake Biwa between the Kinki and Hokuriku regions (and up as far as Matsumae in Hokkaido). From 1905 until 1964, it was the home base of William Merrell Vories, a missionary, educator, entrepreneur, and architect who designed many early Western-style buildings in major Japanese cities. Because Omihachiman was not bombed during World War II, it preserves many fine old merchant houses from the Edo Period as well as many unusual Western-style buildings that Vories designed during the Meiji and Taisho eras.


Akakonnyaku (red konnyaku), a local specialty

Go next

Routes through Omihachiman

Kyoto Otsu  W  E  Hikone Maibara

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