Shirahige Shrine

One of the must-sees for sightseeing in Japan is the Shinto shrine. Shinto, which is unique to Japan in the world, has a profound effect on the lives and customs of the Japanese people. In our Takashima town, you can visit Shirahige Shrine, one of the oldest shrines in Japan, which was built 2000 years ago.

Shirahige Shrine is located at the southern end of the town, and is exactly the gateway to Takashima. This place is very narrow between the lake and mountain, and from ancient times, travelers must pass through in front of this shrine. Therefore, it has been the front gate of our town for a long time, especially for those coming from Kyoto.

This shrine is located along Lake Biwa, but you can't see it while you are on the train, because the train is just passing through the tunnel. So, please come to Takashima to see it. The nearest station is Omi-Takashima Station. The admission fee for Shirahige Shrine is free, and anyone can visit it without reservation.

The shrine is dedicated to God Sarutahiko, one of mythical characters in Japanese mythology. A legend says that he loved fishing and went to the lake one day. He had been absorbed in for a long time, forgetting time passing. He finally realized that he had become old, having a long white beard. That’s why this shrine is named “Shirahige”, literally “white beard”. He is known as longevity god.

The legend also says this god served as guide when the Sun-Goddess’s grandson alighted on the earth. For that reason, he is considered as giving divine blessing for people facing a crossroads in life like marriage, childbirth and voyage. He observes people not to stray from the right path or not to act against moral principles.

Please note that when you go to Shirahige Shrine, the road between the shrine and the torii (the gate of the shrine) is very busy, so please do not cross it. The torii gate on the lake is so beautiful that we can understand the desire to take pictures without obstacles, but some people had an accident by crossing the road.

To get a closer look at the torii, sign up for our guided tour. You can approach from the lake with a small cruiser, or you can go by SUP: Stand Up Paddleboat. Both require reservations, so please contact Biwako Takashima Tourism Association or sign up for our tour.

SUP tours (Biwako Takashima Tourism Association website)