Chikubushima Island 竹生島

Hey what’s up peeps! It’s been forever since we’ve updated this blog! Today I want to introduce Chikubushima Island, the first in a new video/blog series about various tourism spots in Shiga Prefecture.

久しぶりの投稿です! 今回は、滋賀県の様々な観光地についての新しいシリーズで、竹生島を紹介したいと思います!

Shiga Prefecture is unfortunately often skipped over or ignored by tourists, both from abroad and Japan alike. So, fellow CIR Émilie and I have started a new project to promote various areas of Shiga, especially if they are not as well-known.

DCIM101MEDIADJI_0316.JPGShiga Prefecture is of course most well-known for Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake, but what is not as well-known is that Lake Biwa actually has three islands in it: Okishima, Chikubushima, and Takeshima. Émilie and I are planning to visit all three, but our first stop was Chikubushima Island as neither of us had ever been there before.


Chikubushima Island is located in the northwest part of Lake Biwa, so we departed from Imazu Port, the closest port to the island. The boat ride took about 25 minutes, during which we were able to view the beauty that is Lake Biwa as well as the Hira Mountains. Once we arrived, we were immediately able to see parts of Hogonji Temple and Tsukubusuma Shrine on the top of several stone staircases.
竹生島はびわ湖の北西の方にあるので、島と最も近い今津港から出発しました。 クルーズの間、美しいびわ湖と比良山の景色を眺め、約25分で到着しました。船を降りたらすぐ、石の階段の上に宝厳寺と都久夫須麻神社(つくぶすま)が見えました。


The temple and shrine found on this island are among some of the oldest in Japan, with Hogonji Temple dating back to the year 724, and Tsukubusuma Shrine to the year 420. It is also stop No. 30 of 33 on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage.

Hogonji Temple enshrines the goddess Benzaiten (Sarasvati), who is known as the goddess of things that flow, including words, music, eloquence and knowledge.


Something that this island is most well-known for is its daruma (dharma) dolls. It is said that if you make a wish on one of these dolls, that doll will continue to pray for your wish to come true for one full year. Émilie found this intriguing enough to buy one.


As you might have observed in our video, Émilie is also collecting goshuin seals from various temples in Japan. These are bright vermilion stamps unique to each temple that visitors can receive as souvenirs from their visit. In addition, the name of the temple, date of the visit, and name of the main worship object are written in calligraphy on top of the seal. They are written in a special booklet called a goshuin-cho, which is made out of special paper capable of properly absorbing the ink so it does not soak through.


If you’re visiting Shiga and would like to take a lake cruise, buy a daruma doll, or have some stair-climbing fun, the make a stop at Chikubushima!
For more info on Chikubushima Island, please visit:

・JR Omi-Imazu Station (Kosei Line) > 5 min. walk > Imazu Port > approx. 25 min. boat ride to Chikubushima
・JR Nagahama Station (Biwako Line) > 10 min. walk > Nagahama Port > approx. 30 min. boat ride to Chikubushima
・JR近江今津駅(湖西線)> 徒歩5分 > 今津港 > 竹生島まで約 25 分 クルーズ
・JR長浜駅 (琵琶湖線) > 徒歩10分 > 長浜港 > 竹生島まで約 30分クルーズ

Imazu Port > Chikubushima Island (round trip):
Adult= ¥2,640 Student= ¥2,120 Elementary student= ¥1,320
・Nagahama Port > Chikubushima Island (round trip)
Adult= ¥3,130 Student= ¥2,500 Elementary student= ¥1,570
・Imazu Port > Chikubushima Island > Nagahama Port
Adult= ¥2,880 Student= ¥2,300 Elementary student= ¥1,440
・Nagahama Port > Chikubushima Island > Imazu Port
Adult= ¥2,880 Student= ¥2,300 Elementary student= ¥1,440

For cruise time schedules, please visit:

*For those who might find stairs difficult, be aware that the majority of the attractions on this island are located up at least a flight or two of old, slightly steep stone stairs.

Special thanks to Biwako Kisen for the spectacular boat ride! And to the Biwako Visitor’s Bureau for their continued support!




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