1. Day Trip to Miho Museum, Lake Biwa,Waterbird Shrine
After gathering at the designated meeting point Osaka/Kyoto in the morning, our journey to explore Shiga begins. Our first stop takes us to the Miho Museum, a remarkable creation by the renowned architect Mr. I.M. Pei, inspired by the "Tale of the Peach Blossom Spring." Situated far from the urban hustle and bustle, what sets it apart is that 80% of the building is nestled in the deep mountains. In the summer, the lush forest surrounds it, and the winding mountain roads offer a breathtaking journey. In the winter, when the mountains are covered in snow, the museum gracefully closes its doors. Its collection includes artworks from ancient civilizations like Japan, China, South Asia, Central Asia, Western Asia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Visiting the Miho Museum feels like embarking on a journey of discovering a hidden paradise, with scenic surprises at every turn. In the afternoon, we visit the Kyu-Chikurin-in, a serene place that was once a hermitage for a high-ranking monk. Highly recommended by Japanese photographers, it shares the same architectural layout as the Rurikoin, allowing you to capture identical mirror-like reflections. The moss-covered garden offers a constantly changing and breathtaking landscape throughout the seasons, making it a designated national scenic garden. Our next destination is Lake Biwa, where we explore the Shirahige Shrine and its iconic torii gate standing peacefully in the water. Lake Biwa, often referred to as the "Lake of Life," is considered a symbol of Japan, much like Mount Fuji. It's Japan's largest lake and a designated national park. The Shirahige Shrine, built approximately 1,900 years ago, is one of the oldest shrines in Omi and a crucial element of Japan's heritage story. The scenery is enchanting, with the distant Chikubu Island forming a captivating backdrop, fishing boats gliding between the torii gates, and the ever-changing beauty of the lake. The waterborne torii gate of the Shirahige Shrine stands serenely in Lake Biwa, adapting to the changing times and displaying different views: morning to night, clear skies, wind and weather variations, and the rotation of the stars. It has become a favorite subject for countless photography enthusiasts. At around 4:00 PM, we conclude our delightful day of exploration and begin our journey back.