Taking Root

taking Root Yasu Division

Yasu City, Shiga Pref., and Mt. Omi Fuji

Abundant nature blesses Yasu City. Nicknamed “Omi Fuji” (“Omi” is the ancient name of the area) after Japan's highest summit, solid Mt. Mikami is a beloved feature of the city's landscape. Its constant presence provides the people of Yasu with a feeling of security throughout the year. Extending to the west of the city is Lake Biwa, the main water supply for 14 million people.

Omi Fuji, a Shiga Prefecture landmark

Despite standing only 432 meters high, Mt. Mikami is known as Omi Fuji because its beautiful appearance recalls Mt. Fuji. This popular landmark is visible from a large part of Shiga Pref. and is believed to be home to the spirit of the deity worshipped at Mikami Shrine, a shrine which boasts a 1,300-year history. At the foot of the mountain are public facilities featuring rich nature, such as Omi-Fuji Botanical Park and Kibogaoka Cultural Park.

Town of dotaku with a 2,000-year history

Historians believe that bronze ware technology and rice cultivation serve as symbols of ancient Japanese communities between the 3rd century B.C. and the 2nd century A.D. Many dotaku or bell-shaped bronze objects have been unearthed from the slope that extends down to the northern foot of the mountain. A total of 24 dotaku bells have been found to date (14 in 1881 and 10 in 1962). Of these, the largest dotaku that has been is found in Japan is 134.7 cm high and weighs 45.47 kg. Situated near the excavation site, the Dotaku Museum shows visitors the casting method and historical changes in size and design.

Yasu Culture: Nurtured by highways, rivers,
and Lake Biwa

Left: Ferry on the Yasu River Source: Picture Book of Great Sights on the Kiso Highway (1804)
Right: Milestone where the Chosenjinkaido Highway branches off from Nakasendo

The city is where the Chosenjinkaido Highway branches off from Nakasendo, a key highway from the ancient times. Nakasendo is one of the five main roads built or improved by the Tokugawa Shogunate in the 17th century. Chosenjinkaido is considered to have been used by the Joseon (Korea) missions to Japan. A ferry carried passengers across the River Yasu, one of the most difficult rivers to cross on the Nakasendo Highway. The river's abundant subsoil flow was a key ingredient in the development of a unique hemp cloth bleaching industry. Local tradesmen known as omi shonin delivered the hemp cloth bleached in the River Yasu all over Japan. Lake Biwa is another water resource that blesses the region.