The majestic red torii gate of Shirahige Shrine floating in Lake Biwa.
Shirahige Shrine, 「白髭神社」is located on the western side of Lake Biwa in Shiga. The shrine is famous for its torii gate standing in the lake, which looks similar to the large red torii gate standing in the sea on Miyajima in Hiroshima. However it’s much smaller, Shirahige Shrine stands out of many other Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples around Lake Biwa by its magnificent view of the torii gate.
This shrine is over 1,900 years old, the oldest shrine in Shiga. It has been considered as the divine favour for longevity, matchmaking, better luck and prosperous business.
Shirahige means white beard in Japanese, which is reference to longevity, so people believe that the shrine blesses visitors with a long life.
The shrine’s main hall is designated as a national important cultural property, located inland opposite the floating torii gate, so be sure to visit both.
This magnificent view of the floating torii gate has been a popular as a power spot among local people. The contrast of the red torii gate and the shining surface of the lake and the sun setting behind the torii gate is just breathtaking scenery for visitors.
Shirahige Shrine is not easy to access with public transport, but it’s totally worth to visit. It’s a 30-minute walk from JR Omi-Takashima station on the Kosei line. The best time to visit is definitely sunset time. The sunset, the lake and the majestic torii gate create the dreamlike scenery.