Oct 2023 03
Lakeside village of Sugaura

Lakeside village of Sugaura | Beyond Lake Biwa. A mysterious hidden village protected by a lake and mountains, with a precious life.

菅浦の湖岸集落 | 奥琵琶湖のその先。湖と山に守られ、尊い営みを紡ぐ神秘の隠れ里。

Oku-Biwa Lake is the northernmost part of Lake Biwa. Tsuzuraozaki stands out in a beautiful landscape with mountains jutting out to the lakeshore. The village of “Sugaura” exists on a small piece of flat land located in an inlet on the west bank.


Walk along the tree-lined street where the trees are reflected in the lake. Once you pass through the thatched four-legged gate, which was once a guard gate, you will be greeted by the scenery of a fishing village that evokes some nostalgia.


Isolated from the surrounding area by rugged terrain, Sugaura retains a well-preserved village landscape nurtured by lakes and mountains, and the tradition of the medieval form of self-government, known as "sou," has been passed down to this day. That's what it means. About 60 houses are gathered together in a place that resembles a gap between the mountains and Lake Biwa.


Legend has it that in the Nara period, Emperor Junnin, who was dethroned after losing to Dokyo and Retired Emperor Koken in the Emi Oshikatsu Rebellion, lived in Sugaura. Emperor Junnin is said to have died of anger in a place of confinement, and a mound known as the Emperor Junnin's mausoleum still remains on the mountain behind Suga Shrine.


It prospered as a base for boat transportation on Lake Biwa, and its isolated environment fostered a unique culture.The lakeside village of Sugaura was selected as a nationally important cultural landscape, and was designated as a Japan Heritage site, “Lake Biwa and its waterside scenery - Prayers and lifestyles.” It is part of the “Water Heritage”.

琵琶湖の舟運の拠点として繁栄し、周囲から隔絶した環境だったため独自の文化が育まれ、菅浦の湖岸集落として国の重要文化的景観に選定、日本遺産「琵琶湖とその水辺景観 – 祈りと暮らしの水遺産」の構成資産になっている。

In the past, the only way to get to other areas was to cross mountains or cross Lake Biwa by boat, so it was called a “solitary island on land,” and Masako Shirasu, a writer who loved Omi, described it as a “hidden village.”


With no modern buildings in sight, you will feel as if you have wandered into a distant, ancient era, or even the nostalgic Showa era. I felt like I had touched something precious, and I took a deep breath of the clear lake breeze.


about this venue

Lakeside village of Sugaura

Location: Sugaura Village, Nishiazai-cho, Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture

所在地:滋賀県長浜市西浅井町菅浦 菅浦集落