Otsu Hyaku-cho, Machiya houses

The city of Otsu’s name means “large port,” and the port here played an important role in relaying goods to the capital in Kyoto even during the Heian Period (794-1185). Otsu Castle was built under the administration of warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but after it fulfilled its purpose in the Battle of Sekigahara, the castle was moved to Zeze. Otsu was then transformed from a castle town into a commercial center. A prefectural governor was assigned to Otsu, as the city was designated imperial lands under the direct control of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The city was given the name Otsu Hyaku-cho under this period of prosperity.
Today, the existence of around 1,600 traditional machiya houses has been confirmed in Otsu, and new uses for them are currently being explored.
In the downtown area by Otsu Station, the streets Hama-doori, Nakacho-doori, Kyocho-doori, and Hyakuishicho-doori extend to the north and south along Lake Biwa. Nakacho-doori also features a shopping arcade. The city was a bustling center in ages past, but recently plans to reinvigorate the city have generated new efforts throughout the region.

Access ■By train
5 min walk from JR Otsu Station
■By car
5 min from Meishin Otsu Interchange