Best Things to Do in Otsu#3

“Try the Best of Otsu!”


Best Things to Do in Otsu #3

Explore famous shops near the Old Tokaido Road.

Search for the essence of long-ago Otsu lodging that lingers in the neighborhood.

The Old Tokaido Road, known as Kyomachi Street, is about a 5-minute walk from the North Exit of JR Otsu Station.

The area once held the post station at the 53rd checkpoint of the Tokaido Road. It was the most flourishing post station town on the road as well as the one closest to the final point of Kyoto. While increasingly being  modernized, it retains reverberations of the past.
Newly opened, modern shops and venerable stores from the Edo Period are concentrated in a walkable area.
Here you can experience new and old culture, taking in the latest trends while touching the past through visits to stores of interest.

You’ll find warm greetings as if a regular customer even at shops you visit for the first time, and feel the spirit of post station town hospitality that has long welcomed travelers.
Architecture of high historical value remains, including Otsu town homes influenced by Kyoto town homes, and modern Vories architecture.

1 Jinbo Pearls

This shop sells lovely and elegant jewelry made with the individually colored and formed pearls of Lake Biwa. Wanting to proudly communicate Otsu-made art throughout the country, jewelry designer and third-generation proprietor Tomoko Sugiyama decided to open the shop along the Old Tokaido Road, which is a cultural center throughout Japan’s history.

2 Fujiya Takumi

This sweetshop is in a neighborhood that was called Tamaya-Cho in the days when it flourished through the production of cannonballs. Founded in 1661 and now run by the 13th generation of the family, the shop offers the famous sweet Otsuerakugan, which was popular in Edo as a souvenir of feudal lord travels. Each of its nine pictures carries a meaning of good matchmaking and long life.

3 The Otsu-e Painting Shop

Otsu-e refers to folk paintings that told unique stories, using designs fused with the Edo culture of the times. The art form was popular as souvenirs of post stations or as talismans for travel. Here you will find works by successive heads of the family, and paintings created individually by the current fifth generation head can be purchased. Post cards, tenugui cloths, and other sundries are also for sale.

4 Shopping Street HOTEL KOO Otsuhyaku-Cho

Seven hotel buildings, renovated from town homes over 100 years old, blend in with the street in this shopping street that runs along the Old Tokaido Road. The central front-desk building is staffed by a concierge, who tells guests about surrounding gourmet offerings, shopping, famous spots, and how to enjoy the neighborhood.

5 Nakagawa Seiseido Tea Store Main Store

Otsu has a deep history with tea. Tea leaves were placed inside Shigaraki ware pots to be carried to Edo in the Edo Period (1603-1867) and were exported to America in the Meiji Period (1868-1912) . At this shop founded in 1858, you’ll find types of tea that Saicho brought back from Tang Dynasty China, tea with connection to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Asamiya tea from Shiga, and many other types of tea leaves.

The area around the Old Tokaido Road is also dotted with shops that have continued since the Edo Period. The old tools and other goods displayed inside are worth a look.


■ 1) Jinbo Pearls
Address 1F 4-28 Chuo 3 Cho-me, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture 520-0043
Parking 2 cars
Business Hours 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Closed on Tuesdays
■ 2) Fujiya Takumi
Address 3 Cho-me 12-28, Chu-ou, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, 520-0043
Business Hours 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Closed on Sundays, Irregular national holidays
■ 3) The Otsu-e Painting Shop
Address 3-38 Miidera-cho, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
Parking 1 car
Business Hours 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closed on First and Third Sundays
■ 4) Shopping Street HOTEL KOO Otsuhyaku-Cho
Address 2-6 1 Cho-me, Chuo, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
Closed Irregular
Price ¥9,900/person (1 room for 2 persons; tax not included; service fees included)
■ 5) Nakagawa Seisei-do Tea
Address 1-35 Chuo 3-Chome, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
Business Hours 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Closed on Sundays, National Holidays, Irregular Saturday holidays