Eight Views of Ōmi

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The autumn moon at Ishiyama
Hiroshige Full moon over a mountain landscape.jpg
Artist Hiroshige

The Eight Views of Ōmi (in Japanese: 近江八景 or Ōmi Hakkei) are the most scenic views of Ōmi Province, the present-day Shiga Prefecture, Japan. They were inspired by the Eight Views of Xiaoxiang in China. The sights were depicted by Hiroshige in several different series of ukiyo-e pictures, as well as other artists.[1][2]

They are sometimes erroneously called "Eight Views of Lake Biwa", but the latter were defined to include different locations in 1949 by the government of Shiga Prefecture.[1]

The Eight Views[edit]

All views are situated at the southern end of the lake. There is no fixed order. The following list circles the lake, beginning on the east side.

  • The returning sailing ship at Yabase (矢橋の帰帆) - Yabase. Yabase is an old harbour at the eastside of the lake. Near the Tokaido, it was used for a shortcut to Otsu by boat. In early Meiji even steamer appeared, until the railway began its service.
  • The evening glow at Seta (勢多(瀬田)の夕照) - The Chinese Bridge at Seta. The long bridge across the Seta was used by the Tokaido. Nowerdays is there a bridge in the old Chinese style, a concrete construction, but nice to walk over. (Today's traffic uses bridges northerly. In the background the "Fuji of Omi", the Mikamiyama. It is just above 400 m, but indeed well visible.
  • The autumn moon at Ishiyama (石山の秋月) - Ishiyama Temple. The Ishiyamadera found its place on a hillside next to the Seta-river. It got his name form the strange rocks, an which it is build, partly on supporting beams. A hut at the upper end of the place allows a view on the lake - and the moon.
  • The clear breeze at Awazu (粟津の晴嵐) - Awazuhara. Awazu is well known for its pine wood, Awazu-ga-hara. On old pictures a castle can be seen, the castle of Zeze. It was given up in Meiji and was dismantled.
  • The evening bell at Mii (三井晩鐘) - Mii-dera. The Miidera was built in the 8th century. Its famous bell is one of the "Three bells of Japan", one of the other two at the Byoodo-in at Uji, the third at the Jingoji in Kyoto.
  • The evening rain at Karasaki (唐崎の夜雨) - Karasaki Shrine. Karasaki is a small cape with a single large pinetree, a hitsu-matsu. The pine has been replaced several times since Hiroshige's times.
  • The wild geese returning home at Katata (堅田の落雁) - Ukimido. Alighting geese cannot be seen always, however the little temple near Katata in the square hōkyō-style, detached from the lakeside, connected by a bridge. The first part of the name uki is the uki in Ukiyo-e, meaning floating. Midō means temple.
  • The evening snow at Hira (比良の暮雪) - Hira Mountains. Hira mountains at the westside of the lake experience the hard winter, when the winter monsoon brings much snow from the continent.

Other Eight views[edit]

Hiroshige alone produced nearly 20 different series "Omi Hakkei". Other artists followed. To please everybody, "Eight views of" were created for many parts of Japan, e.g. using surroundings of Edo. A series called "Eight views of Kanazawa"[3] reflects a bay near Yokohama.

Ukiyoe pictures by Hiroshige[edit]

Hiroshige drew the following ukiyo-e pictures:


  1. ^ a b 美しい滋賀県 [The Beauty of Shiga Prefecture] (in Japanese). Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture, Japan: Shiga Prefecture. 2012. Retrieved Nov 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Ōmi Hakkei". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 56431036. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  3. ^ Not to be mixed up with the city of Kanazawa, Ishikawa Pref.

See also[edit]