Otsu is considered the Holy Land of Karuta because it is home to Omi-jingū Shrine, where the author of the first poem in the Ogura Hyakunin-isshu—Emperor Tenji—is enshrined. It is also the location for the championship matches for Kyogi Karuta, as depicted in the famous manga and animated film Chihayafuru, as well as the National High School Tournament held each year. Located to the southwest of Lake Biwa, Otsu is just a short hop from Kyoto and is deeply connected with the poets of Ogura Hyakunin-isshu, several historic sites as well as temples and shrines related to the poets situated in the city.
The Otsu Hikarukun Cup International Kyogi Karuta Tournament, held in the city, attracts participants from all over Japan and overseas to compete in a regional team competition to determine the world’s best team.
Omi Kangaku-kan, Omi-jingū Shrine (1-1 Jingūcho, Otsu, Shiga)Google MAP
We will hold a live panel discussion to understand the current status of Kyogi Karuta in the world.
The purpose is to build a bridge to the future from the "Otsu Hikaru-kun Cup International Karuta Tournament" and the "International Students Karuta Workshop" held in Otsu City in 2018 and 2019.
Panelists will include representatives of teams that participated in the Otsu Hikaru-kun Cup International Karuta Tournament, people who have championed Kyogi Karuta overseas and those who have promoted other sports overseas. The panelists will discuss what is necessary to further spread Kyogi Karuta around the world.
* Watching the panel discussion at the venue requires an advance application (free of charge)
The panel discussion is also planned to be live-streamed. We will announce the application method later on this website.
●Omi Kangaku-kan, Omi-jingū Shrine (1-1 Jingūcho, Otsu, Shiga)
20 min. walk from JR, Kosei Line, Otsukyo Station
10 min. walk from Keihan Railway, Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line, Omijingumae Station
10 min. from Kyotohigashi IC (By Nishiotsu bypass)
15 min. from Otsu IC (By prefecture road 558)
Omi-jingu Shrine was established in 1938 at the site of the former Otsukyo capital as part of the commemorative project of the 2600th year of the Imperial Period, and enshrines the founder of the Otsu capital, Emperor Tenji.
Surrounded by a vast forest within the shrine grounds lie vermillion shrine gates and the magnificent atmosphere of the Omi-style main shrine.
As Emperor Tenji created the first water clock in Japan, he became known as the founder of the clock. Because of this, there is also a clock museum within the shrine grounds, which includes water clocks and sundials among the displays.
As the first poem of the Hyakunin-isshu was composed by Emperor Tenji, and the shrine’s Omi Kangaku-kan hosts the annual Queen & Meijin Competitive Karuta Championships, Omi-jingu Shrine has become known as the “holy land of karuta.”
Check the link for other highlights of Otsu CityBiwako Otsu Travel Guide