Ōmi Province

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Ōmi Province (近江国, Ōmi no kuni) is an old province of Japan, which today comprises Shiga Prefecture.[1] It was one of the provinces that made up the Tōsandō circuit. Its nickname is Gōshū (江州).

Map of Japanese provinces (1868) with Omi Province highlighted

Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake, is located at the center of the province. "Ōmi" came from awaumi or "fresh-water sea" and the kanji of "Ōmi" () means "an inlet near the capital" (See also Tōtōmi Province).

The ancient capital was near Ōtsu, which was also a major castle town. In north of Otsu, one of the most important monastery Enryaku-ji is located on Mount Hiei.


Hōjō Tokimasa, the first shikken of the Kamakura shogunate, was made daimyō of Ōmi Province in the 10th month of Shōji 2 (1200).[2]

During the Sengoku period, the northern part of the province was the fief of Ishida Mitsunari, Tokugawa Ieyasu's opponent at the Battle of Sekigahara, although he spent most of his time in Osaka Castle administering the fief of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's young son. After Ishida's defeat, Tokugawa granted the fief to his allies, the Ii clan, who built the castle and town of Hikone from the ruins of Sawayama.

Takebe taisha was designated as the chief Shinto shrine (ichinomiya) for the province.[3]

Ukiyo-e print by Hiroshige of the sailboats at Yahashi, one of the Eight Views of Ōmi, c. 1834

During the Edo period, it was host to five stations of the Tōkaidō and eight stations of the Nakasendō.

The southern part of the province around the town of Kōka (Koga) was the home of the famous Kōga ninja, one of the two main founding schools of ninjutsu[citation needed].

Historical districtsEdit



  • Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128
  • Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon (Nihon Ōdai Ichiran). Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 5850691.

Other websitesEdit

  Media related to Omi Province at Wikimedia Commons