Recommended Theme and Activities
Otsu-e, or Otsu paintings, are a representative souvenir of Otsu City on the south-east shore of Lake Biwa. Oni-no nenbutsu (an ogre chanting a Buddhist sutra), fuji musume (wisteria maiden), takajo (falconer), zato (the leader of a troupe), and yarimochi yakko (an attendant holding a spear) are among typical patterns filled with a Japanese atmosphere. Originally, these folk paintings were depicted on paper. Today, a variety of items such as plates, tea cups, and wooden products with Otsu-e paintings are available and particularly popular among foreign tourists. In Genroku period (1688-1703), Otsu-e artists and art dealers were crowded along the old Tokaido Highway, and the paintings spread nationwide as a souvenir. After temporary decline in Meiji period (1868-1912), they were successfully restored byTakahashi Shozan(I) and other artists. Today, Shozan Takahashi (IV) and his son, Shinsuke Takahashi, inherit the tradition.
Otsu-e (Otsu painting)