Shigaraki is a small pottery town in the middle of Shiga's countryside, but it is a town with a long and interesting history. Shigaraki became the Imperial capital for a few months in the year 745, but the Imperial court moved after the palace was burned down in a forest fire. However the really curious thing about Shigaraki is that everywhere you look there are cute pottery raccoon dogs known as tanuki.There seems to be a number of interesting stories about these tanuki. For example, once when the emperor visited the town the local people were concerned that they were too few in number to provide a rousing welcome for their illustrious guest, so they got the idea of lining up hundreds of tanuki on the sides of the road. I bet that made the emperor smile!
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I came to Japan in 2003 to teach English. I lived in Shiga prefecture for one year, and it still holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Kyoto for nine years, then moved to Machida, Tokyo in 2014 after meeting my Japanese partner. I love to take photos, and my Japan in Pictures Facebook page has some 40,000 followers. I have been the Regional Partner for Yamanashi Prefecture since 2014. I am enjoying exploring the prefectures around Tokyo (I like to get off the beaten track), and I hope the photos and stories I share will encourage more people to discover this wonderful country.