Shiga Prefecture is full of surprises. On one of my cycling explorations of Takashima, I turned a corner near a vast new shopping mall, and a little way down the road I discovered a beautiful red pagoda standing in a pond surrounded by white walls topped with magnificent undulating dragons. This exquisite Chinese style garden was created as a symbol of friendship between the Chinese city of Yuyao and the town of Adogawa (now part of Takashima City.) In Japan it really pays to leave the main roads and explore!
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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.