Introducing the history of the Prefectural Government from the Meiji Period onwards.
|The Otsu Magistrate’s Office is abolished and Otsu Court is established.
|The Otsu Prefectural Government is established at the former site of the courthouse.
|The Otsu Prefectural Government is relocated to Honpukuji Temple
|The Otsu Prefectural Government is relocated to the Otsu Community Assembly Hall.
|The Otsu Prefectural Government is relocated to Kenjoji Temple.
|The Otsu Prefectural Government is relocated to Enmanin in the hamlet of Bessho.
|Otsu Prefecture is renamed Shiga Prefecture.
|An Assembly Hall is established in Kenjoji Temple.
|The old Prefectural Office is completed in its present location.
|The Prefectural Office is relocated to a temporary location in Bessho, Otsu, during reconstruction of the main building.
|Construction of the Prefectural Office (now the Main Building) is completed.
|Construction of the West Annex is completed. (It is demolished in 1988).
|Construction of the Annex and Staff Assemby Hall is completed.
|Shiga Prefecture purchases the South Annex. (It is demolished in 1989).
|Construction of the New Building is completed.
|Shiga Prefecture purchases the East Annex. (It is demolished in 1993).
|Construction of the addition to the Main Building is completed.
|Construction of the Commerce, Industry, and Labor Assembly Hall (East Building) is completed.
|Construction of the addition to the New Building is completed.
|Construction of the Shiga Prefectural Governor’s Reception House is completed.
Otsu Prefecture was established on April 28, 1868. On May 3rd of the same year, the Prefectural Office was opened at the former site of the Courthouse (near present-day Hamaotsu Station). It was later moved to Honpukuji Temple, Otsu Assemby Hall, and finally Kenjoji Temple. By January 1869, it was relocated to Yamauchi Enmanin at Miidera Temple. Otsu Prefecture was renamed Shiga Prefecture in January 1872, following the July 1871 abolition of the Han System and establishment of the Prefecture System. Yamauchi Enmanin continued to be used as the Prefectural Office for nearly 20 years.
In June 1888, the old Government Office was built in the current prefectural capital (called Higashiura at that time). It was constructed in two years for a total cost of about 110,000 yen (about 2.2 billion yen at today’s value). The structure of the building was a brick two-story cruciform. The center of the upper level was used as a Seicho (※), the left side as the police unit, and the right side as the Prefecture Capitol for more than 50 years. At that time, it was a modern Western-style building and equipped with central heating.
※ ”Seicho” is an old type of auditorium where various prefectural ceremonies were held.
Full View of the former Government Office (1920s, early Showa era)
The reconstruction of the Main Building was started in 1937 and was completed in May 1939 for a total construction cost of 2 million yen.
The plans were created by Mr. Koichi Sato, who was famous for designing Okuma Auditorium at Waseda University, and the Gunma Prefectural Office, among others. A tower sits atop the four-story steel-reinforced concrete building, the right and left sides are offices, and at the front entrance is a large carriage porch, giving it a dignified appearance and impressive quality reminiscent of Renaissance architecture. This building is one representative of modern architecture in Shiga.
The most characteristic designs of this building are found in the central staircase. The stained glass by the landing, intended to break the monotony of the stone construction, is an exquisite embodiment of the prefectural office, where great numbers of people come together.
Another characteristic feature of the staircase is the earthenware decorations on its walls. At the time of construction, these richly decorative and eye-catching terracotta reliefs were introduced to replace the stone materials that had been used until that point. These reliefs were made in a prefectural ceramics examination room (now known as the Shigaraki Ceramic Research Experiement Station), established in 1927. The lively and carefree design of the Acanthus (a perennial that originated on the Mediterranean coast) lends elegance to the building through its graceful curves, only made possible by the ceramic materials.
Front Staircase Landing
Front Entrance Staircase
The Annex, which was built in 1965. The 1st and 2nd floors contained the Staff Assembly Hall (a staff welfare program facility) and the 3rd and 4th floors were offices.
Annex (Staff Assembly Hall)
The New Building was built in three years, starting in 1972, for a total cost of about one billion yen, and completed in October 1974. Later, an addition to the new building and the Official Document Center were built to accompany the diversification and expansion of administrative requests. Construction of these buildings cost about 3.2 billion yen, and was completed in September 1987.
The row of cherry blossom trees that lines the road on the building’s south side (JR side) existed before the construction of the New Building, and passerby continue to marvel at the sight of all the trees blooming simultaneously in spring. A relief installed in commemoration of the New Building’s construction welcomes visitors at the East Entrance.
Cherry blossom trees on the south side of the New Building
Relief at the East Entrance of the New Building
The Commerce, Industry, and Labor Assembly Hall was built in March 1983 to secure offices for the headquarters of commercial and industrial departments and labor unions in Shiga Prefecture. In August 2004, ”Collabo Shiga 21” was built in Uchidehama, Otsu City, as a headquarters for work in the fields of commercial and industrial labor welfare in Shiga. The industrial labor unions also moved there, prompting the Commerce, Industry, and Labor Assembly Hall to be renamed ”East Building.”
Traditional crafts from Shiga Prefecture are regularly displayed in the exhibition corner by the East Building Entrance.
East Building (formerly the Commerce, Industry, and Labor Assembly Hall)
Exhibition corner by the East Building Entrance
The Shiga Prefectural Governor’s Reception House was built in March 1993 to welcome domestic and foreign guests of honor to Shiga and to hold ceremonies.
Inside the building is a 95m² guest room, a drawing room, and a Japanese-style room.