Mt. Ibuki(1377m) is the highest mountain in Shiga. This mountain is known
for its beauty and myths.
This is a well-known myth. Once upon a time, Yamato Takeru, an ancient warrior of the legend, tried to attack the evil bandit living on Mt. Ibuki. But, unfortunately, the bandit was so strong and cunning that he transformed himself to a big white snake and did harm to Yamato Takeru. The warrior could do nothing but receed and escape from this mountain. He mended his body in spring water near the mountain, and barely survived.
Mt. Ibuki is located in the middle of Japan. In winter, a large bodies of cold air from Siberia blow through the corridor between Wakasa Gulf and Ise Gulf. Then, a lot of snow falls on Mt. Ibuki, because Mt. Ibuki is the only high mountain in the corridor. Actually, Mt Ibuki has the world record of the deepest snowfall (11.6m).
Many sightseers visit Mt.Ibuki every year to see natural flower gardens on the top of the mountain. You can enjoy viewing the 360-angle panprama as well as the beauty of many kinds of flowers on fine days through 3 seasons. Some of them are peculiar to Mt. Ibuki. If you are lucky enough, you can see very far from the top of the mountain. When the air is clear, you can see Mt.Hakusan in Ishikawa Prefecture, whichi is 120 km away from Mt. Ibuki ! Can you believe it?
It takes about 4 hours to climb Mt.Ibuki from the foot to the top. And you have another way to go up the mountain. Just drive your car, or take a bus. You can get to the parking lot close to the top of the mountain in 40 minutes. The toll is 3,000 yen for a car. (2009)
But we recommend you to go there on foot because you can find much more things on your way to and from the top.
Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582), who ruled this country during the warlike period, established a herb garden on Mt. Ibuki at Portuguese missionaries' contribution. Many kinds of
plants were brought by sea into Japan from Europe in the16th century.
Since then, Mt.Ibuki has been a treasury of herbs. Even Now many kinds of herbs can be seen here, and some of them are peculiar to this mountain.
Now we can find even foreign snails on this mountain. Tiny eggs of snails stuck on some plants might have carried at the same time.
"Gods come down from Mt.Ibuki to the village at early spring, and go back to Mt.Ibuki at the end of autumn."
People of this area have believed this for a long time. Thanks to the snow of Mt. Ibuki, they were able to grow rice and support their family. In spring, snow gradually melts into water, and the rain grow rice. After harvest, it gets cold and this holly mountain is covered with white snow. Looking at the white mountain, ancient people must have deified Mt.Ibuki. They thought,"Gods live on Mt.Ibuki."