Marked by the start of the 21st century, BIWAKO Biennale began in 2001. The exhibition utilizes venues throughout the old town of Omihachiman. Omihachiman was built as a castle town by Hidetsugu Toyotomi and is known as the birthplace of the Omi merchants. Today, several areas of the old town are designated for preservation by the city, including : Shinmachi street, lined with houses built in Edo period; Nagahara street, the townscape along the Hachiman canal: as well as the grounds of Himure Hachiman shrine. These sites have been registered by the government as “Omihachiman Hachiman traditional buildings preservation district”. Dotted throughout the old town many empty, old houses, after falling into disrepair, eventually become parking lots or new, modern houses. In an effort to save these irreplaceable historic buildings, BIWAKO Biennale attempts put them to use. We begin by cleaning these long neglected buildings with the help of volunteers comprised of both local residents and people from across Japan. Then, artists from home and abroad work with each of the spaces to turn them into works of art. We hope you enjoy experiencing both the artists’ work and how the once neglected and forgotten buildings spring back to life with a new radiance.

Shinmachi St.

[Shinmachi St.]
Merchant houses built during the late Edo period and Meiji period remain today, neatly lining Shinmachi Street. The area is being preserved as a part of a conservation effort by the city of Omihachiman.


This year’s theme will be “きざし Kizashi ~ Beyond”. It is a wish for the many omens expressed by the artists to lead to a bright future. Additionally, since this year is the 160th anniversary of the French-Japanese relationship, a pre-BIWAKO Biennale will be held in Paris, France, as well as in Manila, Philippines.

Location​ Omihachiman Shiga prefecture Japan
Duration​ September 15 Sat ~ November 11 Sun 2018
Opening hours 10 a.m. ~ 5 p.m. (closed on Tuesdays)
Venue passport
Students under junior high schoolFree entrance


BIWAKO BIENNALE brings together the best selection of artists from home and abroad and enables the artists to transform each space into an artwork of its own. Each BIWAKO Biennale becomes a magnificent symphony, composed of the sounds of the artists. With this biennale’s theme, “KIZASHI~BEYOND”, the artists will explore universal aspirations and pour all their energy into touching your heart and inspiring your soul.

「Flower garden」Makoto Egashira

「Cartridge」Chu Enoki 2012年 Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art Photo:Seiji Toyonaga(SANDWICH GRAPHIC)©Chu Enoki

Chu Enoki (Metal sculpture / Japan), Runa Kosogawa (Glass art / Japan), Makoto Egashira (Tapestry installation / Japan), Sayu Hasegawa (Japanese painting / Japan), Tsuyoshi Inoue (Glass art/ Japan), Masayoshi Yamada (Metal sculpture / Lives in France), Mafumi Hishida (Science + Arts / Japan), Takuma Noda (Karakami / Japan), Stefan Larsson (AUJIK) (Video art / Sweden), Ryan Nazareno Villamael (Paper installation / Philippines), Gabriela Morawetz (Video installation / Poland), Mathieu Quilici (Installations, Architecture / France) Etc.


Houses and factories throughout the old town district are used to showcase works of art, most of which were built in the Edo period with traditional craftsmanship. We hope you enjoy the slow pace and laid-back streets the town offers as you walk between venues.


(BB Information Desk)



OGIKICHI’s Storehouse

KANEKICHI Second House


OTHER VENUES OKUMURA Hachimanbori, ​TERAMOTO’s House(BB Shop), OGA’s House, Zuiryuji Temple, Mt.Hachiman Observation Deck


Conveying Shiga’s charms

2018 September 15 ~ November 11

During this year’s edition of the BIWAKO Biennale, in addition to the usual exhibition of Shiga traditional crafts and industry excellence, you will also be able to see the works of Shiga photographer Koji Tsujimura, who captured on camera the hidden charms of our prefecture.
Hachimanbori was built in the Azuchi Momoyama period (1573-1607). Water transportation helped the town prosper especially during the Edo period with the birth of the Omi merchants. Today one can still get a sense of the town as it was in times past.

BIWAKO Biennale night tours (2~3 venues)

Scheduled every week-end

Venues:BIWAKO biennale Venues

As pieces are plunged into the darkness of the night, their shapes and shadows will appear under a new light. With the help of the BIWAKO Biennale staff, who know the artists, the works, and the buildings in and out, you will be charmed in ways that you wouldn’t expect and that completely differ from the experience in broad daylight.
Workshops, concerts, tea ceremonies, artist conferences and more.

Pre-BIWAKO Biennale 2018

Manila House

Saint-Merry Church

The Philippines – Japan Friendship Exhibition
May 10th – Jun 30th
Organization​: EnergyField (NPO)
Location​: Manila House Bonifacio Global City
Free entrance

Saint-Merry Church – Summer exhibition –
July 12th – August 30th
Organization​: EnergyField (NPO)
Location​: Saint-Merry Church, Paris
Free entrance