Ōmi Hakkei is a well depicted series by Utagawa Hiroshige of the 8 Landscape views of Lake Biwa that has since been engraved in the hearts of the people of Shiga forever.

The surrounding areas of the lake in Ōmi Province which is now Shiga Prefecture has become a source of inspiration for writers, poets, and painters in ancient times. Amongst them, Hiroshige being the most influential adding a layer of ethereal beauty to Lake Biwa through his paintings. All scenic views chosen by Hiroshige are situated at the southern end of the lake beginning on the east side but with no fixed order. The “Eight Views” was a theme originally from Chinese Poetry that Hiroshige borrowed and adapted to various of his works, with the subject comes an attendant poem for each locality. 

The boats that come with swelling sails to Yabase have been chased by the wind along the coasts of Uchide.

Some are out in the centre of the lake, others in-shore, or coming to anchor. Behind the opposite coast-line a mountain raises its peak above the mist; in the distance, on the right, a cluster of sails loom through the evening haze

Soft and fitful rain passes far away over the mountains; the evening light streams along the Bridge of Seta.

Perhaps the chief masterpiece of a set in which all are masterpieces. View of the long Seta Bridge running right across the lake from the village at the foot of Ishiyama; in the background rises the peak of the lesser Fuji (not the Fuji as sometimes erroneously described) into a beautiful orange sky.

“0 Hill of Stone, the image of the moon that thou seest appear on Niwo Sea, is it not more beautiful than even the moonlit Akashi, or Suma?”

On the left rises a steep rocky cliff, on the summit of which stands Ishiyama Temple, overlooking the lake. In the distance appears the long Seta Bridge, while still further, on the horizon, a mountain shows through the mist, its peak emerging above the moonlit haze.

White as when the wind clears away the cloud and scatters it, the sails of a hundred boats come flying to Awazu.

View of the road along the shore of the lake lined with trees, and boats on the water; background of hills behind which rises a higher mountain, its peak clear of the low-lying mist.

At the sound of the bell beginning from Mii-dera, Hark ! says the traveller, I am one step nearer the twilight.

In the foreground flat fields, and trees bordering a road; beyond lie the temple buildings on the wooded hill-side which is overlooked by yet higher mountains behind; yellow mists on the hills and sky a deep orange. Seal Take. Found in two states; in the later one the foreground is green and the upper part of the hills is reddish in colour.

Elsewhere will they talk of the music of the evening breeze that has made the pine of Karasaki famous; the voice of the wind is not heard through the sound of the rain in the night.

View of the great pine almost blotted out by the downpour of rain.

After crossing many a mountain range, the wild geese alight at Katata for a while, soon to continue their flight to northern Koshiji.

In the foreground a fishing-boat with nets hanging up to dry, and other boats on the lake; flights of wild geese descending from the sky; a background of high hills, their peaks rising clear above low-lying mist. 

He who would see the beauty of the evening on the peaks of Hira must behold it after the snows have fallen, and before the flowers are fully blown.

In the foreground a snow-covered village and clumps of bamboo by an inlet of the lake; behind rises the snowy mass of Mount Hira beyond hills.

Originally published by Kawaguchi in 1834, Each woodblock print is in horizontal-ōban format of about 15″ x 10″ (38cm x 25cm). The title, Kyoto Meisho no uchi, and sub-title are on the face of each print with the accompanying publisher’s seal of Yeisendo or Kawaguchi. These prints are rare with not many circulations as publishers focused more on Hiroshige’s other and most popular work “The 53 Stations of the Tokaido” released that same year.