Shiga: Symbolic Lake Biwa dragonfly monument to be removed after 60 years

Courtesy of the Shiga prefectural government
A dragonfly monument, right, is seen on the roof of the Biwako Bunkakan museum, left, in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture.

OTSU — A giant dragonfly monument that has sat on the roof of a lakeside museum for 60 years will soon be removed for safety reasons.

The Biwako Bunkakan museum stands on the shore of Lake Biwa, Japan’s biggest lake, in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, and the monument has been in place since the museum opened in 1961. The giant dragonfly has a 6-meter wingspan and rests on a roof 40 meters above the lake’s surface.

The dragonfly has long served as a symbol for the museum, but it also used to function as a lighthouse. Its eye sockets glowed with lights at night as its body rotated round and round.

The museum, a facility run by the Shiga prefectural government, was originally equipped with a swimming pool and an aquarium, but later became a storage facility and a space for exhibiting cultural assets. In 2008, it closed, mainly due to aging.

A successor facility is planned to be built in the city, but it has not been decided whether the dragonfly will spin in the sky with its eyes aglow at the new location.