Lake Biwa is a picturesque lake located in Shiga Prefecture near Kyoto and is the largest lake in Japan. Lake Biwa is famous for its scenery and fishing.

Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan, which is 670.25 sq km and 235km around. Lake Biwa is a major water supply to Kansai area. It is the 3rd oldest lake in the world (1st :Lake Baikal, 2nd :Lake Tanganyika). Lake Biwa has many different attractions spread around its shore line. Lake Biwa is a popular place for local people for water sports, swimming, cruise and fishing. Lake Biwa contains many species of fish, but it is especially famous for its ayu fish.

Biwako-Hakkei - Lake Biwa Famous Sights

8 most scenic spots have been officially selected and called 'Biwako-Hakkei'.
These points of interest can be found on our Kyoto Map.

  1. Seta, Ishiyama's Clear Stream at Sunset
    (10 min walk from JR Ishiyama Station)
    The flowing Seta River, lit up by the rays of a setting sun, forms a backdrop for the Kara Bridge, one of the three major Japanese bridges.
  2. Forest on Mt Hiei in Smoky Mist
    (8 min walk from Enryakuji Station, Sakamoto Cable Line)
    The halls of Enryakuji Temple surrounded with old-growth cedars and fir trees in smoky mist create mysterious and fantastic atmosphere.
    Mt Hiei Enryakuji Temple
    Enryakuji Temple
  3. White beach of Omatsuzaki
    (10 min walk from JR Omimaiko Station)
    The depth of the water suddenly changes, and the water so clear it's as if one could catch a fish by hand stretches far out. The view of white sand and green pines, spreading for 3km with the Hira mountain range as its backdrop, is just magnificent.
  4. Lakeside Rocks in Kaizu-Osaki at Misty Dawn
    (30 min walk from JR Makino Station)
    You will be fascinated by the striking color contrast of pink cherry trees in full bloom against the dark blue waters of Lake Biwa, the rocks sticking out prominently from the water, and lush green mountains with snow-covered peaks.
  5. Shizugatake with New Snow
    (JR Kinomoto Station - bus 5 min - Oto Stop - 5 min walk)
    Shizugatake is a mountain 422m above sea level. From here, you can see Mt Ibuki and Kotani to the east; Lake Biwa and Chikubu Island to the south; and Yogo Lake of the Hagoromo Legacy to the north. This mountain was a site for the Battle of Shizugatake in the past.
  6. Hikone Castle under the Moonlight
    (10 min walk from JR Hikone Station)
    Along with Himeji Castle, Inuyama Castle, and Matsumoto Castle, Hikone Castle is one of the four historic castles in Japan. Approximately 1,200 cherry trees are planted on the premises of Hikone Castle, attracting a lot of people in both daytime and nighttime during the Cherry Blossom Festival every spring. The scene of Hikone Castle illuminated by the moonlight is particularly beautiful.
  7. Waterfront of Azuchi-Hachiman in Spring
    (JR Omi-Hachiman Station - bus 17min - Togei-no-sato Stop)
    In the Nishi-no-ko Lake area, from Omi Hachiman to Azuchi, is Japan's largest waterfront area. You can enjoy cruising by houseboat through reed beds in a maze of waterways, while listening to the songs of waterbirds and watching seasonal views here.
  8. Chikubushima's Sunken Views in Deep Green
    (Nagahama Port - 30 min on boat - Chikubushima Port)
    Chikubushima is a small island in Lake Biwa, which has 0.14 sqkm and 2km around. Tsukubusuma Shrine and Hogonji Temple are located in the island.

Lake Biwa Festivals

Sanno Festival
Apr 12-14
@Hiyoshitaisha Shrine, 5-1-1 Sakamoto, Otsu-shi, Shiga
(10 min walk from Sakamoto Station on Keihan Ishizaka Line)

Nagahama Hikiyama Festival
Apr 14-16
@Nagahama Hachimangu Shrine, 13-55 Miyamae-cho, Nagahama-shi, Shiga
(10 min walk from JR Nagahama Station)

Otsu Festival
Around Oct 10
@Tenson Shrine, 3-3-36 Kyomachi, Otsu-shi, Shiga
(5 min walk from JR Otsu Station)




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