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Lake Biwa

Lake Biwa is located in Shiga Prefecture, on the northeast of Kyoto. I visited this Lake on the same day I visited Mt Hiei. It was convenient to do so from Mt Hiei by taking the Sakamoto Cable car.

Getting to Lake Biwa

Getting to Lake Biwa via Sakamoto Cable Car took us to the Shiga side of the base of Mt Hiei, to Sakamoto Station. The journey downhill was two-kilometres and took 11 minutes. The journey proved to be well-worth the money as it offered an awesome view directly over Lake Biwa and an opportunity to stroll through the town of Sakamoto.

View of Lake Biwa from the cable car ride down to Sakamoto
View of Lake Biwa from the cable car ride down to Sakamoto

My walk from Sakamoto Station through the town of Sakamoto was quiet and pleasant. There were a number of beautiful spots that offered photo opportunities.

The walk from Sakamoto Station through the town of Sakamoto
The walk from Sakamoto Station to Lake Biwa

Lake Biwa Flower Fountain

The Lake Biwa Flower Fountain is one of the world’s largest fountain which is about 400 meters long horizontally and it streams high into the air at 40 metres.

This is by far one of the most beautiful attraction here at Lake Biwa which you must not miss if you are in this area. With the sun setting in the horizon, the changing colours of the Fountain and the cruise ships sailing in the distance makes this a memorable experience. It certainly was for me because I needed to just relax for a while and take in the atmosphere before heading back home.

As the largest freshwater lake in Japan, it is a breeding ground for freshwater fish such as trout and is home to at least 46 native species and sub-species in the Lake. It serves as a reservoir to Kyoto and Otsu and supplies 15 million residents with drinking water in the Kansai region.

Lake Biwa Flower Fountain, Shiga Prefecture
Lake Biwa Flower Fountain, Shiga Prefecture
The Flower Fountain streams up high into air at 40 metres.
The Lake Biwa Flower Fountain streams up high into air at 40 metres.

My visit here was very brief but I did fulfil my intention to capture the sunset and relax after my long day of mountain climbing.

Activities at Lake Biwa

Although I spent only a couple of hours here, Lake Biwa is a destination that warrants at least half a day. If you can fit in a longer time, you will be pleasantly surprised at the various ways to enjoy this Lake. As the largest freshwater lake in Japan in the Shiga Prefecture, you can enjoy cruises to the southern end of the Lake. There are many beach activities such as zip line or water sliding. You will also find that the area offer many popular holiday resorts here which you can stay at.

A Cruise Boat in the Distance at the Lake.
A Cruise Boat in the Distance at the Lake, Shiga Prefecture
A cruise boat taking-off to the southern end of the Lake
A cruise boat taking-off to the southern end of Lake Biwa

There are historic sites such as the Enryaku-ji Temple in Mount Hiei and Hikone Castle.

Travel tips and Useful information on Lake Biwa:

Getting to Lake Biwa

Otsu: from Kyoto station take the JR Biwako line (about 10 min), exit at Hama-Otsu station (about 20 minutes from Sanjo-Keihan railway station)

Enryakuji Temple: from Otsu Keihanzeze station, take the Keihan line, for Sakamoto. From Sakamoto, take the cable car to the temple.

Hikone: From Kyoto to Hikone, it is about 50 minutes journey and is the fastest.

  • If you have the JR Pass, you can take the shinkansen to Maibara, about 20 minutes journey and then back to Hikone by JR Biwako which is about 5 minutes.

Omihachiman: Take the JR Biwako line from Kyoto which is about 35 minutes journey.

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  1. This is definitely a beautiful place to go to – a combination of both the mountains and the valleys! 🙂 Thank you so much for your lovely comments and appreciating my photos. It means a lot. 🙂

  2. Lake Biwa certainly looks beautiful. Your photos are so lovely. My favourite is the awesome view over the lake. I’d be interested in taking the cable car. And, I wouldn’t mind hiking in the mountains as well. It sounds like this Japanese area has so much to enjoy.

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