Lake Biwa
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Top ways to experience Lake Biwa and nearby attractions

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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles275 reviews
Excellent
104
Very good
121
Average
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Poor
2
Terrible
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Shlomi T
Nagano, Japan1,377 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021
Beautiful from far above. When you stand nearby, not too impressive.
It is huge. The largest in Japan. Mostly urban feel around, not too much wild areas and parks.
Did not see any beaches, maybe there are, but I am sure not too many.
Written 23 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KeaNor
127 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015 • Couples
During the sometimes excruciatingly hot days of the post-rainy season Kyoto summer, a trip out of town to one of the beaches along Lake Biwa is an option to consider. By train, the easiest beach to reach is Omimaiko (43 mins by Japan Rail Kosei Line from Kyoto Station platform 3). Exiting the station, just follow the main road towards the lake, and within a few minutes you'll be there. The beach is pretty long, bordered by pine trees the intirety of its length. Both ends tend to be pretty crowded, with many people having BBQs. If you like it more quiet / secluded, go past the area where the beach makes a bend. Normally, you'll have most of the next 3-400 meters more or less to yourselves there. Near the northern and southern end of the beach, it's possible to hire water scooters and other fun on water equipment. Food stalls and small eateries can be found along parts of the beach, as well as the ubiquitous vending machines.
Written 18 August 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Emily L
Oxford, MI170 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014 • Friends
I live right on Lake Biwa, like, tip my apartment over and I'm drowning... So I'm on the beach a lot. In the summer for about six weeks there's a buoyed area for swimmers with several beach attendants who keep it clean. They have bathrooms for use sporadically placed along the shore and near the main beach attendant station they attach faucets for those six weeks so you can wash sand off your feet.

Outside of that time the beach is very littered- the storms bring everything from the other side of the lake up to Hikone's beach area. I've also seen people leave their trash on several occasions. You'll always find dead fish in the water and the seaweed from the other side washes up.

It's hit or miss- but most days I would NOT go into the water. There's little sand to play in - mostly picky weeds.

There is a windsurfing school on the beach and there are a few events over the course of the summer that make it a fun, festive area (and this is just about the only time it's clean). And in the fall/winter you can see straight across it and are surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains. Also, you get to see the sun set nightly over the water, better sunsets in the summer for sure.

If you want to swim this lake is terrible or extremely poor, average on its best days.

If you want to do water recreation like wind surfing or jet skiing, it's average or good.

If you want to go sit on a bench and watch the sun set it's above average.

Written 29 January 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

emmanaomi06
Osaka, Japan5 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2011 • Friends
Lake Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan and as such, is a popular attraction for young people looking to have a good time.

From Osaka, you need to take the train to Kyoto and swap to either the Biwako line or the Kosei line (depending on which part of the lake you'd like to go). Be careful and do your research first, otherwise you may end up on an unnecessary 3 hour long tour of the lake.

I spent the day at Omimaiko, which is about 50 mins from Kyoto on the Kosei line. The lake itself is gorgeous, sprawling out for so many miles that you can't actually see the other shore. The view from the train window offers green fields, blue water and tree scattered mountains, which make such a nice change from the usual, repetitive cityscape of Osaka.

Once alighting at the station (and having my ticket collected by an actual person instead of a ticket gate), my friends and I head down to the lake. The area is massive - and packed as it's a Summer Sunday - but there is laughter, BBQs, amenities and shops selling everything from floaties to flip flops to beer (Though i highly recommend stocking up at the Convenience store in Osaka as the prices are ridiculous).

The rest of the day is spent listening to music, chatting with friends and swimming in the water - which is the most clean and clear water i've found yet in Japan. The sand is still make of rocks though, so be careful.
Written 1 August 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

zippyfan
London, UK422 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2015 • Couples
I walked to the lake from Hikone Castle, which took about 20 minutes, to find a body of water that was quite dirty. There was a lot of rubbish washed up on the shore which surprised me because a lot of the places I have seen in Japan are so clean. Aside from a view of the mountains there is not much for tourists.
Written 19 April 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

bricklan
56 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2015 • Couples
We stayed in Shiga, on the shores of Lake Biwa. And yes, we had planned to use it as a base for taking the train to Kyoto etc for sightseeing. But having access to bicycles, we decided to use them to cycle along the shoreline. Wow, so glad we did. The area is beautiful......like Hawaii....white sand, Palm trees, and clear waters......but quiet and largely unspoiled. The train track runs parallel with the shore, but keep that behind you and look at the water and you'll forget it's there.
Funny that we thought it resembled Hawaii.....as we came across Cafe R....in Hira, the next village to Shiga. It is a Hawaiian themed cafe, with the most glorious loos and sizzling, hot plates of food, as well as delicious crepes and hot chocolate. All overlooking the lake..(well the loos didn't...but hey ho!)
We also ventured a few stops on the train to Katata. We walked a couple of kilometres to the port, where we found signs for shrines. And when we came to one on stilts in the lake, it was such a lovely surprise. And very beautiful. We also had coffee in the little cafe overlooking the shrine and the lake. The waitress was so welcoming and practised her English on us. She also asked if we'd like a photograph taken.. The whole experience was a delight.
We did visit Kyoto a few times. It was spectacular.......but that's another story!
Written 14 April 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hunnybunx
Singapore, Singapore368 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2014 • Couples
Whichever side you view it from, it is a lovely and serene lake that has much to offer. There were lovely clusters of sakuras when we were there a few weeks back during the sakura season. Also beautiful was the shrine with the 'floating' toji in the lake..

We had an enjoyable time.
Written 19 April 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

georgem0510
Otsu-shi, Shiga, Japan11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2012
Biwa Lake is big. There is good place for fishing, crewing and just watching.
Written 20 October 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ninit_rohimi
Palembang, Indonesia180 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2014 • Friends
this lake very near with Hikone castle resort and spa..biggest lake in Japan, beautiful and nice view..in this area good for walking, run and yoga, pilates and other out activities with air fresh!!
Written 11 December 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RyannAnn
Folsom, CA19 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
My first time seeing Lake Biwa was in the fall, so I feel like it might be a bit nicer weather seeing it in late spring or early summer, but the lake paired with the castle and the surrounding trees showing off their best colors was gorgeous. I also saw it on a Wednesday morning so I was alone and it was perfect!
Written 4 December 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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LAKE BIWA (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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