Lake Biwa Travel Guide

Lake Biwa
The biggest freshwater lake in Japan is as vast as it is varied, with water sports, scenic cruises, and fantastic traditional culture.

It’s no surprise that Japan’s biggest freshwater lake offers some great opportunities for water-sports. You’ll be thankful for this when the Japanese summer hits and everyone is praying for an escape from the heat and humidity.

Popular activities include windsurfing, fishing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. BSC Watersports in Otsu offers all of these activities at decent prices. If you’re looking for a more relaxing experience, try hopping on the Michigan Cruise paddle steamer for a sightseeing cruise featuring food, drink, and shows. The boat departs roughly every 90 minutes from Otsu port.

Also worth checking out are the islands in the lake. Okishima is home to a small fishing community of around 300 people, and an even bigger population of cats! Chikubu Island is home to Hogonji temple, which offers some outstanding picture opportunities on a sunny day.

Most towns around the lake have ports, with boats leaving for the various islands and towns regularly. However, you should consider heading to Otsu first, as it has the best-connected and busiest port.

Don’t leave the lake area without trying funazushi, the oldest type of sushi in Japan which is nothing like its modern incarnations. Instead of fresh fish and rice, this is a famously pungent dish made from fermented crucian carp from Lake Biwa and its tributaries.

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