6 Spectacular Sights to See and Things to Do Around Japan’s Lake Biwa This Summer

  • Lake Biwa (琵琶湖), also known as Biwako, is the largest freshwater lake in Japan. With its long history, it is sometimes called the “Mother Lake.” Lake Biwa offers spectacular sights and activities that you can enjoy in daytime or at nighttime. Since summer in Japan is coming up, beat the heat by surrounding yourself with water. Check out the fun things you can do in Lake Biwa this summer!

    1. Float in a water ball

    Tap into the child in you and roll around inside a giant water ball! Take part in this unique experience as you float along Lake Biwa. Don’t forget to take a commemorative photo! You can also have a go at the water tube and the latest water toy from O’PAL (オーパル).

    O’PAL Website *Japanese only

    2. Try a water sport

    Get wet and wild and join one of the water sports classes at the BSC Watersports Centre (BSCウォータースポーツセンター). Classes include kayaking, yachting, and wind surfing. Catch the sunrise as you paddle with the Sunrise Kayak Tour, or feel as if you are walking on water with Stand Up Paddling (SUP). There are many options to choose from, perfect for individuals and groups alike.

    BSC Watersports Centre Website *Japanese only

    3. Go lotus flower cruising

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    The Karasuma Peninsula (烏丸半島) on the east side of Lake Biwa is one of the largest lotus flower colonies in Japan. Take the boat tour that brings visitors close to the blooming lotus flowers. Sit tight and be charmed by the humble lotus that adds color over Lake Biwa.


    4. Visit the Lake Biwa Museum (琵琶湖博物館)

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    Explore the relationship between Lake Biwa and its people through the Lake Biwa Museum. There are three exhibition rooms in the museum that show the lake’s natural history and archaeology. The museum is also home to one of the largest freshwater aquariums where visitors can see the King of Lake Biwa, the Lake Biwa Catfish. It can grow over a meter and weigh over 30 kg, making it the largest native species in Lake Biwa.

    Lake Biwa Museum Website

    5. See the Lake Biwa Flower Fountain (びわこ花噴水)

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    Also known as Biwako Hana Funsui, the Lake Biwa Flower Fountain is considered one of the longest fountains in the world. It is a spectacle that draws tourists with its light shows that complement the water fountain. Watch this light and water show that begins after sunset!

    Lake Biwa Flower Fountain Website

    6. Witness the Lake Biwa Great Fireworks Festival (びわ湖大花火大会)

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    What is summer without a fireworks festival? Get ready to shout “Tamaya (たまや)!” or “Kagiya (かぎや)!” as 10,000 fireworks light up the summer night sky over Lake Biwa. There are many viewing spots in Otsu City (大津市) that will allow you to enjoy the fireworks. This year’s festival is slated on August 8, 2017. Don’t miss one of the best fireworks festivals in the region!

    Lake Biwa Great Fireworks Festival Website

    Lake Biwa is a Japan Heritage Site, included among the first 18 sites designated in 2015. With the title “Lake Biwa and its Surroundings: A Water Heritage Site of Life and Prayer,” the site pays tribute to the value of water in the lives and culture of its locals. Discover Lake Biwa’s rich history and beauty by visiting Shiga Prefecture (滋賀県) this summer.

    Shiga Biwako Tourism Official Website