Take a Ride on This Sightseeing Ship and See Great Views of Japan’s Lake Biwa

  • Brave the waters aboard the newest sightseeing ship in the Kansai region – Naomasa!

    Sightseeing ship Naomasa started its operations in March 2017. Managed by Ohmi Marine, the ship embarks on the Chikubu Island Cruise which takes its passengers to Chikubu Island. This island is located in the northern part of Lake Biwa and is considered the second largest island in the lake. It is a popular site included in the “Eight Views of Lake Biwa,” and is considered a power spot as it is home to Hogonji Temple and Tsukubusuma Shrine.

    Sightseeing Ship Naomasa also goes to Takei Island, an uninhabited island known for its many views. Find out more about Naomasa and its routes in this article!

    Sightseeing Ship Naomasa’s History and Structure

    The sightseeing ship was named after Ii Naomasa, a samurai lord from the Sengoku period, also known as the Warring States period in Japanese history. Naomasa was one of the “Four Great Generals of Tokugawa” and he was recognized for his decisive victory in the Battle of Sekigahara. Known as the “Red Devils,” he and his warriors were clad in a blood-red armor when in battle. Ii Naomasa was the first lord of the Hikone Domain.

    The bow and majority of Sightseeing Ship Naomasa are painted in a crimson red color to represent the Ii clan warriors’ armor. On the bridge, we can find the crest of the Ii clan – the Hikone Tachibana. The hull or bottom part of the ship is painted in a solid black. The rear part of the hull bears the kanji and romanized name of Naomasa.

    There are also two kinds of seats to choose from: the open-air seats on the upper deck behind the bridge, and the seats on the lower deck where you can enjoy panoramic views.

    Sightseeing Ship Naomasa’s Routes

    Currently, Sightseeing Ship Naomasa has three different routes:

    1. Chikubu Island Route

    There are two trips per day that goes directly to Chikubu Island. The first trip leaves Hikone Port at 9:30 am. The cruise takes about 40 minutes to get to and from the island. The ship leaves the island at 11:20 am and returns to Hikone Port by 12:00 noon. The second trip leaves Hikone Port at 12:30 pm and arrives in Chikubu Island at 1:10 pm. Sightseeing Ship Naomasa once again leaves the island by 2:20 pm and returns to Hikone Port by 3:00 pm.

    For both trips, visitors are given 70 minutes to explore Chikubu Island. The round trip fare is 3,000 yen for adults, 2,400 yen for students, and 1,500 yen for children.

    Hikone Port Access
    Chikubu Island Access

    2. Makino Route

    There are three options if you are taking Naomasa’s Makino Route. The first option is a one-way trip that starts from Hikone Port, goes to Chikubu Island, and ends at Makino Port. The second option is also a one-way trip that begins at Makino Port, goes to Chikubu Island, and ends at Hikone Port. The boarding fare for these two one-way trips is 2,600 yen for adults, 2,080 yen for students, and 1,300 yen for children.

    The third and last option is a round trip that leaves from and returns to Makino Port. The round-trip fare is 2,200 yen for adults, 1,760 yen for students, and 1,100 yen for children. There is only one scheduled trip per day for the Makino Route.

    Hikone Port Access
    Chikubu Island Access
    Makino Port Access

    3. Takei Island Route

    Unlike the previous two routes that go to Chikubu Island, this route goes to Takei Island. The Takei Island Route has two trips per day but only one of them lands. The landing trip allows visitors to have 30 minutes of sojourn time. For the Takei Island Route landing trip, the round-trip fare is 1,500 yen for adults, 1,200 yen for students, and 750 yen for children.

    Takei Island Access

    Sightseeing Ship Naomasa will have its regular operations until December 3, 2017. Take this chance to ride this cruise ship and explore Lake Biwa!

    Sightseeing Ship Naomasa Website *Japanese only