Biwako (Lake Biwa)

Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, has a total surface area of 670 square kilometers and a circumference of 235 kilometers. It is one of the oldest lakes in the world, and is well known for its varied ecosystem. As well as the lake's incredible beauty, you can also enjoy a range of appealing activities, including watersports, pleasure cruises, visiting the history and culture that have sprung up alongside the lake, and dining on fish from its waters.

Biwako Cruise

You can take a pleasure cruise across Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. The point of departure is Otsu Port. The large pleasure boat, called the Michigan, allows you to spend 60 to 80 minutes sailing the southern part of Lake Biwa, with a fourth floor sky deck providing a 360-degree panorama. There are also limited-period night cruises, and one day complete tours which include Chikubushima Island and the other two islands floating in the lake.


Omi Jingu Shrine

A shrine dedicated to Emperor Tenji (626-672), the ruler who forged the foundations of the ancient Japanese state. The emperor himself was laid to rest close to the city (Otsukyo) that he founded here. The shrine is also famous for its role in the Japanese card game karuta, with the tournament to determine the best in Japan played here every New Year. The shrine itself is built on a slope at the foot of the mountains, and is a nationally registered cultural asset as a famous example of modern shrine construction. Inside the grounds you can rent a kimono and explore the 200,000 square meter grounds while dressed in it.

Visitation Times 6:00 - 18:00 (sale of charms, seals, etc. 9:00 - 16:30)

Onjo-ji Temple (Mii-dera Temple)

The head temple of the Tendaijimon Buddhist sect, an offshoot off from the Tendai sect that first began on Mt. Hiei. With a history of more than 1200 years, the full name of this temple is Nagarayama Onjo-ji. Its expansive grounds include the Kondo hall, which is a natural treasure, and then many other buildings and Buddhist statues that are designated as national cultural assets. The temple bell has long been counted as one of the eight famous sights of Omi, and is known for its beautiful peal. The temple is also a famous spot for cherry blossom, with 1000 trees blooming in spring time.

Visitation Times 8:00 - 17:00
Charges Adult 600 yen

Ishiyamadera Temple

An eighth century temple located on the south side of Lake Biwa. In English its name is rendered as “Stone Mountain Temple,” deriving from the fact that the main temple is built from a massive block of holy wollastonite. It is famous as a temple of flowers, with not only cherry blossom and the crimson leaves of fall but also irises, lilies, and other flowers blooming across its gardens throughout the year. This temple is also known as the place where Murasaki Shikibu started writing the oldest novel in the world, The Tale of Genji.

Visitation Times 8:00 - 16:30 (reception until 16:00)
Charges Adult 600 yen