The eastern shores of Lake Biwa from Koka to Nagahama are a wonderful travel destination. Traveling, by rail, by car, or even by bicycle, the journey through these plains is one full of historical landmarks, scenic views, and power spots among other things. It is also a chance to encounter the wildlife that abounds in and around the vast waters of Japan’s largest lake.
An ideal starting point to explore this area, is Hikone City. Choosing Hikone as a base will leave you within a 1-hour train ride to several of the main attractions on this side of Lake
Biwa: Nagahama and its Hikiyama Festival, Lake Sainoko in Azuchi, and Omihachiman’s
Hachiman Bori Canal to name a few. It is also close enough to the iconic Miho Museum in Koka, making a day trip there an attainable feat. Hikone is accessible by train from Kyoto Station via the Tokaido-Sanyo Line.
Once in Hikone, travelers may choose from a few options to move around the city, and beyond the city limits to explore the neighbouring towns. Walking is the best way to move around Hikone City as most of the main attractions, including its castle are within a manageable distance on foot. Another option is to rent a bicycle. Megurinko, a bike rental company is located a block away from Hikone Station. You can rent city bikes and road bikes for 600 yen/day and 800 yen/day respectively. For those on a tight traveling schedule, taxis are also available outside Hikone Station.
To travel outside Hikone you have several alternatives. If driving, take Route 25 from Hikone to Omihachiman, or Route 2 from Hikone to Nagahama. These two local roads will take you very close to the shores of Lake Biwa. You can enjoy the lakeviews as you drive, or stop along the way to take in the alluring nature. If you decide to pedal the journey, the above routes are the most commonly used by cyclists. For those who only wish to bike
certain portions, Omi Railway, runs the “Cycle Train” between Maibara and Omihachiman.
For an additional fee on top of the ticket price, this service allows cyclist to hop on and off the train with their wheels, making a bicycle trip around the area much more doable. Keep in mind though that the system does allow you to board with your bike at Hikone Station. You will have to leave and comeback to Hikone riding. For those who prefer the convenience of railway transportation, The Tokaido-Sanyo Line services all the major cities from Omihachiman to Nagahama.