Around Kyoto: Lake Biwa Cycling / Museum [Trip Day 4] 琵琶湖サイクリング・博物館

  Trip itinerary and map

Last day of the trip we had a break from temples and shrines. We continued the cycling theme and went for a slightly longer ride near Lake Biwa (琵琶湖), the largest lake in Japan.

The itinerary was pretty relaxed for the day. We enjoyed the hotel breakfast fully – the “yuba”, made from soy milk (tofu / beancurd dishes are a Kyoto speciality), was particularly good – and then, popped over to Uji again (the place we visited on the first day) for another serving of the excellent green tea ice-cream and some more tea products shopping.

The distance around Biwako is about 200 km, dedicated cycle path is available for a fair part of it and it’s commonly taken on by cyclists as a 2 or 3 day trip. We may eventually get to do that, but this time we’d just be having a taster of a 20 km ride, starting from the Kusatsu Station (草津駅), with Biwako Museum, as our goal (or the half way goal as it’s a return trip).

Kusatsu City is in the Shiga Prefecture next to Kyoto, and is accessible by frequent rapid train in 20 minutes. Rental cycles are available for rent near the station. These are “granny bikes” of course so don’t expect to do the 200 km route round the lake – our level of ambition was about right.

Lake Biwa Museum (琵琶湖博物館)

There were various exhibits but the main thing for me was the aquarium. It’s a small one with mainly freshwater displays on aquatic life of Biwako, so don’t expect fancy coral fishes there. But the display designs were quite good.

After enjoying a nice sunset, we continued pedalling back to Kusatsu station. Failing to find some interesting local restaruant for dinner, we went back to Kyoto where there were plenty of, though standard, choices in the station. And finally, returned to Tokyo by Shinkansen.