Formed about 4 million years ago, Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan, with an area of approximately 670km². Many species of fish live there and a wide variety of migratory birds come flying to the lake. Tourists come to swim and practice water sports, such as yachting and SUP. Many Shinto shrines, a religion specific to Japan, adorn the islands and shores of the lake.
Our peaceful town of Takashima, comprising many villages and hamlets, is located in the northwestern part of Lake Biwa. Surrounded by forests, mountains and crossed by numerous rivers, it provides about a third of the lake's water.
Since ancient times, Takashima has supported the lives of people in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, in various industries: rice, sake and the textile industry known as chijimi. Moreover, more than 90% of the bamboo frames of Japanese folding fans, sensu, are made in Takashima.
In Harie, people live by using water from natural springs which pass through the houses. As for Kaizu, the houses bordering the lake are magnificent. Founded 2000 years ago, the Shirahige Shrine has a red torii similar to that of Miyajima Island, in Hiroshima. The Hata district presents magnificent rural landscapes (hamlets and rice terraces). Finally, the holy Chikubu island and its shrine are located in the middle of the lake. The ideal opportunity for a short cruise on Lake Biwa.
The less athletic travelers can stroll on the avenue lined with Metasequoia trees. Trekking enthusiasts can climb Mount Akasaka (alt. 824m), in Makino, to enjoy a magnificent view of Lake Biwa and, if the weather allow you, view over the Sea of Japan side as well. Moreover, Takashima is also known as a holy land for cycling fans because of its refreshing courses around the lake.
Our town may not be a must-see for foreign tourists. However, its proximity to Kyoto (less than an hour by train) will allow you to come and enjoy the tranquility and the authentic character of the Japanese countryside.
Takashima is also renowned for its specialties: Omi beef (same category as that of Kobe), fish and funazushi, vegetables and fruits (in particular figs and blackberries known as Ado-berry), rice, cakes, etc. We are waiting for you for a tasting.
Come to Takashima to discover the rural face of Japan, largely unknown to foreign tourists. And enjoy the lush and sublime nature in all seasons.