Summer Fun at Lake Biwa

It’s summer, the heat has risen to sweltering degrees and in traditional fashion, everyone races to the nearest body of water to cool off. While some might run to regular beaches and rivers, others take a trip to the largest known freshwater lake in Japan, Lake Biwa. Named after the Japanese musical instrument the Biwa because of its shape, the 259 square miles' body of water located in the Shiga prefecture is the home of many freshwater fish and supports the pearl industry. But what visitors soon discover is that on the western side of the lake there is a strip of land that meets all the requirements of a natural beach.

This stretch of shore is called Omi-Maiko Beach and natives flock there every summer to experience its crystal-clear waters, easy waves and soft sand. Persons choose this shore to have a day trip because it’s the perfect place for picnics and fun water adventures.  With the provision of free barbecue pits, you can bring your own charcoal and fuel, then get right to grilling the day's meal. If firing up the pit is not something you fancy, why not take advantage of the different restaurants lining the beach?

One of the more well-known eating spots at Omi-Maiko beach is the R café. This Hawaiian themed restaurant caters to every member of your family, including your dog. (Yes, I said your dog). The pet-friendly place allows you to bring your fur babies along with you to enjoy a delicious meal just a few steps from the beach. The café offers seating both indoors and outdoors; they have an extensive menu, and the helpful staff will make this visit memorable. Note, the restaurant is popular, so be sure to get there early as the waitlist can be long. 

After lunch, if you're looking to work out some calories and do something a little more adventurous, you can always rent a jet-ski. Next to the R café there is a small shop with jet skis available at reasonable prices. For a short time, you can hop onto one of these powerful machines and take it out into the open waters of the lake. With the throttle in your hands and the smooth glide across the water, it’s an entertaining thrill for any adventure seeker at the beach. 

However, if you prefer to relax in the shade, you have the option of setting up under umbrellaed tables and grabbing a sweet treat from one of the mom and pop shops. These small stores provide a variety of shaved ice, ice cream, and beers that beach lovers appreciate after a long swim when they just want to beat the heat.

So if you’re looking for a fun day getaway with friends, family or even your pet, Omi-Maiko Beach is definitely the place to go.

Come on! Take that thirty-minute train ride from Kyoto or sixty minutes from Osaka and head there for some much-needed adventure and relaxation. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

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