Even more famous in Shiga Prefecture than Tobita is Lake Biwa. From spring through autumn, it’s popular for cyclists to make “Biwa-ichi,” a complete circle of the lake that covers about 200 kilometers. This has become easier in recent years thanks to dedicated cycling trails and road signs.
A cyclist in peak condition can make the entire trip in a single day, but most riders spread it out over two, or even three days. In such case, while some spend the night in local hotels, others sleep under the stars in tents. Lake Biwa also features a bridge at its center, which segments the lake into the northern and southern parts. Some “Biwa-ichi” cyclists prefer to cross the bridge, limiting their rides only to the northern half of the lake, a journey of 160 kilometers. The reason is that the southern half is more urbanized and there are fewer roads suitable for cycling.