Biwa-ko / Lake Biwa
Biwa-ko / Lake BiwaLake Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan, locate, northeast of the former capital city of Kyoto. Because of its proximity to the ancient capital, references to Lake Biwa appear frequently in Japanese literature, particularly in poetry and in historical accounts of battles, and the lake also prominently features in Utagawa Hiroshige’s ukiyo-e series: “Eight views of Ōmi.”
The area covers about 670 km² and serves as a reservoir for the cities of Kyoto and Ōtsu, also being a valuable resource for nearby textile industries. The lake provides drinking water for about 15 million people in the Kansai region and is a breeding ground for freshwater fish, including trout, and for the pearl culture industry.
Lake Biwa is one of the world’s twenty oldest lakes, dating back almost 4 million years ago. This long uninterrupted time span has allowed for a notably diverse ecosystem to evolve in the lake. Naturalists have documented about 1100 species, including 58 endemic species, and the lake is also an important place for water birds. About 5,000 water birds annually visit the lake.
- Designation division：Class A river
- Place：5 Hamaōtsu, Ōtsu city