Lake Biwa is so centrally located that you have many options for further travel. One, the side trip to nearby Lake Yogo, is covered in the Story section. Here are a few more:

- Visit Mt. Hiei (848m elevation) on the southwestern shore of the lake. You can do this the easy way or the hard way: take the cable car which leaves from a point near Hiei-san Station all the way to the top, or cycle up the toll road. This may not be an option; my cycling map seems to indicate that it is verboten and I'm still trying to confirm. If possible, the best-of-both-worlds, for those that aren't up to the challenge or are too tired from the trip around the lake, would be to cable-car up and ride down. Mt. Hiei has a temple, Enryakuji, that was founded more than twelve hundred years ago, with warrior monks that kept Kyoto in a perpetual state of fear for centuries. Speaking of which...

- You could cycle to Kyoto. On the most direct route, you will have to climb over the ridge, but it's not far at all. Take route 30, one road south of the one that leads to the Mt. Hiei cable car station. The road leads into Kyoto and almost direct to the Imperial Palace. Another, longer route would be better, though; it goes south to Uji along the Uji River, then up to Kyoto, and is called the Uji "Line" (or Rhine?). This is a great way to get from the lake to the city.

- From the east shore, Moriyama or Omi-Hachiman, cycle about 30-40km southeast to Shigaraki, the famous pottery village. You'll see more ceramic tanuki badgers (shown in this picture) than you've ever seen in your life. Note: Shigaraki traditionally records the lowest temperatures in the Kansai region, so dress warmly if it's not the height of summer.

Or you could even....

  1. -...visit the Japan Sea! From the top of Lake Biwa, you are only a couple dozen kilometers or so from Tsuruga and other points on the Japan Sea. Either go up route 367, one ridge over from the western side of the lake, or go up from the top of the lake, either via route 365 on the right side of Biwa, just east of Lake Yogo, turning left onto route 140 right around where the Hokuriku Expressway crosses the road (this is perhaps the best of all of these options), or via route 161 directly from the top of the lake - either road will take you directly into Tsuruga. If you choose to attack from the west side of the lake, do NOT take the horrendously busy highway 8 all the way - it's bad enough that you have to transfer to this road to get the rest of the way into Tsuruga. When you reach the Japan Sea, you can either go east up the Echizen coast (covered in the Echizen section) or west toward Obama, Mikata-goko (the 5 lakes of Mikata) and the beaches at Wakasa (shown in this photo).
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