2019 Biwaichi

Introduction: Not everything is big in Japan but there are places cyclists should visit. Japan's largest freshwater lake, Biwako, can be circled around, about 190km in distance.

To Nagahama

Woke up at 3:30am, the outside was still dark, not even a slight sunlight in the sky. I stretched my body, had breakfast and took a shower before finish packing.

Nobody is around Kachigawa station

I left my apartment at 4:30am and getting on Loop 2 from Kachigawa IC and drove toward Ichinomiya, There are not much traffic on the road so I was moving smoothly. Reaching at Ichinomiya Toll to switch to Meishin Expressway at 4:53am. The outside was getting brighter now and because there were not many trucks running today, the drive was very smooth and I was driving toward west while seeing Shinkansen Line are being maintained prior to their operation hours. I reached Maibara JCT in no time and switched to Hokuriku Express way to Nagahama. While heading up north, I can see the Mt. Ibuki to my right in different angle. Getting off from the tollway, and I drove on the quiet local road to Hou Park. I saw some old looking building on the way but I was in hurry to get to the parking. When I arrive, I checked the price at the gate which is \1,000 a day which I felt expensive but I did not have other choice this morning. I parked my car among very a few other cars already there and unloaded my gear to get ready for the ride. There is a van with two people unloading their bikes, I think they are going for the same ride today.

Biwaichi First Half

From Nagahama to Kohoku Area

Left the parking and headed out to join Sazanami Kaido. I started to moving up north to make the loop counter clockwise. It was a calm morning and there were not many cars running either.

After coming to the intersection with Route 303, I made left turn toward Shizugatake, the tunnel was under construction but was open of pedestrians and cyclists. I went up the hill toward the tunnel and slowly proceeded in somewhat dark inside. A down hill part started from there and it was thrilling until the merging point


Just after the merging, I made left on the road and there was a resting area where people fishing. It was such a calming moment.


From Kohoku Area to Takashima

After a short stop, I resumed my ride. The path showing lead me to ride in a populated area for a while and joined on Route 303 and finally returned to a road by the lake.

From here to Makino area, I was riding along the lake with many short tunnels and resort hotels. The view to right opened up and I can see the rice field and nearby mountains.


Made a first stop at 9:38am at Takashima to buy some more water since the outside was getting hot.

From Takashima to Otsu

Winding road under tree shade continued but as the place get populated, it was getting harder to enjoy such condition but more like travelling on a wider road with some traffic.


I stopped at a place La Sante for lunch. at 11:00am. They had a patio with warning sign to watch for the birds.

Lunch at patio of a restaurant

Biwaichi Second Half

After lunch, I need to do the other half.

From Otsu to Kusatsu

When I left the cafe, it was already hot, I moved along a road, decided not to take any shortcut so I am not taking Biwako Ohashi bridge.

From here on, the road has major traffic while looking at Hiei Mountains to my right. I might visit there in later times. Stopping at 12:08pm near Karasaki for more water. The temperature must be rising to the level near the body temperature.

I continue to ride on more populated road and I needed to watch out. Finally I arrived at port of Otsu, near the southern most location of the lake. I took some pictures and watched the sceneries.

12:32 at Otsu

If I am going a full course, I have to take further south to Setakara Bridge but decided to take Ohmi Bridge for a short cut.

12:46 Crossing Ohmi Ohashi

After crossing the Oumi Ohashi Bridge, I began heading up north by making left by shopping mall area. It was less populated area while keep looking at the lake to left.

After arriving at Moriyama city, I made another water stop at 13:52 for two more bottles of water and a sports drink by the Biwako Ohashi Bridge. There is a guy who was counting how many cyclists today. I chatted with him, and found that the number is about half the people.

I drink a bottle of coke while I rest and slowly departed to find the cyclist's sanctuary located in front of Marriot Hotel.

Visiting Biwako Cyclist's Sanctuary 14:08

From Kusatsu to Nagahama

I resumed by ride, and by now, my body is tired and the heat is taking toll on my body. Slowly passing Omi Hachiman and the road is now routed away from the lakeside for a while. I stopped at a store, at 15:10 and bought 2 more sports drink, and a 2L bottle of water, with energy gel. I saw a couple of cyclist coming and they look exhausted too. I kept going but soon reached limit. So I got off, and soaked my body with the water I bought. I started to think for how many stops I have to make before coming back to Nagahama. I made anther stop at 16:49 in Hikone, (front of Shiga University?). This time I decided to stay inside the store to cool my body, drink a bottle of sports drink and had a cake for getting some sugar. From here the road is flat and the peak of the heat is off by now.

I am almost done so I continued my path. In this area, the path is clearly marked so it was easy to travel.


Finally got back to the parking where I parked my car. The sun was getting lower and music was played over PA system at 6:00pm, it was one of old children's song. The temperature was somewhat coming down and breezy. I used the water I bought to refresh myself by soaking a hand towel to wipe my body which is covered in sweat. I have to do this again when the outside is cooler. Putting my bike in the car, and get changed. Now I am ready to go home. I started my car and headed out.

Time to go home...

Back to Kachigawa

Leaving the park, I was looking for a place to eat before head back but I could not find a place I wanted to dine, so I just got on the Hokuriku Expressway at 18:44 from Nagahama IC. The drive was smooth until getting closer to Maibara JCT. It was jammed from Nagahama tunnel and kept going slow. Some motorcycles passing between the cars which is not safe but no one stops them.

The traffic is getting slow as I move towards Maibara JCT.

When I got on Meishin expressway, the road was smooth again. From here to Nagoya, the road has slight up/downs and some winding. I was feeling hungry so I kept thinking whether I should stop at rest area with restaurants. Until I passes Gifu Hashima, the traffic was jammed again and It was not until past 20:00 when I was able to reach Ichinomiya. It was about 10 minutes drive on Loop 2 to Kachigawa IC where I got off. I drove to Katsuya, for dinner. I got fried pork cutlet on double. I finished it in 10 minutes and after leaving there, I come home and unloaded my belongings.

20:28, Fried Pork Cutlets on double

I took a quick shower and headed to bed, woke up around midnight because I was thirsty, get more water, and went to sleep again.


Cost: \8,500

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