Q & A

About Route
I’ll check Google Maps and go along the lakeside, then I can cycle a lap around the lake, right?

Yes, you can. But Google Maps may not show the routes that you can avoid the busy road. We show you the map with detailed information at the shop. Also a cycling app “BIWAICHI Cycling Navi” is useful.
Download here:
iOS https://itunes.apple.com/app/apple-store/id1361478359
Android OS https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.navitime.local.cycle.shiga

How long is the distance around Lake Biwa?

Approximately 150-200km.
Lake Biwa consists of two sections: North Lake and South Lake. Dividing them is the Biwako Ohashi Bridge. Traveling around North Lake is about 150 km, and going around the whole Lake Biwa is closer to 200 km, both of which are called as “Biwaichi”.

Which direction is better, clockwise or counter-clockwise?

We recommend you to go counter-clockwise. This will allow you to ride closer to Lake Biwa, and reduce the amount of traffic that you encounter.

Are there any slopes and steep areas on the route?

Barely. Most of the route is flat. The only incline will be encountered at the northern tip of Lake Biwa.

We don’t wish to go around Lake Biwa. We only have time for a day trip. How far can we go?

Nagahama(10km from Maibara/one way)or Kinomoto(30km/one way) to the north, and Hikone(8km/one way)or Omihachiman(30km/one way) to the south, where it may be possible to go and back by the return time. But it depends on the situation and opportunity. That is, you could go and back to Nagahama or Hikone after sightseeing there, but you may not have time for sightseeing in case of Omihachiman, just go and back.

About cycling BIWAICHI
Can I go around Lake Biwa by bike in a day?

It’s possible, but we don’t recommend it!
For beginners, the average speed might be 10km/h considering time needed for eating and breaking every hour. It would take 15 hours for going around Northern Lake Biwa(150km), 20 hours for Northern and Southern Lake Biwa (200 km). At least 1 night and 2 days are needed.

Where do you recommend to start?

We recommend you to start from Maibara. Starting from Maibara allows you to get the steepest part of the route out of the way early. The most difficult point is approximately 30km from Maibara. From there, it’s smooth sailing!

Where should I stay at night when I start from Maibara?

We recommend you to stay in Takashima City located on the opposite side of Lake Biwa. If you reach and stay in Omi Takashima on the first day, which are approximately 80km from Maibara, the next day should be more leisurely.

I would like more hotel booking information.

Please refer to the website published by Wanokuni Biwako Promotion Council. There you will find beneficial information regarding Biwaichi cycling as well as cycle-friendly hotels. https://www.biwako1.jp/
Grand Park Hotel Okubiwako Makino and Hotel Biwako Lake Otsuka are both popular with our customers and recommended also as the bicycle return locations.

Which seasons are recommended?

We recommend Spring and Autumn. The weather during these seasons is much more comfortable for cycling. Cyclists can also enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms in Spring, and the colorful fall leaves in Autumn. These seasons provide the perfect setting for Biwaichi!
In summer, the risk for high temperatures, heat stroke, dehydration, and sunburn would be much higher. In winter, it’s possible if the roads aren’t icy and snow doesn’t remain on the roads. It should be noted that our shop is closed from the middle of December to the middle of February.

Where is a “BIWAICHI Cycle Support Station”? How will they support me there?

There are many “BIWAICHI Cycle Support Station” in Shiga, mainly along lakeside. You can use a restroom there and can borrow a bicycle air pump, repair tools, etc. For more information → https://pluscycle.shiga.jp/biwaichisupport/map.html

What to bring for cycling BIWAICHI
Do I need a map or navigation?

You can follow the blue arrow on the road. The blue arrow is the mark shows the BIWAICHI route. Having a map is useful. It is best to plan your route in advance.

What items should I bring with me?

Gloves to add comfort and prevent any road rash from falling, and sunglasses to keep any small insects or dirt out of your eyes.

What provisions are needed?

We recommend you to bring beverages, as well as a first aid kit. Quality raingear and some spare food will also be helpful in an unexpected situation.

What clothing is recommended?

We recommend flexible clothing that uses elastic fabric to cycle with ease and comfort. Wearing layers of outerwear makes for easier temperature control.

I would also like to travel as light as possible.

Equipment for safety is indispensable, but food and beverages can be procured at convenience stores and road stations around Lake Biwa.

About Bike Rental
How far in advance can I make reservations?

We accept reservations up to 3 months in advance. We recommend those who want to rent a bike on weekends, national holidays, and consecutive holidays to make reservations early, as these times are quite busy. Reservations tend to fill up a month in advance.

Are helmets necessary?

We ask you to wear a helmet for your safety. We include helmets free of charge for those who rent our bikes. Please note that you cannot rent our bikes if you won’t wear a helmet.

What items can be rented?

Locks, lights, helmets are free to borrow. There are also saddle cushion covers, simple fenders, gloves, etc. Please refer to Options.

My hips tend to get sore from cycling. What can I do about that?

Bicycle wear with pads on the back are sold at most sports stores, and of course the internet. Additionally, we also offer saddle cushion covers as a rental option.

Rental Bike Information
Are there bikes available for children?

There are. The kid rider needs to be taller than 120 cm for cross bike, or taller than 135 cm for road bike. The number of kids bikes is limited.

What is the difference between road bikes and cross bikes?

Cross bikes are similar to city bikes which are made for town riding. Since road bikes are primarily designed for racing and high speed riding, the tires are more slender, and the rider’s posture is bent forward.

  • Road bike
    Road bike
  • Cross bike
    Cross bike
Cross bike or road bike, which one should I choose?

We recommend cross bikes for beginners and road bikes for those who have experience in sport cycling.

I have never ridden a road bike. Is it too difficult for me to ride a road bike?

You can ride a road bike, but if the posture is much lower than a cross/city bike. For first timers we recommend cross bikes!

My height is 160 cm. The only bikes left are for 165 cm. Can I ride them?

We can’t offer bikes which are bigger than your correct size for safety. We appreciate your understanding.

Can I bring my own bike gears to attach to the rental bike?

Please let us know in advance what kind of gears you would like to bring. Some of them can be acceptable to attach to our rental bike but some are not because they may cause some trouble to the bike. For instance, attaching a front bag to the handlebar is not allowed because there are sub brake levers (only for road bike)and brake cable on/around the handle bar.

Can I bring my own pedals to install on the rental bike?

Yes, you can. Just in case, please let us know in advance what kind of pedals you use. It’s possible to intall your pedals to our bike for the most part, but there might be exceptions. Also, we rent pedals but no shoes. Our option item

Information of Just In Case
Are your bikes insured? What happens if I’m injured on the way?

Our bikes are insured by Green TS mark incidental insurance. However, injuries requiring less than 15 days of hospitalization are not covered by insurance. Generally bicycle insurance has a wide range of coverage options, so we recommend getting your own bike insurance as well to fit your specific needs.

What should I do if I get a flat tire on my ride?

There are two solutions: repair it by yourself, or bring it to a bike shop. We also provide a Flat Tire Repair Agent “Quick Shot” & Spare Tube . If you need any help, please contact us. We will help you during our business hours.

Is it possible to borrow a repair kit?

For those who have the ability to repair their own bicycles, we lend repair kits. Please inquire at reception.

What should I do if there is a typhoon or thunderstorm?

Please revise your cycling plan in the event of a typhoon. In addition to typhoons, heavy rains, thunderstorms and other unexpected events may force us to suspend our services for safety reasons. In that case, no cancellation fee will be charged.

It’s going to be rainy on the day we book according to the weather forecast. What should we do?

In the event of rainy weather where a storm warning is not issued, a cancellation fee will be charged if your reservation isn’t cancelled by 5:00 PM at least two days in advance. It is your responsibility to check the weather forecast and plan your ride accordingly.