(c) Biwako Visitors BureauHama Otsu is a town facing Lake Biwa, the lake with the largest surface area and water volume in Japan, located next to Kyoto. The town is in the central area of historical Otsu City. It is an old capital of Otsunomiya, founded by Emperor Tenji as a result of the capital's relocation in 667. The town prospered as a base for water transportation in Lake Biwa, and also as an important post station on the Tokaido road. You can see a variety of historic and cultural heritage here, including Enryakuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is also referred to as the mother of Buddhism in Japan, and Onjo-ji Temple (Mii-dera), known for the "Evening Bell at Mii," which is one of the Eight Views of Omi.
The town today is crowded throughout the year, as a gateway to the sightseeing tour in Lake Biwa, and also as the mecca of water sports, such as sailing and wind surfing.
Keihan Electric Railway connecting Hama-Otsu and Kyoto is also one of the features of Otsu. It is a tram running parallel to roads, and is indispensable for sightseeing in Otsu. Another spot that you definitely will not want to miss when visiting Hama-Otsu is Lake Biwa Flower Fountain. It is one of the largest fountains in the world, 440 m long and 40 m high (about the height of a ten-story building). The fountain shows a different appearance in daytime and at night, which would surely remain in your memory of Otsu.
Address: Hamaotsu, Otsu City, Shiga
Phone: 077-528-2772 (Biwako Otsu Tourist Association)
Directions: Train: Hama-Otsu Station, which is on the Keihin Line (approximately 50 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station on the JE Tokaido Main Line)
Car : 10 minutes from Otsu Interchange on the Meishin Expressway