Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Otsu
Population
1,342,811

Omi-Maiko Beach

A beautiful beach on the shores of Japan's most famous lake.

Omi-Maiko, a scenic and pristine beach on Lake Biwa, provides an ideal escape from the city’s hot and sticky summers. Only an hour from Osaka and 30 minutes from Kyoto by train but remote enough to feel far from the urban grind, it’s the perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, and beach barbecues.

Sandwiched between Kyoto and Shiga prefectures (but belonging to the latter), Lake Biwa, or Biwa-ko, is quite literally huge. At 258.8 square miles, it’s the largest freshwater lake in Japan. It’s also one of the world’s 20 oldest lakes– still going strong at almost 4 million years old.

Omi-Maiko is Lake Biwa’s most accessible and popular beach. It’s comprised of a long stretch of sand and pebble-covered beach tucked beside a grove of fir trees. The Hira Mountains tower above from one side, while the lake stretches into the distance on the other.

Lake Biwa Omi Maiko Beach

Not only does Biwa-ko offer great beaches for urban escapes, but it provides about 15 million people in Kansai with drinking water.

The further you walk down the beach, the less crowded it gets, but even on a busy weekend the water is surprisingly clean and the beach serene. There are barbecue pits scattered along the sand which you can use for free (bring your own charcoal and fuel) and a few mom-and-pop shops that sell beer, ice cream, and other summer treats. The stores sell a limited amount of (somewhat overpriced) Japanese food so if you want to picnic, bring your own food as the nearest 7-11 is a 35-minute walk away.

There’re also a few stores selling inflatable water toys and you can get your own inner tube inflated for 100 yen. Multiple free public restrooms mean you don’t have to get all Bear Grylls in the woods too.

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Things To Know

Tip

Omi-Maiko can get crowded on public holidays and weekends, so go during the week for the best experience – the beach will be yours to enjoy in peace.

How To Get There

Address

Japan, 〒520-0502 Shiga-ken, Ōtsu-shi, Minamikomatsu, 県道307号線

By train

JR express trains leave from Osaka Station every hour (¥1450), running along the Tokaido-Sanyo Line going towards Tsuruga (via the Kosei Line). There are 8 stops and no transfers. Get off at Omi-Maiko Station. Make sure to look up what time your return train will depart as they are infrequent. If you miss the express train, take any train to Kyoto Station and transfer to the Kosei Line.

It’s a 10-minute walk from the station to the beach. After leaving the ticket gate at Omi-Maiko, make a left. You’ll see a small pedestrian walkway; walk down it. When you get to the larger street, take another left and continue until you reach the beach.

Where To Stay

Biwa Lake Otsuka
  • Minamikomatsu 1054-3 Otsu-Shi, Shiga 520-0502
  • 0.1 km
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J-Hoppers Lake Biwa Guesthouse
  • Kitahira 931-1 Otsu-Shi, Shiga 520-0503
  • 8.7/10
  • 1.1 km
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Alvilla Omimaiko
  • Kitahira 985-9 Otsu-Shi, Shiga 520-0503
  • 9.3/10
  • 1.6 km
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Biwako, Hira Hotel
  • Otsu Kitahira 965 villageviewhira Otsu-Shi, Shiga 520-0503
  • 8.9/10
  • 2.1 km
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