Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Biwako Hakodateyama – The Best Place to Adore Lake Biwa

Biwako Hakodateyama (びわこ箱館山) has long been a popular ski resort in Shiga Prefecture. But more recently, it has come to be known as one of the biggest resort parks in the Kansai region. The scenery up in the mountain will definitely woo you that you will want to keep going back!

Taking the gondola lift and arriving at the observation area 630 meters above ground level, a vast flower field with various flowers planted will unfold in front of you. Depending on the season you visit the resort, the color of the carpet formed by gorgeous flowers differs (*´ω`).

From mid-July to October, millions of petunia flowers will cover one side of the hill. Other plants, such as begonia and sunflowers, might also bloom during your visit.

The other type of plant that will catch your attention is around 2,000 plants of Kokia. The doom-shape fluffy-looking grass plant is like an enlarged version of round green algae. From mid-September to October, these green fur balls will turn red!

Ⓒ びわ湖高島観光協会
Ⓒ びわ湖高島観光協会

The Hill to Adorn Lake Biwa (びわ湖のみえる丘)

As the resort re-opened after a major renewal in mid-2020, several observatory terraces were added. A couple of observatory terraces were added when the resort re-opened after a major renovation in mid-2020. One of them, located on a hillside, is called Biwako no Mieru Oka (the hill where you can see Lake Biwa).

Nearby the observation deck, you can undoubtedly get some great photos in the corridor full of colorful wind chimes. On top of that, on a windy day, the sound of chimes will give you an experience that can probably only be found in Japan!


Then next to the wind chimes corridor, hanging on the clothes drying racks are some fabric called Takashima Chijimi (高島ちぢみ). Since the Edo period (1603 – 1867), it has been a local specialty with excellent hygroscopicity and provides refreshing comfort. Although it seems somewhat random, we reckon it is an excellent way to promote the local textile industry.

Hygroscopicity is the ability to absorb water microscopically.


Parfait Specialty Store LAMP (パフェ専門店 LAMP)

For desserts, head to the Parfait Specialty Store LAMP!

Not only is the entire cafe lit up by numerous lights creating a fantastic atmosphere, but the parfait in front of you is also lit up!

We bet you have never thought of combining a lamp with parfait! Before taking the parfait off the lamp, don’t forget to snap a photo of this unusual parfait container to show off to your friends (^_-)-☆.

If you don’t like your parfait to be filled with fruits, other flavors such as matcha or cheesecake, are also available!

  • Parfait Speciality Store Lamp is open from 10 am to 5 pm.
    • The last order is taken at 4 pm.
  • When the nighttime gondola lift operates, it closes 15 minutes before the last return gondola service. The last order is taken at:
    • 6:45 pm in autumn
    • 7 pm on the full-moon night
    • 7:30 pm otherwise

The Biwako Swing and the Zip Line and Obsticle Courses

By taking another lift to get to the 3rd terrace, you will find a set of giant swings standing next to the deck. It is the attraction that will make adults excited, like a 6-year-old.

At an elevation of 674 meters, the higher you swing up, the more thrill you will get. It will almost feel like you will be thrown into the spectacular Lake Biwa in front of you!

Nighttime at Biwako Hakodateyama

While the resort is generally closed at nighttime, when the moon becomes nice and round in the nighttime sky, the gondola lifts will bring you up to Hakodateyama to adore the fantastic scenery of the full moon with Lake Biwa.

Although you probably won’t see many stars in the sky, the lighting of the townships surrounding Lake Biwa will make it up for you (^_-)-☆. The parfait cafe LAMP will also serve a special parfait portraiting the nighttime sky you just see outside!

For more information, please refer to the official website HERE and change the language setting at the top.

Skiing at Biwako Hakodateyama

Ⓒ びわこビジターズビューロー

From late December to mid-March next year is the skiing season in Hakodateyama.

It is one of the most popular ski resorts in Shiga Prefecture. After all, where else can you enjoy the scenery of Lake Biwa as you slide down snow-covered hills?

With a total of 13 courses of various difficulties, you can certainly have fun here regardless of your experience level.

For more information, including the equipment rental cost, please refer to the official website HERE and change the language setting at the top.

Biwako Hakodateyama’s Opening Hours, Lift Fare, and Access Information

  • The resort isn’t open every single day. Please refer to the official website HERE for the opening calendar and the cost of using the lifts.
  • From JR Ōmi Imazu Station (近江今津), take the community bus and get off at Hakodateyama (箱館山). From the bus stop, take the gondola lift to head up the mountain.
    • Please be aware the number of services is limited. Search for the timetable HERE to plan your visit in advance.
    • Or, you can refer to the second PDF HERE for the Japanese timetable, which lists all services. Please only refer to the left timetable on page 1. The service marked in blue is only operating on weekdays.

Explore Other Alluring Attractions in Takashima City

Click the photo to find out more about this fabulous attraction!

Takashima City, northwest of Shiga Prefecture, is a trove of photogenic spots. There is a torii gate standing in the ocean-like Lake Biwa, a 4 km long cherry blossom road, a garden full of different flowers covering a part of a mountain, and a lot more!

To find out more attractions close to Biwako Hakodateyama, please refer to our article on Takashima City (=゚ω゚)ノ.

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