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Lake Biwa Canal Cruise

Lake Biwa Canal Cruise

What is the Lake Biwa Canal

The Lake Biwa Canal is a man-made waterway channelling the abundant water of Lake Biwa to Kyoto. The canal is Kyoto’s essential urban infrastructure which has been in active use for various purposes including water turbine power, transportation, irrigation, fire prevention, hydroelectric power and waterworks.
 
In 1881, when Kunimichi Kitagaki became the third governor of Kyoto Prefecture, he launched a project to create new factories by water turbine power and activate resource transportation using boats, by building a canal connecting to Lake Biwa.
The construction, which came with a cost that doubled the annual budget of the prefecture at the time and mobilized over 4 million workers, completed in 1890.
 
At a time when the design and supervision of major civil engineering work were normally conducted by foreign engineers, the Lake Biwa Canal project became the first to be entirely done, from drawing plans to managing construction, by the hands of Japanese engineers.
 
In 1996, 12 of Lake Biwa Canal’s facilities were designated as National Historic Sites, and in 2007, the Lake Biwa Canal, Lake Biwa Canal Museum, Suirokaku Aqueduct, Keage Incline, Keage Filtration Plant and Keage Power Plant were designted as Heritage of Industrial Modernization sites by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

The Lake Biwa Canal Cruise

Also, the boat transportation, which had been halted since 1951 due to the development of land transportation and the impact of war, has resumed for the first time in 70 years in 2018 as a sightseeing cruise service. The Lake Biwa Canal Cruise, which allows first-hand experience of the canal’s legacy, operates on the First Canal between Otsu and Keage. The cruise boats are currently operating in spring and autumn, with 3 docks to choose from to get on and off, Keage (5-min walk from Subway Keage Station), Yamashina (10-min walk from Keihan Shinomiya Station) and Otsu (4-min walk from Keihan Miidera Station).
 
This newly introduced activity has gained popularity as a unique way to enjoy the architectural heritage of Kyoto’s modern development along with the view of spring cherry blossoms or the autumn leaves from the boat.

 

The Lake Biwa Canal Story
https://biwakososui.city.kyoto.lg.jp/en/story/

The Lake Biwa Canal Cruise
https://biwakososui.kyoto.travel/en/