Exhilarating ride along the coast to Shirahige Shrine & farm to table lunch in a spectacularly beautiful rice terraces village.
On this tour, you will be visiting the Takashima area on the northwest side of Lake Biwa that offers exceptionally charming views of both the lake and mountains.
In the morning, you will enjoy cycling leisurely along the lakeside following a beach known for its white sand and green pine trees as well as visiting Shirahige shrine where the Shinto god of longevity is believed to reside.
After the refreshing cycle ride, you will be taken to the mountain village by taxi.
As with many of our tours, a full lunch is provided, but on this tour, lunch is a special experience in the private house of a farmer living in a small mountain village of spectacularly-beautiful tiered rice paddies, some of the few that are still planted and harvested without heavy machinery.
In this rare and exclusive experience, you will stand alongside the farmer's wife and assist (to the extent you like) as she prepares a multi-course lunch that is at the same time both simple and amazing.
Filled with locally-grown natural ingredients, this incredibly-healthy meal is the kind she has prepared every day.
During lulls in the preparation, step outside to enjoy the most commanding views of the picturesque rice terraces, taking your leisure to stroll among them. Those with an interest in photography will particularly enjoy the vantage points this access provides.
After slowly savoring each dish of the lunch you helped prepare, take a leisurely stroll down through the quaint country village, where life seems a bit slower and a bit more robust many miles from the nearest convenience store.
After a 40-minute scenic train ride from JR Kyoto station, you will arrive at JR Omi-Takashima station (Kosei-Line).
Enjoy the lovely countryside and lake views.
Meet our tour conductor in front of the ticket gate at JR Omi-Takashima Station.
The almost perfectly flat lakeside road is ideal for a memorable bicycle ride. Feel the refreshing breeze from the lake while riding bicycles.
You will be visiting Shirahige Shrine, the oldest in Shiga prefecture, with its impressive view of a Torii gate standing in the water and a center of devotion for many local people.
With many water springs, this part of the lake around the shrine appears particularly serene, creating an even more unforgettable impression for those who visit.
After enjoying the bike ride, we will visit the mountain village nestled in a narrow valley in the northern Hata district.
The Tanada of Hata are authentic terraced rice fields where humans and nature have co-existed together over the centuries and is a valuable heritage that has fortunately remained to this day. They are ranged like steps on the hillside between altitudes of 300m and 400m.
When you look at the landscape with the old traditional mud-walled warehouse and old-fashioned thatched houses, you will feel a nostalgic longing for the tranquility of the old days.
You can enjoy taking a walk to explore this neighborhood area after lunch.
For lunch, we will experience making country-style food with a friendly OBAACHAN, an elderly lady, and have lunch in her private house.
You can enjoy talking with her about Japanese country life. Menu items may vary seasonally.
*This tour will be hosted by a family from the local village community group. We carefully select our friendly and open-minded hosts to ensure quality time. We guarantee that you will have a wonderful experience with any of our hosts.
－Returning to the end point with fond memories.
The tour conductor will accompany you to the JR Omi-Takashima train station. The tour ends at the station at 16:00PM.
Instead of cycling in the morning, we can take a walk around Harie living water village where residents use clean pure spring water in their daily lives (additional taxi fare will be required).
This pure water is very mild and soft. People here use this tasty valuable water by drawing it from a canal running through the village.
This water system is called KABATA. The system is unique with one spring per housing plot, which is then separated into several water basins to use for different purposes inside the house.
*Spring 2024 tours (March 10- June 6) have been sold out.
We would like to inform guests who are interested in this tour that a part of the bicycle ride, about 20 minutes each way, to the Shrine Gate in the lake is along a quite busy lakeshore road. Although there is a side pavement that guests may ride along, we ask that participants who wish to go to the shrine are confident riders and, if children are accompanying you, that you feel confident about your children's ability and safety as well.
1. JR Omi-Takashima Station (Kosei-Line): 40 minutes from JR Kyoto Station by Special Rapid Service (express) train
2.【Optional】JR Kyoto Station
The photo with slicing tofu:© Felicity Tillack