Biwako Canal Cruise — Huge Potential for Kyoto’s Next Big Thing

There is a canal called Biwako Canal between Kyoto and Lake Biwa in Otsu City in Shiga Prefecture. This canal was built to carry water from Shiga to Kyoto, which is still used for drinking and generating electricity. This was a large scale project which was expected to stimulate the economy in Kyoto City during the Meiji Era when Kyoto could not prosper after the imperial family moved to Tokyo.

This canal might be the next big sightseeing spot in Kyoto City. Originally it was not made for tourism, but there were boats to carry people and things. However, it closed its operation due to the railways. The idea of using it for tourism has been popped up before, but since 2013 Kyoto City and Shiga City have seriously started planning to use it for a sightseeing cruise. Finally, on March 28th, they started an experimental cruise on Biwako Canal, from Otsu in Shiga to Keage in Kyoto. This cruise will be conducted every weekend until May 6th. Note that tickets are not available to the public.

It is a 7.8 kilometer cruise and takes 50 minutes. Since this canal was built in 1890 (1912 for the second part), the canal itself is a historical monument, and in fact the Japanese Government designated it as an industrial heritage. It is unknown how much it will cost and when it will start its operation, but when it does, there is a chance that this is going to be another popular sightseeing spot in Kyoto. Stay tuned for updates.

Fore more fun and useful information, which will make your Kyoto Travel more memorable, exciting and stress-free, check our Kyoto e-Guidebook.

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