Local Japan Tours
Take the Road Less Traveled to Experience Rural Japan, Past and Present.

Grand Opening April 2019!

We're currently preparing to begin operating next season!
Until then, please contact us with any questions.
About Biwako Backroads

Go Deeper into Rural Culture with a Local Guide

We offer unique experiences for travelers looking to get away from busy cities and tourist attractions in favor of simple, yet authentic, local communities.

Ordinary towns and villages, where traditional culture is still present in modern life, offer a more unique and memorable experience for visitors who want to go beyond the typical tourist destinations.

Language and culture barriers make it hard for visitors to explore such communities on their own, so our guides serve not only as tour conductors, but also as interpreters and local community members, facilitating interactions for a unique connection to the past and present of life and culture in rural Japan.

Just a Short Ride from Kyoto.

Lake Biwa, or Biwako (琵琶湖), is among the world's oldest freshwater lakes and is Japan's largest. Located in Shiga, just north of Kyoto, the lake is essential to the region's abundant ecosystem and is at the heart of the local farming communities, reflected in a unique yet modest local culture.

Historical routes around Lake Biwa also include the famous "Nakasendo" road, as well as a junction point between this historic route and another northbound route, which resulted in a major JR and bullet train station in Maibara City despite the small local population. Maibara is also home base for Biwako Backroads, and the station offers a great starting point for our tours exploring the surrounding Hikone, Maibara, and Nagahama areas of Northern Lake Biwa.

Modern life now relies on newer and larger routes here, but our tours explore the smaller, less traveled historic routes which are still serving the local communities and bridging the gap between past and present.

tour plans
Course 1

Local Life Past & Present

Local Cycling Tour

Duration: 3 hrs
Active Level: ?
Price: TBD.

tour plans
Course 2

Visit Local Traditional Artisans

Culture & Craft Tour

Duration: 4-5 hrs
Active Level: ?
Price: TBD.

tour plans
Course 3

Ancient History and Deep Nature

Sacred Mountain Hiking

Duration: 5-6 hrs
Active Level: ?
Price: TBD.
Meet The Team

Our Expert Guides!

Takako Matsui-Leidy
Takako (Tako) Matsui-Leidy

Local Culture Guide

With a background in professional translation, Tako is also a nationally licensed English tour guide and has much experience traveling herself. Tako is also the chief director of Biwako Backroads, so you're in good hands!

Chiho Ono
Chiho Ono

Local Culture Guide

Chiho, or "Chi Chi," is a native Shiga resident with a background in public speaking. Having spent time overseas, she has developed great English proficiency and travel experience and we are lucky to have her helping as a guide.

Yuta Fukuhara
Yuta Fukuhara

Nature Guide

Yuta developed our Sacred Mountain Hiking tour, and his love of nature and outdoors makes him a perfect guide for this type of local tour. His academic background is also nature conservation and has studied abroad in the US.

Ren Nelson
Ren Nelson

Nature Guide

Ren is from Utah, and since moving to Shiga in 2016, he's already found all the best local hiking and biking routes. His experience working in Tourism in Alaska and his love of the outdoors make him a perfect fit for our team.

Mystery Guide
Mystery Guide

Who Will It Be?

If our main guides are unavailable for any reason, we also have a network of trusted guides and backup support members on call who also provide quality guidance for all of our tours!

Behind the Scenes

Support Team Members

Yoshitsugu Shinmura
Yoshitsugu Shinmura

Communication Coordinator

Katz Watanabe
Katz Watanabe

Marketing Strategist

Pete Leidy
Pete Leidy

Web Developer

Ryuya Tatezawa
Ryu Tatezawa

Visual Media Producer

Maki Ito
Maki Ito

Cycling Coordinator

Kanako Tsushima
Kanako Tsushima

Culture & History Curator

Belinda Kyle
Belinda Kyle

Arts & Culture Curator


Local Community Support

Friends & Partners

Seita Mori
Seita Mori

Partner Tour Operator

YUtour

Biwaichi Rental Cycle
Biwaichi Rental Cycle

Partner Rental Station

Biwaichi

Access Point

Meet Up and Go!

Questions Welcome!

Contact Us


Want to learn more or have questions about our tours? We'd love to hear from you. Use the e-mail form here, and we'll get back to you within a business day. Talk to you soon!

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