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

Agriculture, Nature, and Local Life

Local Landscapes Cycling Tour


This leisurely and refreshing ride offers a welcome change of pace and scenery, just 20 minutes from Kyoto by bullet train! Experience smalltown life in Maibara, follow historic trade routes, get a first-hand look at rice fields and agriculture, ride along the Lake Biwa shoreline, and more! A bit of excercise and a lot of fun for a truly memorable experience.

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Local Culture, Cuisine, and Craft

Traditional Villages Walking Tour


Traditional culture in harmony with nature. Take a refreshing walk through the small, yet historic, village of Samegai and experience how rural communities have maintained a sustainable relationship and unique local culture within the surrounding Lake Biwa ecosystem. Next enjoy a locally-sourced ryotei lunch before heading to Kaminyu, a village of traditional handcraft artisans, including an exclusive and up-close look at their home studios.

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Explore More of Northern Shiga

Custom Private Tours


A variety of options exploring rural nature, life, and culture. Go on a sacred mountain hike, visit an island sanctuary within Lake Biwa, and more. These are some of our favorite local spots for unique custom private tours. Flexible itineraries designed around your interests, and guided by our local experts to ensure a truly special experience.

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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.

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Meet The Team

Our Expert Guides!

Takako Matsui-Leidy
Takako Matsui-Leidy

- Local Culture Guide -

Chiho Ono
Chiho Ono

- Local Culture Guide -

Yuta Fukuhara
Yuta Fukuhara

- Nature Guide -

Support Guide
Support Guides

- A Team of Experts -


Local Community Support

Friends & Partners

Yu Tour
Biwaichi Rental Cycle
Access Point

Meet Up and Go!

Questions Welcome!

Contact Us


We welcome your questions and will get back to you as soon as possible! For all booking requests, please use the form on our Booking Page. Thanks, and we'll talk to you soon!

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