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

Easy Access

20 min. from Kyoto or 30 min. from Nagoya by Shinkansen!

Relax + Refresh

Small town culture and nature with a local resident guide.


Green tours that both promote and protect local traditions.

Featured Tour Courses

Perfect easy daytrips from Kyoto. Just meet your guide at Maibara Station and go! Current featured private and group courses:

Explore historic trails, villages in harmony with nature, skilled handcraft, traditional sustainable living, and a lunch of local cuisine.


A peaceful ride exploring the diversity of agriculture, nature, history, and local culture.
Works great with a Hikone Castle visit!

walking half day
Traditional Brewery Town Tour
walking course

Edo-period sake breweries here are among Japan's oldest! Also visit a soy sauce brewery, temple, etc.
Works great with a Hikone Castle visit!

Coming Soon!

Explore More of Northern Shiga

Custom Private Tours

In addition to our featured tours, we're also happy to show you more of our favorite local spots on a custom tour course. Go on a sacred mountain hike, visit an island sanctuary within Lake Biwa, and more. Flexible itineraries designed around your interests, and guided by our local experts for a truly special experience.

View Details

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.

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 local communities where traditional culture blends naturally into modern life.

Our goal is to offer more unique and memorable experiences for visitors who want to go beyond the typical tourist destinations. We also strive to do this carefully and respectfully to sustain and protect our local culture and traditions.

As members of the local community, our guides lead tours, but also act as interpreters and local experts to help overcome the language and culture barriers that visitors may experience when exploring such communities on their own. We hope to help facilitate interaction, build connections, and give visitors a wonderful, memorable experience!

instagram @biwakobackroads

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!

* required fields