Located in Shiga Prefecture, Lake Biwa is Japan's largest freshwater lake (258.8 square miles or 670.4 square kilometers), and with gorgeous views of the coast, mountains, and even traditional mountain villages, it's no wonder that the scenic route around the beautiful lake often appears in Japanese literature.

Within recent years, many have discovered that perhaps the most fulfilling way to take in beautiful sights and sounds surrounding the famous lake is by cycling around it. While the distance may seem daunting, the flat and easy to navigate course makes it a smooth ride for even novice cyclists. The amount of attractive spots to stop at around the lake, which allow you to appreciate the distinct change in Japan's seasons, will eventually force you to rest, and make the ride all the more worth it. One of the most scenic cyclic courses starts in Moriyama City, and is called "Biwaichi".

Nagisa Park in Moriyama City is a scenic spot chosen as one of Japan's Top 100 "viewspots", and it's easy to see why with about 12 thousand sunflowers dyed yellow in the summer, rape blossoms spread all over in winter, and a spectacular view of the Hira mountain range.

The course also allows you to glide under a spectacular archway of 500 Metasequoia trees, where travelers can appreciate fresh green colors in the Spring, or Japan's distinct Autumn koyo via a 2.4 kilometer path.

These are just two charming wonders of nature to behold on a cycling trip around Lake Biwa using Moriyama City as a starting point. Those inclined to take their time can seek out Hikone Castle, one of Japan's oldest original-construction castles, or explore the old castle town of Omihachiman--a town so well preserved it is often used as a film set for period pieces.

While there are many ways to take in the splendor of Lake Biwa, starting in Moriyama is recommended because of its easy accessibility--just 25 minutes removed from Kyoto--and abundance of cyclist necessities on hand to accommodate those who wish to take the journey.

You can access Moriyama City via the express from Kyoto station in 25 minutes.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.

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