Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Exploring the Lakes of Japan


Lake Biwa

Lake Biwa is Japan’s largest freshwater lake, covering an area of 670 square kilometers. It is located in the Shinga Prefecture, which is on Honshu island, close to Kyoto. There are about 500 brooks and rivers that feed this lake, and it does not get clogged with all of the incoming sediments because it is continuously subsiding. The Seta River is the only river that flows out of this lake. Biwa is one of the oldest lakes in the world, dating back 5 or 6 million years ago. It is a very scenic body of water surrounded by lush, green mountains.


Lake Kasumigaura

Lake Kasumigaura is the second largest Japanese lake, and has a surface area of about 220 square kilometers. Both natural scenery and agricultural land surround this freshwater lake, which is north east of Tokyo in the Ibaraki Prefecture. People utilize Lake Kasumigaura for fishing, irrigation, recreation, and tourism; its waters are used to grow rice and lotus root. There are also unique sailed fishing boats called “hobikisen” around this lake, and it is a popular spot for people to use recreational boats during summer weekends.


Lake Saroma

Lake Saroma is a lake of brackish water, and is located in Abashiri Quasi-National Park, which is in Hokkaido. It is the third largest lake in this country, taking about 150 square kilometers, but it is very shallow for its size. Several different types of seafood are derived from this lake, like scallops, oysters and smelt.


Lake Inawashiro

Lake Inawashiro is located in the middle of the Fukushima Prefecture, and is an entrance point to Bandai-Asahi National Park. It is the fourth largest lake that is in Japan, being over 100 square kilometers. Inawashiro mirrors the image of Mount Bandai-san in its waters, which is quite a sight; people who go to this mountain can experience its hot springs and also see excellent views of this lake. There are activities going on at this lake all year round, from bird watching in the spring to water skiing and camping in the summer to winter sports in the winter. This body of fresh water is said to have the cleanest water out of all the lakes in Japan.



Nakaumi is a brackish lake of about 86 square kilometers, and it is located between the Totori Prefecture and Shimane Prefectures. It connects Lake Shinji to the Sea of Japan, and there are two large islands in its waters, Daikon and Eshima.


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