Tag Archive | lake

Mount Eboshi

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.
Lots of bad luck recently, including a sprained ankle whilst going on a short but steep hike over the weekend.
Ankle has pretty much recovered in record time.

Clear winter’s day and caught my first snowfall for the season.

Steep hike, but the views over Lake Haruna and the mountain valley below were well worth it. Enjoyed the onsen by the lake afterwards as well.

This is not the mountain we hiked:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

More photos of the mountain not hiked:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

View from the mountaintop of the mountain we did hike:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

I’m hoping this gif works!

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

Lake Haruna:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

Despite the sunshine and blue skies, the weather was absolutely freezing. I had two layers of pants, and about 4 top layers including a snowboarding jacket.

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

Back on ground level:

The little knob of a mountain towards the left of this photo (not the big main dominating mountain), is the actual mountain we hiked:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

Lakeside by Lake Haruna:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

We stayed for the evening light illumination festival:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

Check out the lights:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
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Lake Biwa OWS

Having already cycled part of Lake Biwa, and SUPed on Lake Biwa, on Sunday it was time to swim Lake Biwa.

From Biwako OWS

The Lake Biwa open water swim race is annual race, and has been on my bucketlist for a while now.
It’s Japan’s largest lake, and it was also an excuse to cross off another prefecture to my tally, bringing it to 35 prefectures (out of 47). I’ve got another 12 prefectures to go!

On the Sunday morning, I was not looking forward to getting back on a bike saddle. That damn mamachari. A 60km cycle and a couple of hours of stand up paddleboarding was probably not the best thing to before a swim race.
It was thankfully only about 20min cycle to the race venue.

I got to see the local Nagahama castle along the way:

From Sunday Biwa cycling
From Sunday Biwa cycling

Again I cycled along the bike path around the lake this time in the opposite direction (north, anti-clockwise):

From Sunday Biwa cycling
From Sunday Biwa cycling
From Sunday Biwa cycling
From Sunday Biwa cycling

To my left was the lake:

From Sunday Biwa cycling

And to my right were rice fields and mountains:

From Sunday Biwa cycling
From Sunday Biwa cycling

How very Sound of Music of me to be cycling through the countryside.

From Sunday Biwa cycling

The Lake Biwa open water swim race was held at Minamihama swimming spot. I cycled there from Nagahama. The previous day I had cycled from Nagahama to Shiga and back.

From Biwako OWS

I got to the race venue and parked the bike in the shade and settled in for a long hot day.

From Biwako OWS
From Biwako OWS

I usually do beach swims, but a freshwater lake swim was going to be a nice change. None of that saltiness.
The most surprising thing about this swim was how disgustingly warm the water was. It was 30.5 degrees. It was in truth, a little dangerous. Especially when you’re going flat out, air temps were about 35 degrees, and you gotta swim 3.2km!

The lake though is pretty flat so conditions were pretty good for swimming, apart from the heat factor.

From Biwako OWS
From Biwako OWS
From Biwako OWS

I was entered in the 3.2km race which didn’t start until about midday.
It was 600m straight out, 700m across, and then 300m back in, times 2 laps of that course.

From Biwako OWS
From Biwako OWS

Race number 514:

From Biwako OWS

It was a super hot day. Most people had brought along tent shades to camp out for the day:

From Biwako OWS
From Biwako OWS
From Biwako OWS

Here are some action shots from the 500m race:

From Biwako OWS
From Biwako OWS
From Biwako OWS
From Biwako OWS
From Biwako OWS

Eventually it was my time to race. There was about 200 people in the 3.2km swim.
I swam pretty fast and overtook a lot of people. The water was dangerously warm though. Not good. Not good at all.

Ended up with a time of 58minutes for a 3.2km swim which I was super happy with. I barely ever break the hour for a 3km swim. I felt dizzy and lightheaded afterwards though….a bit of heatstroke I think. I came 19the female overall (out of 35), and I think I got between 4-6th place in my age group. No prizes but I did walk away with a PB.

From Biwako OWS

Swim Lake Biwa. Check.

From Biwako OWS

Watch this space. There is talk of a Lake Biwa swim crossing next year which a friend or two and I are tossing around. There is an annual Lake Biwa crossing swim race – 16km, but it’s a relay event. We are thinking about solo crossings….whether this will actually happen or not, I’m not sure….

Only one more swim race of the Japan summer season to go….but there will be an Aussie swim race to report back on later in the year . I’m excited about that one!

Lake Biwa: Cycling

Got up early on Saturday morning to travel from Tokyo all the way to Shiga prefecture.
Had planned on taking the overnight bus but the buses were booked out way in advance due to Obon and summer holidays. The shinkansen it was then.
From Tokyo to Maibara, it took about 2.5 hours on the shinkansen and then a short 9min local train to Nagahama station where I would stay overnight.
Upon exiting Nagahama station I headed straight for the west exit and to the rentacycle shop. There, I rented a bike for 2 days (for the Saturday and Sunday – only 2000yen for 2day rental plus a 500yen refundable deposit). I was going to be swimming a race in Lake Biwa on the Sunday and had to stay overnight the night before. I figured I would make the most of the weekend in Shiga ken.

The guys are the bike rental shop were super lovely and friendly. In fact, everyone I met in Shiga prefecture was super friendly. They only had electric bikes, so I made do with that. The guys were really concerned about the battery not lasting much more than 60km (I had told them I would be riding 60-70km on the Saturday alone). I would need to come back on Sunday morning to replace the battery.

Armed with my electric mamachari complete with basket, my plan was to ride to Notogawa about 30-35km away. I had found a place there where I could rent SUP boards. I sent off from Nagahama at about 11:40am. It was about 34-35 degrees. It was gonna take me a couple of hours to cycle there.

Lake Biwa is Japan’s largest lake (freshwater). It has a circumference of approx. 235km. At its maximum length it’s about 63.5 km and maximum width of about 23km.

This is Lake Biwa:

From Saturday Biwa cycling

This is how much of it I cycled in 2 hours:

From Saturday Biwa cycling

The most painful 30km ever. Cycling is not at all a comfortable sport. It was hot, I was carrying my overnight backpack, and my arse was killing me. Cyling is just nasty.

You can cycle all around Lake Biwa. There is, for the most part, an awesome cycle path that follows around Lake Biwa along the main traffic road. It is also pancake flat (or at least the portion that I cycled).
It’s a pretty easy cycling route, minus the bike discomfort factor.

Cycling around Lake Biwa in photos:

Follow the path:

From Saturday Biwa cycling

Alongside Lake Biwa:

From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling

The lake stretches on for a really really long time:

From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling

There are cycling road signs around Lake Biwa so you shouldn’t get too lost. I did have to detour a couple of times though.

From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling

There’s a tiny tiny island out in the middle of Biwako:

From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling

Every now and then, you’ll have to veer through off the main road and away from the lake.

From Saturday Biwa cycling

There’ll be more than a handful of bridges to cross as well, as lots of little rivers run off the lake.

From Saturday Biwa cycling

Whilst I was pedaling away, this guy was just chillin’:

From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling

Whilst the lake dominates the view on one side, you’re surrounded by rice paddies on the other.

From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling

After a couple of hours of cycling, and weaving in out of some rice paddies, I finally stumbled upon my destination:

From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling

This was the SUP rental place. They went all kinds of water sporting gear here.

From Saturday Biwa cycling

Such a cool little place. You can even stay overnight there.

From Saturday Biwa cycling

It was about 2pm ish by now. Just enough time to get in a couple of hours of SUP. I’ll tell ya what though, my arse from cycling was killing me. I was not looking forward to cycling back. The guys at this shop were super super friendly. They gave me a free ice cream which was a welcome treat after that cycle. They drove me to a nice flat section of the lake where all the other SUPers were. Away I went. Doing anything but cycling, was pure bliss. Good conditions to SUP on – Lake Biwa is really flat, although the wind picked up later which made paddling a bit tough.

From Saturday Biwa cycling

The water temp of Lake Biwa was disgusting warm. About 30 degrees.
I enjoyed my time out on the water – very zen. SUP is so relaxing. For me, just being out on/in/near the water is very relaxing and recharging. The other SUPers out there were all super friendly. They were all crazy fast SUPers and compete in races. One of the guys was fast enough to win himself a Hawaii flight prize at one his races. Impressive. I also met an American guy who is the owner of a surf and SUP board store back in Chiba. Got his details, so will probably check out his shop/surf school and check out the beaches in Chiba to keep practising.

At about 5pm I had to think about heading back. Ugh. I had to cycle another 2 hours back. I’m sure my backside was wincing at the thought.

From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling

I ploughed back to Nagahama on the bike. Did get to see a lovely sunset over Lake Biwa though:

From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling

Even at 6pm it was still 32 degrees!

From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling
From Saturday Biwa cycling

It was dark by the time I got back to my hotel.
60km cycling around Lake Biwa. And Stand Up Paddleboarding on Lake Biwa.
My arse will thank me if I never have to get back on a bike again.
In fact, I’m actually tempted to sell my 1-year-old roadbike and get a SUP board instead.

Yo wasSUP

Have found a new hobby that I’m addicted to: Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP).
So much fun! I’ve gone two weekends in a row now.
It’s been something that I had wanted to do for ages but never got around to until this summer. I had a sneaking suspicion that I might be half decent at it. I tried it for the first time a couple of weeks ago down at Koshigoe (near Enoshima). I got a lesson for a couple of hours and then had a bit of practice on my own. I was on an air SUP board which is a little trickier. And it was down at a surf beach where the conditions were a little tougher. Paddling is easy. The hard part is standing and balancing. I fell off the board so many times and ended up with major knee rash from the amount of times I had to heave myself back on the board.

Fast forward to the weekend just gone. I spent the weekend at Shiga prefecture for another open water swim race (that’ll be a separate post). I spent my time at Lake Biwa. With my newfound addiction, I researched on the Internet for SUP board rentals at Lake Biwa. I was in luck!

Found an awesome little water eco sports outfit that did SUP board rentals. Super cool, nice people. They even gave me a free ice-cream! They drove me down to a nice area of the lake where I went and SUPed. It was only my second time and it was out on a flat lake so it was soooo much easier. And I had proper board. Managed to not fall off once!

SUP is such a good workout! Really works the calves, and if you look at talented SUPers they have well-built calves. Being short (like myself) also helps because you need a lower centre of gravity to maintain your balance. It’s also quite the core workout. Being short and stocky, I have a bit more natural advantage, so I didn’t find it so difficult. I just need more practice and practice to work on my speed. Haven’t quite got up to SUP surfing yet!

Having since partaken in SUP, I’ve gone all OCD and have been researching all about it on the internet – mostly places where I can get rentals (SUP boards are expensive to purchase!). There are also SUP races which I might be tempted to do next year. In particular, there is an awesome event called “Paddle Mix” which is a 1km open water swim + 1km SUP + 4km run. That is totally my cup of tea!!!! I definitely want to enter it next year.

It’s such a bummer I live too far from the beach. It takes 2 hours to get to the closest beach from Tokyo. And it’s an expensive hobby. I guess it’s a little bit like snowboarding but on the water.

Here are some action pics of SUPing at Lake Biwa, ah fun summer days!

The shores of Lake Biwa – the largest lake in Japan:

From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP

Out in the middle of the lake (I had my waterproof camera with me):

From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP

Nice flat waters – ideal for starting out.

Me out on the water:

From Biwako SUP

A pro SUPer in the making, mark my words:

From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP

It’s so relaxing, just being out on the water, paddling away.

From Biwako SUP

Sunset over Biwako:

From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP
From Biwako SUP

What can I say, I had an uber SUPer weekend!