Do a search about traveling to Nagahama and the obvious pop up: the Hikiyama Festival,
cherry blossoms in Ho Park, a stroll around Kurokabe Square, and visits to the city’s
museums and shrines. You will not go wrong with any of the above choices, but a thorough look beyond the city’s core area, will present a lesser-known alternative that will take you
past Nagahama’s farmland, to the lakeshore where the plains disappear into the mountains
of northern Shiga, and to the park where birds from as far as Russia gather throughout the year. This is the Kohoku district of Nagahama City.
Travelers with an appreciation for nature’s unorchestrated beauty and for life in the
countryside will be treated to memorable moments. Wake up on a tatami mat overlooking picturesque canals. Enjoy a home-cooked breakfast with garden views. Jog through a grid of rice fields in the misty morning. Watch wild birds basking in the lake waters. Or, witness
the sun setting over the mountains from the comfort of an onsen. The possibilities are various and pleasing.
Although a day trip to Kohoku is quite doable, you’ll be better off setting a couple of nights
aside to take full advantage of the listed activities and possibly more. Accommodation here is limited, yet two different options stand out:
'- Beniayu Ryokan: A highly-rated hot spring resort at the edge of Lake Biwa. Here
you’ll be staying at the water's edge in traditional japanese fashion, including full
course meals, onsen baths, and footbath terraces overlooking the lake. Another plus
is the unobstructed view of Chikubushima Island, one of Japan’s spiritual power spots, set in the water a close distance. From the ryokan, you’ll also be a short walk
away from the Kohoku water bird park.
'- Yuki’s Guesthouse: This is an Airbnb accommodation where you’ll stay in an old japanese home in the neighbourhood of Kohokucho Yamamoto. Yuki’s Guesthouse
is located near rice fields and next to a charming canal that flows down to Lake Biwa. Here, you’ll have access to fully equipped home; perfect if you are traveling with
family or a group of friends. Yuki’s Guesthouse will feel like your home away from
Beniayu Ryokan and Yuki’s Guesthouse are very good alternatives and choosing one or the
other will depend on the travel experience you are looking for. Both will give you the opportunity to explore this wonderful side of Nagahama while disconnecting from the urban pace.
To reach Kohoku, take the JR Hokuriku Line departing from Nagahama Station towards Omi-Shiotsu. Get off at Takatsuki Station. The ride will take 10 minutes. From here you can choose a taxi or the public bus depending on where you are headed. If traveling by car, the 14-minute drive on Route 331 is convenient and will take you directly to the wild bird water park while bordering the lake. Alternatively, you can drive along Route 8. This road travels
parallel to Route 331 but instead of the lakeviews, you’ll be cutting through rice fields. And if you’ve decided to cycle around Lake Biwa either one of the above roads are safe to drive on.