Our tour started with a bike ride along Lake Biwa which is pretty big. I understand it is Japan's largest fresh water lake. We stopped at the gateway to the shrine and witnessed paddle board riders passing beneath the gateway. I imagine that is not quite the thing to do but the youngsters seemed to be enjoying themselves and were respectful. The old temple housed some very old artefacts and our guide told us about the path through the woods which leads to a place of sanctuary?
We returned by bike to our starting point and took a taxi to a local village which was surrounded by lush green vegetation, including forests, and picturesque terraced rice fields. We were taken to a house and met our host, a delightful octogenarian. She greeted us warmly and after the initial greeting we assisted in preparing lunch. Grinding sesame seeds and peanuts was my task and the finished product was mixed with a fresh green vegetable for one part of lunch - it tasted very good. Lunch was more like a banquet compared to my lunch at home two sandwiches and a coffee. Lunch was sukiyaki and so fresh and tasty. I felt guilty leaving some food but I had a full stomach. Conversation was good and our two guides helped translate my English into Japanese for the host.
We were privileged to enjoy a wonderful meal in a traditional Japanese home in a rural environment - it is so different to the hustle and bustle of city life. Our host was marvellous and made us feel very welcome and we hope she enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed hers. The guides were a good interface for two Westerners enjoying rural Japan.
Great addition to our visit to Japan. Lake Biwa is beautiful, but the mountain village and visit to a traditional Japanese home/garden and mountain community was outstanding. The bike ride was a bit rough along the highway/lake, not sure how to work around that in the current state of the road and no shoulder to ride along.
I cannot recommend this tour highly enough! Shiga is set in the beautiful Japanese countryside. My husband and I were met at the train station by Keiko who was our guide for the day. We cycled through the rice terraces, visited a beautiful shrine, went for Saki tasting and had the opportunity to spend time in the home of a local Japanese family which was just the most special and unique experience. The views of the rice terraces were stunning even though it was pouring with rain! and we just didn't want the day to end! Keiko was incredibly friendly and spoke exceptional English and was a superb tour guide for the day!
I was very impressed with the communication from Tour du Lac from the point of researching and asking questions to making the booking. Hiromi always responded to my emails quickly and was very proactive keeping in tour closer to the time of the tour.
I cannot recommend this tour enough, it is a hidden gem away from all the main tourist hot spots of Japan and a chance to see the real Japanese countryside!
Our tour was exactly as described. We were warmly greeted at Omi-Takashima station after a scenic train ride from Kyoto by our lovely tour guide Shino who spoke fluent English. The weather in March can be quite unpredictable at times, so Shino ensured that she brought us gloves if we didn't have any of our own and these wonderful little heat packs you can stick to your clothing or insert into your gloves we are from Australia so novices with such things, to make sure we weren't cold, this was very sweet and set the tone for the remainder of the day. We cycled the countryside and stopped at points of interest before travelling by taxi to a small village in the mountains. The vistas here are beautiful even just after winter before the new season crop has been planted and rice terraces flooded. Everyone we met were very welcoming, lunch was delicious and the walk amongst the rice fields felt charmingly nostalgic of a bygone era.
We really enjoyed our day trip to Shiga and would recommend this tour to anyone who would like to see another side to the concrete and high-rises that are synonymous with the modern day Japan.
Thank you all for making our trip so special :