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Omi-hachiman and Okishima Island

Highlights

  • Visit Okishima, a peaceful, tranquil fishing island in Lake Biwa
  • Walks along the rustic narrow lanes soaking up the slow-paced island lifestyle
  • Leisurely cruise by small hand-paddled houseboat through reed beds in a maze of waterways of the Suigo area
  • Try paddling the boat in a traditional way!
  • Strolls along the picturesque Hachiman-bori Canal
  • Visits lovely shops of local specialties in traditional merchant houses and warehouses in Omi-hachiman

Description

The tour starts as we leave JR Kyoto station by train heading north-eastward to Omi-hachiman Station. After a public bus ride through vast vegetable fields, we will get to a small port in a quiet inlet where you will see our first destination, Okishima island covered by thick woods. We hop on a boat, and after only ten minutes, you have been on the island! Okishima is the only one inhabited freshwater island in Japan, where mere three hundred people reside largely being dedicating into fishing. Probably because of a lack of motorisation, the atmosphere of the island is so slow-paced and tranquil that you will feel like being somewhere very distant and remote, or even you have stepped into the past. Here we have more than one hour to explore the island. As you stroll along the extremely narrow streets that run through the small settlement, you can soak up the island's peaceful and a bit quaint lifestyle. Before leaving the island, Do not forget to try "yosomono (stranger) croquette" made from alien fish captured in the lake!

Next, back to the mainland, we head to the Suigo, a huge area of marshes and reed beds, which is registered Ramsar wetland and one of the three most popular wetland attractions in Japan. After lunch at a beautifully antique restaurant near the area, what waits next us is a leisurely hand-paddled houseboat cruise! During a cruise through tall reed beds in a maze of waterways, you are able to enjoy viewing flora and fauna of this unique wetland, and reminding us of the days where waterways were used as important canals connecting Lake Biwa and the town of Omi-hachiman. Your boat captain will give you an overview about the life and environment of the Suigo area. Moreover, if you wish, you are able to take over paddling from him and try paddling in a traditional way for a while!

Afterwards, we take a taxi to our final destination: the old town centre of Omi-hachiman. Having been developed as a castle town initially and flourished as merchant town shortly later, Omi-hachiman boasts a lot of remnants of its historical past, especially along the atmospheric Hachiman-bori canal. We will start exploring the town with visits historical merchant houses having a view of some exhibition of the merchants' business and their lives. After passing down a traditional-looking street we meet the town's iconic canal of Hachiman-bori. Remember, the canal connects to the Suigo area, and further to Lake Biwa in which Oki-shima is! We stroll along the canal, stopping for local specialty shops in lovely old buildings, and of course, for taking photos of this charming townscape. Our walk ends in front of Himure-hachimangu Shrine, where there are two popular confectionary shops of Himure Village, one is famous for its baumkuchen, and the other, Japanese confectionaries. After having some time for shopping here, we will hop into a bus to Omi-hachiman Station. After 30-40 minutes train trip, we arrive back in Kyoto at about quarter past six.

Itinerary

JR Kyoto Station (Departure)

Train

JR Omi-hachiman Station

Public Bus & Boat

Okishima Island
- Stroll around the island

Boat & Taxi

Suigo area
- Lunch
- Boat cruise through reeds beds (we walk about 7 minutes from the lunch place to the dock of the cruise

Taxi

Old town centre of Omi-hachiman
- Visit merchant houses
- Walk along the Hachiman-bori canal
- Himure Village

Public Bus

Omi-hachiman Station

Train

JR Kyoto Station (Return)

Tour includes

  • English-speaking tour conductor (licensed guide interpreter)
  • Admission fee for the cruise in Suigo and merchant houses in Omi-hachiman
  • Fare for all transportation listed above
  • Insurance
  • Local tax

Tour does NOT include

  • Lunch (Please take whatever you would like at the lunch venue)

Remarks

  • If you stay in Shiga Prefecture, our departure and return point may be changed into a more convenient place.
  • Packing light and wearing comfortable walking shoes are recommended. We walk 3 km on this tour. A coin-operated locker is available at JR Kyoto Station.
  • Be sure to be prepared for all weather conditions depending on the season.
  • A few more places may be visited in accordance with your request if time and other conditions allow.
  • Seats in public transportations are not guaranteed.
  • Itinerary may change without earlier notice due to weather and transport conditions or any unforeseen circumstance(s).

Gallery

"Hachiman-bori" moat
Boat to Okishima Okishima Port Narrow street in the Oki-shima town
Boat cruise of the Suigo area Boat cruise of the Suigo area A duck following the boat
Street of old merchant houses and warehouses Inside an old merchant house "Hchiman-bori" moat
Booking Enquiry Form »

Price (per person):

No. of person(s)Price
1¥36,000
2-3 ¥27,000
4-5 ¥22,500
6-7 ¥18,500

Children under 5 are free of charge and not included in guest count.

Discounts!

  • ¥1,300pp off for adults with a valid JR pass
  • ¥2,200pp/¥1,700pp off for children aged 6-11 with/without a valid JR pass

Tour operates:

Every day except Monday

Group size:

Minimum 1 / Maximum 7

Language:

English (and of course Japanese)


Meeting time:

8:40 a.m.

Meeting point:

JR Kyoto Station (Next to the JR Information desk in the central concourse)  » MAP

Your tour conductor with a YUtour's logo card hung from his neck will be waiting to greet you.

Returning time:

6:15 p.m. approx.