GNF - Lake Biwa (Japan)

Lake Biwa – Japan


Background Lake Biwa

Lake Biwa evolved from a tiny lake formed approx. 4 million years ago - it is the Methuselah among our living lakes (but Baikal is 6 times as old!). It has a surface area of 670 square kilometres, and is located near Kyoto in the middle of the largest Japanese Island Honshu. Lake Biwa is an important relay point for migratory birds including ducks, and thus became a designated wetland of the Ramsar Convention in 1993.

The bio-diversity of this region is very rich: about 500 species of plants and 500 species of animals have been recorded. More than 400 brooks and rivers flow into Lake Biwa. In recent years, more than 30 million people visited the Lake area annually. Lake Biwa water is used as drinking water for 14 million people and for irrigation purposes.


The rapid economic development that began in the 1960s led to drastic changes, and in the late 1970s the Shiga Prefecture started programmes to clean the water.

Today both official and private nature protection associations work closely together developing sustainable development schemes for the benefit of the local people as well as the fauna and flora of the Lake Biwa region.

More information about Lake Biwa

Detailed Data

 The White beach of Omatsuzaki, Biwa Lake
 Reed crop at Lake Biwa
 Breeding Red-necked Grebe