Otsu City, Kyoto
Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan and among the top largest lakes in the world. It is actually surrounded by a few prefectures, one of which is Shiga. All the usual lake activities can be found there, like canoeing etc. The lake is also the place where they hold the national school rowing boats competition.
From the lookout point at Mt Hieizan, you can see the whole of kyoto city and the mountains beyond, including the mountain with the word "big" in japanese etched on it. (no kidding) You can also see the shinkasen (bullet train) tracks. It was real cold when we went, 5 degrees, and the wind added to the slight rain. At another look out point on the other side of the mountain, you get to see Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. Beautiful sight. When you go up the mountain, you'll pass by these two stops naturally. There is even a hotel up there.
Mt Hieizan is actually located between kyoto and shiga, so one moment you're driving on the part in kyoto, and the other moment, you're in shiga. Which accounts for those confusing road signs (I thought I was in kyoto? or in shiga?)
Do note too that you have to pay toll charges along the way to the mountain.
I went to Biwa Ko with my students for a barbeque lunch. It's a lovely place to relax if you need to get out of the city. Lake Biwa is surrounded by hills. It was amusing to watch my city students try to light coals on the bbq without anything like twigs or pinecones or newspaper to start the fire! They cooked some yummy meals though! Like fried noodles & vegetables, Not just meat and sausages!
Apparently in summer it is very crowded. And it can get a bit windy too. But in springtime, and on a weekday, it was peaceful.
It takes about 1 and a half hours to get there from Kyoto by bus. The bus ride was cool though! The boys sang some karaoke for us!