After arriving bright and early at Otsu Station, I headed to the Information Centre where I was able to rent a bicycle to explore the city! I recommend renting an electric bike, because when you start to get tired you can turn on the electric assist. It makes pedaling really easy, even going up hills!
The Otsu City area is great for cycling, because it has lots of wide sidewalks and beautiful views. Definitely don’t miss out on a gorgeous ride along the shoreline of Biwa Lake.
I started to get hungry, so I stopped at Nagisa Warms, located right beside Biwa Lake. They specialize in food made with fresh, local, organic ingredients and have several vegan options on their menu. The curry is absolutely delicious! It comes in a bowl with fresh veggies on the side for dipping, and also a cup of tomato puree to add in at the end for a second way to enjoy the curry.
*Curry menu may change by the season
After lunch, I rode my bike to Omi Shrine, a shinto shrine located in the middle of a large forest. The main building and gate are painted in bright vermilion and are very eye-catching. Inside the shrine, they offer a 12-layered kimono experience. A selection of gorgeous 12-layered kimonos are laid out for you, and you can have fun trying them on and taking photos. You’re allowed to try on as many as you like, and it only costs 1000 yen!
After finishing up at Omi Shrine, I rode my bicycle back down to the coast of Biwa Lake to the hotel I would be staying in for the night – Biwako Hotel. The size of Biwako Hotel is very impressive. All rooms come with a lake view and a balcony for relaxing. There’s also an outdoor pool, indoor hot spring and 8 different bars and restaurants.
I enjoyed dinner at their Japanese restaurant, Ohmi. It was just perfect! So much detail went into crafting every dish, and not only was it pleasing to the eye but tasted absolutely delicious. I want to go back!
Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop before you leave and take a peek at some of their local specialities, like the Miidera Temple Chikaramochi. I’ve tried lots of mochi in my 12 years in Japan, and I can say with confidence this was the best. It is so soft it melts in your mouth, and it’s covered in a powder that is the perfect blend of kinako and matcha flavours.
I really enjoyed my day in Otsu City, and highly recommend visiting! The scenery was gorgeous, and the food was top class. Otsu City is located very close to Kyoto and is easily accessed by train.