Otsu-karesamadesu: The Japanese Riviera

This post has been written reluctantly due to all the video footage I lost.  For this one, we would have to stick to good, old-fashioned photos.  No time lapses this week, sorry. 

I am not a Japanese language expert but Otsukaresamadesu (お疲れ様です) roughly translates into “Great work!” in English.  If I’m wrong, please let me know.

One of the great privileges in this world is living next to the beach.  Or by a lake.  Or near any pleasing body of water.  Most of the expensive properties around the world can be found along the French Riviera or Lake Como.  And I totally agree with how these are being valued.  How do you put a price on the view you get every day of the week?  Some might even argue that it’s priceless.  I guess that makes it a bargain, then? 

A couple of my Japanese friends asked us what we wanted to do:  go to the world-renowned port-city of Kobe or visit the virtually unknown city of Otsu.  If you read the title, it is kind of obvious which one we chose.

Otsu is the capital of Shiga, which is a prefecture of Japan.  I was surprised to discover a lot of interesting facts about Otsu.  One of them is that it is the main port in which you could access Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake.  I’ve been hearing about Lake Biwa from literally everyone here in Kyoto.  I also heard that there was a UNESCO world heritage site here called Enryaku-ji, but I would have to visit this some other time.

 

From Kyoto Station, it is quite a challenge to get to Otsu.  You would need to take the JR Tokaido-Sanyo line and switch trains at Zeze station.  At Zeze, transfer to the Keihan-Ishiyamasakamoto line and alight at Hamaotsu station.  That’s it you’re there!  One way costs a total of 410 yen.   The whole trip just takes around 30 minutes!

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Just look at that view!  If I didn’t say this was in Japan, you would have probably mistaken this for another country.

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The whole group striking a pose by a viewing deck.  IMG_1913

In order to best experience Otsu and Lake Biwa, my friends suggested to take the Michigan Cruise which was an old-fashioned American paddle boat. It was going to be an 80-minute ride around Lake Biwa.  The ticket costs 2,780 yen for adults and 1,390 yen for kids.  If you’re a student, just show your ID and you just need to pay 2,260 yen!  Oh yeah!  If you’re really hungry, they serve a lunch buffet on board for an additional 2,700 yen.

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I have never seen nor been on a paddle boat before so I was really excited!  Another first!IMG_1900

The boat was HUGE.  IMG_1888

My friend said this was the tallest hotel in Shiga.  Maybe also the slimmest?  I wonder what the view is like up there.IMG_1896

Another group photo after the cruise!  It was a ton of fun!  お疲れ様です

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It is so near to Kyoto!  I think this just replaced Osaka as my preferred weekend getaway.  I mean, just look at the views!  I’ll pick living near water vs. living in a city about 90% of the time.  If it was that easy.

I’d really like to go back and shoot time lapses here next time!

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