We are taking various measures to prevent the spread of the new Covid-19 coronavirus infection. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Limit on the number of visitors - In order to ensure distance between visitors, we are restricting the number of people in the building to 1050 people at one time, and 2700 people during one day. Groups (20 people and more) can make reservations by telephone for weekdays only.
Please note that Saturdays and Sundays are very busy.
Advanced reservations are required. More information below.
Suspension of some exhibits - Entry to the three main exhibition rooms and the Aquarium have resumed, but a small number of hands-on exhibits are currently not being used. The Discovery Room is only open on weekdays.
Disinfection - Areas that are often touched, such as handrails, are disinfected by staff at regular intervals.
• Please refrain from visiting if you have a fever, cough or feel unwell.
• Please be sure to wear a mask and follow cough etiquette.
• Before entering the building, be sure to disinfect hands with alcohol or hand washing.
• Please be aware that the museum cannot loan strollers, wheelchairs and audio guides at the current time.
• Please keep a safe distance from other visitors (1-2 m) as much as possible.
• Please do not touch display cases or aquarium tanks.
To avoid overcrowding, all visitors are required to make reservations in advance.
Reservations can be made online for individuals, families and small groups (up to 19 people).
Larger groups (20 people and more) can make reservations by telephone (only for weekdays).
The online reservation system is in Japanese only, but an English guide to the reservation procedure is available.
09:30 am to 5:00 pm, last entry at 4:00 pm.
The Museum is usually closed on Mondays, unless that day is a national holiday, and certain other times of the year (e.g. New Year holiday). Please consult the table to plan your visit.
|Closed Days, April 2022 to March 2023|
|April: 11, 18, 25||May: 9, 16, 23, 30||June: 6, 13, 20, 27|
|July: 4, 11||August: 1, 29||September: 5-9, 12, 26|
|October: 3, 17, 24, 31||November: 7, 14, 21, 28||December: 5, 12, 19, 26-31|
|January: 1-3, 16, 23-27, 30||February: 6, 13, 20, 27||March: 6, 13|
Adults - 800 yen (640 yen each for groups of 20 or more)
University/High School Students - 450 yen (360 yen each for groups of 20 or more)
Elementary/ Junior High School Students - Free
Residents of Shiga Prefecture 65 years old or older - Free
Persons with disabilities - Free
Additional charges apply for some Special Exhibitions.
No ticket is necessary for the outdoor exhibits, including the treetop walk.
Take the JR Biwako (Tokaido) line from Kyoto or Maibara (or any station on the Biwako line) to Kusatsu (Shiga) Station. Both local trains and Special Rapid Service trains stop at Kusatsu Station.
From the west side of Kusatsu station, buses depart for the museum from bus stop number 2. Look for a bus with the destination sign Biwako-haku-butsu-kan (Lake Biwa Museum or Biwako Museum):
|Going to the Museum||Returning from the Museum|
|Hour||Mondays to Fridays||Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays||Hour||Mondays to Fridays||Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays|
|10:||30||00, 30||10:||59||29, 59|
|12:||30||00, 30||12:||59||29, 54|
|14:||30||00, 30||14:||59||29, 59|
|16:||30||00, 30||16:||29, 54|
|18:||30||00, 30||18:||00, 59||24, 54|
Journey time = 25 minutes.
For a detailed guide on how to catch a bus to the Museum, and buses in Japan generally, see a guide to catching a bus to the Museum.
Taxis can be found at the taxi rank on the west side of Kusatsu Station (follow signs for "West Exit"). It takes approximately 20 minutes from Kusatsu Station to the Museum. Ask the driver for "Lake Biwa Museum" or "Biwako haku-butsu-kan".
Alternatively, take a taxi from Moriyama Station (two stations east from Kusatsu); Moriyama Station is closer to the Museum than Kusatsu Station, but there is no bus service to the Museum from Moriyama.
Exit the Meishin Expressway at the Ritto Interchange and drive along the Ritto Shinanaka Route and the Lakeshore (Sazanami) Road (approximately 30 minutes). Parking is available.
Taste traditional Japanese cuisine or Western influenced dishes in the Museum Restaurant. The menu includes local produce, such as fish from Lake Biwa.
11:00 am to 3:30 pm (last orders 3:00 pm)
A wide range of gifts and souvenirs are available at the Museum Shop - Oydeya, including unique merchandise to the Lake Biwa Museum.
A great place to find that special gift for someone, or for that exclusive memento of your trip to the Lake Biwa Museum.
A room for families travelling with young children and babies is available.
Please consult with staff to use this room.
The Museum is fully accessible to wheelchair users, and a selection of wheelchairs and baby strollers are available for use.
Please ask at the ticket counter.
The Lake Biwa Museum is run by Shiga Prefectural Government and opened in October 1996. Since opening over 11 million people have visited the Museum. A major renewal of the Museum's exhibitions and aquarium occurred from 2015 to 2020, in three stages.
The Museum is a research institute, and employs around 30 researchers. While contributing to the running of the Museum, the researchers also study various aspects of Lake Biwa and other lakes of the world, including history, zoology, botany, geology, archaeology, and ethnology.
The Museum's aquarium, one of the largest freshwater aquariums in Japan, includes a conservation center, which breeds vulnerable and threatened species of fish.
The Museum is home to large collections of biological, geological and cultural specimens and artefacts, which are used for scientific research and exhibitions.
The total floor area of the main building is 23,987 m2, including exhibition space of 4,122 m2 and aquarium space of 1,984 m2.