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All reviews sukiyaki mochi making chicken his wife local family bike ride train station wonderful guide tea ceremony unique experience host family an adventure signed up traditional japanese house english speaking guide first stop electric bikes
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Reviewed 1 week ago

Our visit to the Kosaka's rice farm in Shiga was a highlight of our recent trip to Japan. We thoroughly enjoyed mochi-making but there was so much more to this tour. We began with a memorable visit to a local Shinto shrine where our excellent guide, Saori, explained different aspects of Shintoism. It was such a quiet, atmospheric place to visit and a nice contrast to the large, busy shrines and temples we visited elsewhere. The host family were most welcoming and Saori's excellent translation skills enabled us to have a good conversation with them, gaining insight into their lives and their wonderful sense of humour. The sukiyaki they prepared for us was delicious - we will be attempting to make our own version! We felt we gained a real understanding of rural life and culture and learned something of the difficulties rural communities face, problems we recognise at home. This was one of those times when travelling when you feel you make a connection with the people of your host country. A truly memorable experience - thank you so much.

Thank GoPlaces40489805822
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

This tour was our absolute favorite and we have been in Japan for awhile now (20 days total). Shino, our host was very knowledgeable and sincere. She made sure we were comfortable, happy, and answered any questions we had about Japan and the surrounding area. Ikai and her family were so gracious to have us in their home. The food was probably the best home cooked meal you'll have during your stay and the views around lake Biwa by bicycle were tranquil and beautiful. Overall, this tour is highly recommended and definitely worth it! Thank you for an amazing day!

Thank Mandy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Our family (11 people including 4 small children) just returned from a trip to Japan - and our experience with Tour de Lac's Lake Biwa/Mochi Making tour was one of our favorite days on the trip. Mr. and Mrs. Kosaka were incredibly generous and kind in welcoming us into their home and showing us a slice of farming life - and the mochi making was so much fun! Our guides (Keiko, Saori, and Hiromi) anticipated our every need, were very knowledgeable and informative, took and sent several pictures of our tour to us, and even assisted with the children so the parents could more fully engage with the tour experience. They even went out of their way to provide a special birthday cake and gift to my 10-year old niece - who proclaimed it the "best birthday ever!"

Thank Jess M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This is the second time we have taken a tour with Tour du lac Biwa. We were so happy with this tour and found the craftsman fascinating. This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity that shouldn't be missed. It was a perfect day and we enjoyed the Soba lunch too!

Thank HaveTrunk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

I cannot talk highly enough about this excellent tour. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us, and we’re glad that we made that smart decision to take this tour with Tour du Lac.
I emailed to the Tour du Lac 3 weeks before our departure and they respond to us immediately. Before 10 days before our tour, we were asked whether we have any food allergies, our heights to accommodate us with the appropriate bike then get informed about which train to take from Kyoto with the name of our local guide. The day of our tour (which was a beautiful and sunny autumn day) our lovely guide Shino was waiting for us with our bicycles and helmets and an assistant who picked-up our extra items such as sweaters and extra bag until the end of our cycling tour. We strolled around the lake and the village and stopped by the Lake Biwa to get information as well in a Shinto shrine. Our guide Shino, who speaks perfect English, informed us about the Shintoism, we even drew a fortune telling stick and get that read by her. Then we stopped by a local sake factory. From there, we gave back our bicycles and took a taxi to the village of Hata to meet our lovely host Mrs. Sawaii who cooked for us an excellent lunch. As I said before this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us; spending time in this beautiful village, learning how to cook Japanese food from a 80-year-old lady in her own house. I believe that we learnt so much about our cultures in this 2.5-hour intercultural exchange. I must say that this tour was the most memorable part of our 10-day-trip to Japan. We left the village of Hata and Mrs. Sawaii’s home with fond memories that we’re going to cherish for rest our lives. Therefore, I highly recommend this 1-day-tour to everybody who’s visiting nearby cities like Kyoto and Osaka.

1  Thank AyseA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

My husband and I took a electric bike tour of Lake Biwa and the surroundings with a wonderful guide, Shino. The tour included biking along the lake and through the rice paddies and town and then lunch with a local family at their home. It was a spectacular experience from start to finish. The bikes are easy to operate and fun to ride and allow you to travel much further than you would regularly be able. The guide answered questions we had along the way and was patient with our frequent photo stops. Having lunch with a local woman in her home was a fantastic treat. She had us help her prepare a few dishes and we talked for a long while with our hostess, guide, and tour manager during lunch about ours lives, families and the way we live. There are so many similarities among the differences in our lives. Before we left we toured our host’s garden and learned about the crops she uses in her cooking. Lunch was absolutely delicious and the company superb. We would highly recommend the tours organized by this company. They allow you to Truly experience a village and the people who make the village their home. Everyone was so friendly and kind.

Thank kcgraceBrooklyn_nyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LacBiwa, マネージャー at Tour du Lac Biwa, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Thank you so much for posting such an excellent review! We also enjoyed attending your tour and delightful conversations we exchanged in which we found many things in common. We hope you would have a chance to share the recipes with your daughter. Again, thank you for choosing our tour. All the best from Shino & Hiromi

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Excellent opportunity to learn about the craft and to connect with the master craftsmen and their families. Our guides were very knowledgeable and personable. We were very curious about where the materials came from and the methods used and the craftsmen were very open and accommodating in answering our questions. This experience gave us a depth of knowledge that lead to a better understanding of the role of master craftsmen such as these in the restoration and preservation of historic architecture in Japan.

Thank Kiyoshi1952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LacBiwa, マネージャー at Tour du Lac Biwa, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Thank you so much for joining our roof masters tour. It is such a rare chance to peep behind the scenes of the workshops which support the UNESCO class temples/shrines, and we are glad you fully enjoyed the experience with the craftsmen and our guide. We also appreciate your wonderful review! Please take care and hope to see you again.

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Words cannot express how lovely this experience was. From Keiko's warm welcome at the station until her waves goodbye when we departed, each moment of this tour was beautiful. We enjoyed learning about various rice styles, hearing about local history, pounding mochi and eating the most delicious sukiyaki lunch ever. I even loved eating the natto stuffed mochi - something Mr. Kosaka says will give extensive longevity to one's life! The Kosakas are eager to share their traditions and generous in opening their home and hearts. I whole-heartedly recommend this tour.

Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Thank Melissa C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LacBiwa, マネージャー at Tour du Lac Biwa, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Thank you so much for the wonderful review, Melissa-san. We really enjoyed hosting your tour and appreciate for your very kind gesture trying to post this review (that didn't work) until it finally appeared. We hope your dream will come true and meet you again in Japan soon. Until then, please take care! With warmest regards from Tour du lac members.

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Reviewed September 30, 2018 via mobile

We booked the artisan roof workshop tour and had high expectations... and we were still completely blown away by the craftsmanship of these masters. Beyond that, we also felt very fortunate to have Misako be our tour guide. It was a pleasure to spend the day with her and she shared her knowledge of the Otsu region and history which further enriched our experience in Sakamoto. Thank you for such an amazing experience! It was definitely one of the greatest highlights to our trip to Japan!

1  Thank Holly B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LacBiwa, マネージャー at Tour du Lac Biwa, responded to this reviewResponded October 10, 2018

Thank you for posting a great comment on our tour. The roof masters are eager to devise the display and demonstration to show the process more clearly, so we are glad to know that you had a wonderful experience with them and our super tour attendant Misako.
Hope you had a nice flight back home. All the best from Hiromi & Misako

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Reviewed September 29, 2018 via mobile

Do not miss this tour. It is authentic Japanese culture at its best. The Kosaka Family was the most warm and welcoming family. The village is beautiful with so much history and a testament to Japanese family values. Misako was the BEST tour guide and both her and Hiromi waited for us at the station for an hour because we got lost. They were so happy to see we were ok they hugged us and adjusted the tour to ensure we still get the full experience. JUST DO IT! It was amzing!!

1  Thank Michelle T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LacBiwa, マネージャー at Tour du Lac Biwa, responded to this reviewResponded October 10, 2018

Thank you so much for taking time to post the review. We were so happy to have met you at the station that we couldn't help but hug you. And we also appreciate for telling us a lot about your country, they story on mixed raced culture was eye-opening. We hope you had a smooth journey after us and fully enjoyed traveling around Japan. All the best from Hiromi & Misako

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