The 74.8km Biwakosen
, or "Lake Biwa
Line," is operated by the West Japan Railway
and runs along the eastern coast of Lake Biwa
prefecture to Kyoto
. Before the breakup of Japan National Railways
, it was part of the Tokaido Line
that ran all the way to Tokyo
: now, it is operated separately, and passengers have to change trains at Maibara
to travel to points farther east.
The northernmost segment, from Maibara to Nagahama, was part of the Hokuriku Line back in the JNR days. Today, those lines are considered to be part of the Biwako and Hokuriku lines: Biwako Line trains go as far north as Nagahama, and Hokuriku Line trains go as far south as Maibara.
At Kyoto, the Biwako Line turns into the Kyoto Line, which turns into the Kobe Line at Osaka Station. Rapid service trains from Maibara often go as far as Himeji, which is about two hours away on the Kobe Line.
The Hida limited express service from Osaka to Takayama also uses the Biwako Line.
Station Distance Transfers
Nagahama Hokuriku Line
Tamura 3.0 Hokuriku Line
Sakata 4.7 Hokuriku Line
Maibara 7.1 Shinkansen, Hokuriku Line, Tokaido Line
Hikone 13.1 Omi Railway
Omi-Hachiman 35.5 Omi Railway
Kusatsu 52.6 Kusatsu Line
Ishiyama 60.3 Keihan Railway
Zeze 63.1 Keihan Railway
Yamashina 69.3 Tozai Line, Keihan Railway, Kosei Line
Kyoto Station 74.8 Karasuma Line, Shinkansen, Sagano Line,
Nara Line, Kyoto Line, Kintetsu
(to Kyoto Line)