Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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136o 5.00' East 35o 15.00' North
0 - 85m
Year of IBA assessment
Wild Bird Society of Japan
Site description Lake Biwako is 670 km2 and the largest lake in Japan. In addition to Northern Lake (613 km2 - average depth of 43 m) and Southern Lake (57 km2 - average depth of 4 m), which are divided by Biwakoohashi Bridge, there are many shallow marsh grounds called Naiko (inner lake) scattered around Lake Biwako, and they form habitats for wildlife connecting each other. The environmental elements are divided into two parts, a deep and vast offshore area and a shallow water zone along the coastline. The zone is rich in environment with aquatic plants such as Phragmites australis communities, sand beaches, rocky coasts and artificial banks. Surrounding areas are also agricultural fields, forests and urban areas. About 460 large and small rivers flow into Biwako, and sandbanks are well developed at the mouths of large rivers such as the Azumigawa river, the Anegawa river, the Aichigawa river and the Yasugawa river. There are five islets in the lake, Okishima, Chikubujima, Takeishima, Okinoshiroishi and the artificial Kihan-to.