JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.69


Lake Biwa - The Largest Lake in Japan -

Lake Biwa - The Largest Lake in Japan -

Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan in terms of surface area and water volume. The lake has been around for some 4 million years and it covers an area of 669 km² , which is roughly one-sixth that of Shiga Prefecture. At its deepest point the lake is 103 meters deep. Lake Biwa is very important to the region as it supplies neighboring Kyoto and Osaka with water.

Since the Jomon period (16,500 years ago), Lake Biwa has been used as a water thoroughfare to ferry countless goods and culture. Around the start of the 1600s, the towns along the lake began to develop economically because of the rising importance for its use as a transportation corridor. Additionally, Lake Biwa has continually dazzled people with its beautiful natural scenery that changes with each of the four seasons. The lake is also one of the most famous spots in Japan for leisure activities such as water sports and fishing, among others.

GSDF Camp Otsu, which is located to the southwest of Lake Biwa, has a unit that is in charge of training new GSDF personnel. To the northwest of the lake is GSDF Camp Imazu, which is home to mainly tank units, including the 3rd Tank Battalion, the 10th Tank Battalion, and the Middle Army Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Unit. The GSDF units conducts various forms of training throughout the year at an expansive exercise area situated in a nearby hilly zone.

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