Lake Biwa’s Ecosystem: Cultural Legacy and Conservation Efforts in Japan’s Ancient Freshwater Lake

Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake, is highlighted in a recent video exploring its historical, ecological, and cultural significance. The freshwater lake, which has been around for 4 million years, serves as the primary water source for 14 million people and hosts over 70 unique aquatic species. The video discusses the lake’s role in shaping local food culture, the presence of rare freshwater pearls, and artists’ inspiration. However, recent shoreline development and water pollution have posed threats to the lake’s ecosystem. Efforts are being made to combat invasive fish species and to reconsider agricultural practices to preserve Lake Biwa’s environment.

  • Lake Biwa is Japan’s largest and one of the world’s ancient lakes, with a history spanning 4 million years.
  • It provides water for approximately 14 million people in the Osaka and Kyoto areas.
  • The lake is home to unique species, including the giant Lake Biwa catfish and the Biwa trout.
  • Traditional fishing methods like fixed fishing nets “Eri” are still used on the lake.
  • Local cuisine includes dishes like “funazushi,” the precursor to modern sushi, and uses endemic fish like the Nigorobuna.
  • Freshwater pearls cultivated in the lake are valued for their unique colors and shapes.
  • Reeds from the lake’s shoreline are utilized in traditional architecture and crafts.
  • Chikubushima, an island in Lake Biwa, holds spiritual significance with historic temples and shrines.
  • Efforts are being made by local residents to preserve the lake’s ecosystem, including eco-friendly farming practices and educational eco-tours.
  • Innovative uses of invasive fish species like the bluegill are being explored, such as creating low-fat, high-calcium food products for the elderly and animal feed.
  • The local community is actively involved in maintaining a balance with nature and addressing environmental issues.

NHK WORLD-JAPAN is “the international service of Japan’s public media organization NHK.” NHK World-Japan is operated by Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK). The goal of NHK World-Japan is stated as “to promote a deeper international understanding of Japan, introducing the latest events in Japan through news and other programs.”

“Overall, we rate NHK World-Japan Left-Center biased based on story selection that slightly favors the left. We also rate them High for factual reporting due to a clean fact check record.”

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Original video here.

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