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Benjamin McCracken (USA)
The Lake Biwa Museum is a one-stop place to learn everything about the lake, its inhabitants and the people of Shiga. The museum includes cultural information, artifacts, environmental information, and an aquarium.
The museum is modern and has a beautiful view of Lake Biwa.
The exhibits include displays of several of the fish species unique to Lake Biwa. Lake Biwa is one of the most ancient lakes in the world, so many of the species in it developed differently from species with a shared ancestry.
Dr. Nakai, one of the museum's resident scientists, gave a great tour of the museum. In this picture he explained the formation of the current lake.
The museum has a giant map room that also has many pop culture items from Japan's recent history on display. The map shows Shiga Prefecture.
Dr. Nakai points to Hikone City and the location of the Japan Center for Michigan Universities.
One of the most impressive displays at the museum is an actual farm house from Shiga. The farmer donated the house before he tore it down to build a more modern home. It is amazing how much less water the old house used than the modern one.
The museum also displays a traditional Shiga kabata. A kabata uses spring water and canals to deliver fresh water in a very sustainable way. Kabatas are still in use around Shiga.
This exhibit shows just how much waste water has increased in modern times compared to the way things used to be in Shiga. The exhibit explains the stress this puts on Lake Biwa.
The Lake Biwa Museum has a large exhibit on protecting Lake Biwa's environment.
This exhibit explains how normal people have had to adapt to environmental damage to Lake Biwa.
This exhibit explains how the amount of people depending on Lake Biwa for fresh water has increased over the years. The map to the right is almost entirely lit up. It shows just how much of an important resource Lake Biwa is to Shiga and the entire Kansai area.
The views of Lake Biwa from the muesum are very nice.
The museum also has a beautiful aquarium that allows visitors to walk through a glass tunnel. It is like walking into Lake Biwa.
The museum's aquarium contains many fish that can only be found in Lake Biwa.
Dr. Nakai explains some of Lake Biwa's native species.
Some of the fish in the museum's aquarium.
Dr. Nakai explains how invasive species are affecting Lake Biwa's native species.
The museum has outdoor pools that are also aquariums.
This is a picture of the museum's giant salamander. It is rare to see it move, but we were able to see it swim around.
There are so many different kinds of life that depend on Lake Biwa, including water fowl.
The Little Griebe is one of Lake Biwa's most recognizable species.
The museum has received many awards for helping to restore species in danger of going extinct.
One of the most popular attractions at the museum is an exhibit that allows vistors to touch some of Lake Biwa's fish.
The fish are a little slimy, but it is fun to touch them to see how they feel.
The tour concludes with a display of the world's great lakes.
This exhibit compares the size of Lake Biwa with the Great Lakes in Michigan. The Great Lakes are bigger, but Lake Biwa is much older.
Dr. Nakai gave a great tour and I learned a lot about Lake Biwa and the people of Shiga Prefecture.