Biwa (bēˈwä) [key], lake, c.40 mi (60 km) long and from 2 to 12 mi (3.2–19 km) wide, Shiga prefecture, S Honshu, Japan. The lake, shaped like the biwa, a musical instrument, is the largest in Japan and is a popular scenic resort. It abounds in fish, harbors a pearl culture industry, and is famous in Japanese legends. Canals from the lake to Kyoto provide water supply and a transportation route.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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