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The 74.8km Biwakosen, or "Lake Biwa Line," is operated by the West Japan Railway and runs along the eastern coast of Lake Biwa from Shiga prefecture to Kyoto. Before the breakup of Japan National Railways in 1987, it was part of the Tokaido Line that ran all the way to Tokyo: now, it is operated separately, and passengers have to change trains at Maibara to travel to points farther east.

The northernmost segment, from Maibara to Nagahama, was part of the Hokuriku Line back in the JNR days. Today, those lines are considered to be part of the Biwako and Hokuriku lines: Biwako Line trains go as far north as Nagahama, and Hokuriku Line trains go as far south as Maibara.

At Kyoto, the Biwako Line turns into the Kyoto Line, which turns into the Kobe Line at Osaka Station. Rapid service trains from Maibara often go as far as Himeji, which is about two hours away on the Kobe Line.

The Hida limited express service from Osaka to Takayama also uses the Biwako Line.

Station         Distance   Transfers
Nagahama                   Hokuriku Line
Tamura             3.0     Hokuriku Line
Sakata             4.7     Hokuriku Line
Maibara            7.1     Shinkansen, Hokuriku Line, Tokaido Line
Hikone            13.1     Omi Railway
Minami-Hikone     14.4
Kawase            19.5
Inae              23.2
Notogawa          26.9
Azuchi            32.0
Omi-Hachiman      35.5     Omi Railway
Shinohara         39.5
Yasu              45.1
Moriyama          48.2
Ritto             50.3
Kusatsu           52.6     Kusatsu Line
Minami-Kusatsu    55.1
Seta              57.8  
Ishiyama          60.3     Keihan Railway
Zeze              63.1     Keihan Railway
Otsu              64.8
Yamashina         69.3     Tozai Line, Keihan Railway, Kosei Line
Kyoto Station     74.8     Karasuma Line, Shinkansen, Sagano Line,
                           Nara Line, Kyoto Line, Kintetsu
(to Kyoto Line)

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