Getting Around Chiba
As Narita International Airport is located in Chiba, the prefecture is best known as Japan’s international gateway. Indeed the airport does help ensure that the area is well connected, with a solid infrastructure of roads and public transport to help you get to destinations in Chiba’s idyllic towns as well as its busier cities. Many of these transport options, such as the ferry, Chiba Urban Monorail, and Tokyo Aqua Line, can be as appealing as the attractions you are going to see.
One of the main draws to Chiba is its over 500km of coastline, thanks to the Boso Peninsula. However, the peninsular does mean that some areas of Chiba can be difficult to access if you are coming from Tokyo or Kanagawa prefectures. Luckily, there are regular ferries from Kurihama in Kanagawa Prefecture to Kanaya in Chiba Prefecture, so you can cross the water conveniently while enjoying a stunning sea view. Tickets can be bought at the terminal on a first come first serve basis. A return for an adult passenger is 1,320 yen whereas a return ticket for a car will depend on the size of the car and the number of passengers; expect upwards of 5,000 yen.
The location of Narita International Airport ensures convenient, fast, and reliable train connections across much of northern Chiba. Coming from Nippori Station, the Skyliner will get to Narita International Airport in 36 minutes, and the Narita Limited Express stops at Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Tokyo stations. While fast, these options can be expensive but luckily Chiba is well serviced by local train stations throughout the region. If you have the JR Pass, a pricey but worthwhile pass that allows unlimited rides on JR trains for visitors to Japan, transportation around Chiba is straightforward and affordable. When visiting Chiba city itself, don’t miss out on the chance to ride the Chiba Urban Monorail – the longest of its type anywhere in the world according to the Guiness Book of World Records.
Though Chiba is well connected by public transport, the prefecture is more rural than Tokyo. To access some of the more rural destinations, it is more convenient to hire a car. With sunny open roads and beautiful views, driving in Chiba can be a real pleasure. If you are driving from Tokyo to the Boso Peninsula you can have the added fun of taking the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line. Driving from Kawasaki you enter the tunnel component of the Aqua Line first, one of the longest underwater tunnels in the world. Midway is Umihotaru, a service station found on a tiny island with a five-story shopping center and 360-degree view of the ocean. From there, making the remainder of the crossing over the Aqua Line’s four-kilometer bridge makes for an exciting drive with ocean both sides. Alternatively, several buses across the Aqua Line depart every hour from Tokyo Station.