There’s more to Chiba than commuter towns and Disneyland. Often undermined as ‘that area east of Tokyo,’ Chiba is actually an underrated tourism gold mine; with beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, stunning scenery, history, culture and, yes, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea.
Chiba mostly consists of the Boso Peninsula and the prefecture’s coastline stretches over 500km and boasts a wide variety of scenery. The peninsula is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the east and Tokyo Bay and Uraga Channel to the west. Thanks to its warm oceanic climate as well as the the warm offshore Kuroshio current (black current), Chiba is a wonderful place to enjoy the beach. Head to the balmy southern reaches of the Boso Peninsula for optimum beach weather. For mountains, Nokogiriyama is a site of spiritual significance for Buddhists and offers mysterious statues, nature lined trails, and death defying views that will appeal to the adventurous traveler willing to climb the mountain (on foot, ropeway or by car).
Head to Narita if you want to experience the best of Chiba’s history. The town that shares its name with Tokyo’s international airport has a lively traditional market, historic buildings, and a delicious signature eel dish as well as Shinshoji Temple. People come from all over Japan to visit this stunning spiritual landmark. Thirty kilometers north-east of Narita is Sawara, a canal town remarkably preserved from the Edo period.
If urban areas are more your thing, Chiba City, the prefecture capital, offers a great choice of museums as well as stylishly sculpted urban parks and the world’s longest monorail. In north-western Chiba, the city of Funabashi is home of the adorable mascot Funasshi, an energetic pear child that likes heavy metal music.
It goes without saying that those flying into Narita International Airport have easy access to the heart of Chiba but getting there from Tokyo is an additional attraction. Try driving across the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line, a remarkable feat of engineering. Coming from Tokyo you first enter the tunnel component of the Aqua Line, one of the longest tunnels in the world, and can stop off at Umihotaru island midway where you’ll find a service station and shopping center with views over the surrounding ocean.
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR