Yoro Valley, Chiba
Flowers at Minami-Boso
The great Buddha of Nokogiriyama
A region with many faces
In the greater Tokyo area, Chiba boasts beautiful nature and interesting sights, as well as being home to the famous Disney Resort parks and Disney Sea.
Chiba Prefecture is located east of Tokyo, adjacent to Ibaraki and Saitama. Both rural and urban, it holds many treasures.
Chiba is a territory of more than 5,000 km², with 6 million inhabitants scattered over 37 cities and 6 districts, close to the capital. Morning and evening, the trains that transport workers from Tokyo on the Sobu line are crowded. Most of the prefecture is made up of the Kanto plain and the Boso peninsula, bordered by Tokyo Bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.
Higashi Katsushika, the other side of the Edo river
One of the most important trade centers since the 16th century thanks to river transport and then industry, Chiba has a large number of established companies. For example, there's the Kikkoman factory, which produces the famous soy sauce. You can visit the factory to learn all about soy sauce and its marketing (by reservation only, from 9:00 to 16:00; +81(4)7123-5136, free). To enjoy the charm of old Edo we recommend a stroll through the city of Nagareyama.
In Matsudo, take the opportunity to make the yagirino watashi, that is, the crossing of the Edo river by boat, as it has been done since the Edo period (1603-1868). Peasants first set up this system so as to avoid paying for the road toll, and it's continued to this day! Price: 200 yen one way.
Hokuso, north of the prefecture
Every year on New Years Day, thousands of people flock to the Pacific coast from the small town of Choshi to watch the first sunrise of the year. Special trains bring these admirers from all over the country! There's a very long history here, of which Narita-san temple has been the pillar for centuries. Today, Narita International Airport entices crowds to travel to other horizons. To get back to the atmosphere of yesteryear, we recommend that you take a stroll in the small village of Sawara.
Entertainment in the bay area
The modern, bay area is a point of attraction for the whole country and more, thanks to the Disney Resort Park, divided into two parts: Disneyland and Disney Sea. There is also the Makuhari Messe convention center, where the Tokyo Motor Show was held until 2009. The Tokyo Game Show, a world video game fair, is now held there. Large shopping malls like Aeon, Lalaport and outlet stores have also sprung up everywhere. There's also the Marine Stadium, for baseball matches. It's accessible by the JR Keiyo line.
Kujukuri, facing the Pacific Ocean
Beaches stretch over more than 60 kilometers of the arc-shaped coastline, and they're a favorite destination for surfers. International competitions also take place there. You can go there simply to swim, and enjoy the joys of the ocean.
Kazusa-Rinkai, the two-sided mirror
Here, you will see two very different faces of the coast: on one side a very industrial area and on the other, magnificent nature. The large infrastructures that have been created in Tokyo Bay allow easy access. The Tokyo Wan Aqua Line, the longest underwater road tunnel, almost 10 km long, and bridges have also been built, reducing travel time by one hour between Kawasaki (Kanagawa) and Kisarazu (Chiba).
City dwellers come here to seek fresh air, nature and beauty in Yoro Valley.
In spring, azaleas and wisteria bloom. In autumn, it is the place where you can admire the latest koyo in Kanto. Hiking trails have been created, from which you can admire the cliffs and waterfalls of the Yoro river.
Minami Boso, the preserved south of Chiba
This region south of Chiba is known for its particularly mild climate and rich nature, in bloom from January. Fans come to take beautiful pictures of daffodils, summer wallflowers, rapeseed fields, poppies and marigolds. Don't forget to make beautiful country bouquets, to bring back as a souvenir. A very special place, Nokogiri-yama or "sawtooth mountain", culminates at 329 meters. From its summit, you can take in the whole of Tokyo Bay to Mount Fuji.
From this mountain, where stone was extracted for building, temples like the famous Yasukuni-jinja in Tokyo were built there. In Nokogiri-yama the Nihon-dera Buddhist temple was also founded by the Sodo school in 725. But the most formidable sight remains the giant Buddha carved into the mountain. At a height of 31 meters, it's the largest seated daibutsu in Japan. Finally, the Kamogawa Sea World Aquarium will enchant the whole family with myriads of fish and shows.