20 Must-Visit Sightseeing Spots in Chiba Prefecture
Chiba Prefecture is not just about the Tokyo Disneyland that everybody knows, as it is also home plenty of other fascinating sightseeing spots that range from classic destinations up to those well-kept-secret places. Here are 20 recommended sightseeing destinations in Chiba that you must visit at least once!
May 30 2019 (Jan 15 2020)
Chiba City and Makuhari Area
1. Mihama Ohashi
Located in Mihama-ku in Chiba City, Mihama Ohashi (Mihama Bridge) is a popular dating spot where you can see the industrial complex of Ichihara City, the Aqua-Line Gate Bridge, and other spots when you look toward Tokyo Bay. This bridge is apparently called “pick-up bridge” by the locals, but the fact remains that the wonderful backdrop makes the sunset truly gorgeous at this spot.
If you come when the weather is fine, on a day when you experience the radiative cooling phenomenon early in the morning, then you just might get to see Mt. Fuji across Tokyo Bay.
2. Chiba Port Tower
Chiba Port Tower, the symbol of Chiba Port that is known as a sacred place for lovers, is a place where you would want to bring your loved one so you can gaze at the beautiful nightscape together. This spot is famous as one of the three major dating spots for residents of Chiba, together with the Nakanoshima Ohashi in Kisarazu City and the Keisei Rose Garden in Yachiyo City.
The “Tenku no Enmusubi (matchmaking spot in the sky),” which is more commonly called the “Promenade of Love,” on the 2nd floor of the tower is extremely popular with couples! They have even set up an Instagram-worthy photogenic spot “Tenshi no Hane (angel’s wings)” where there are speech balloon panels for one or two persons. Couples get very excited when taking photos with them!
3. Egawa Kaigan
Chiba’s Egawa Kaigan, also known as Japan’s Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni salt lake), is a natural coast where hundreds of meters of tidal flat stretch along the coast. It is a place where you can go into the offing during low tide to dig for clams. It is rather mysterious that there are a lot of telephone poles going far out into the sea, but those have only generated buzz for this spot among drone enthusiasts and Instagrammers.
There are also many factories in the area, including the Kimitsu Works of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, and you will get to catch their beautiful silhouettes at dusk, at night and during sunrise on those calm days when there is no wind. This is a spot that boasts gorgeous contrast between Egawa Kaigan and the factories, sky and telephone poles.
Maihama & Funabashi Area
1. Tokyo Disney Resort
Located in Urayasu City’s Maihama area, Tokyo Disney Resort is a theme park that is comprised of Disneyland and DisneySea. It is a place that is full of dreams and hopes, and simply visiting this resort will turn your frown into a smile! To this day, this evolving magical kingdom keeps on drawing in customers of all ages and nationalities. Here, you can spend a whole day with a smile on your face thanks to the fun attractions, shows, and wonderful views that you can enjoy inside the park.
2. Funabashi H.C. Andersen Park
Funabashi H.C. Andersen Park is a famous park in Funabashi City that is marked by a huge windmill. With different flowers blooming every season, this park has a landscape that resembles Denmark, especially during that time of year when the tulips are in full bloom. It is a Japanese theme park that is famous throughout Asia, so throngs of tourists come to catch a glimpse at its tulip fields and windmills. When spring sets it, this park transforms into a famous spot for viewing sakura (cherry blossoms) and residents of Funabashi come to enjoy looking at the sakura under Somei Yoshino and weeping cherry trees.
3. Urayasu-shi Sogo Park
Urayasu-shi Sogo Park is a place where you can see everything from the Chiba Bay Area to the Aqua-Line if you come on a clear day. It is a leisurely spot that you can enter for free to enjoy the sea and soak in its breeze all day long. Inside this park, you will find Niko-Niko Hiroba that is carpeted by beautiful, green grass. This spot transforms into a day campground where you can enjoy barbecue during summer. It is also home to the runway of the hot Red Bull Air Race, so the park comes especially alive during that event!
1. Inubosaki Todai
Inubosaki Todai is a white lighthouse that has been chosen as one of the 100 best lighthouses in the world. The scene showing the numerous strangely shaped rocks and massive rock formations, and the image of waves hitting the rocks to produce sea spray has been used in films!
Inubosaki, which juts out to the Pacific Ocean, is known as the spot of the earliest and first sunrise in Japan, so it is typically crowded on the first day of the year.
Now if you want to enjoy more of the nature that Inubosaki has to offer, then you should definitely check out the surrounding onsen (hot spring) resorts with your loved one and enjoy the view of Inubosaki Todai as it is illuminated by the setting sun, and the starry sky past 10:00 pm, after the lights at the lighthouse are turned off.
Toyohashi, known as one of the 100 best soundscapes in Japan, has a waterfall that flows and echoes through the streets of Koedo. It creates a sound that attracts tourists who are fans of water sounds and who come for the scenery.
Locals lovingly call this bridge “Ja-ja Bashi” for its overflowing sound of water, while the willow trees lining Ono River make the scene even more special. During summer, it serves as the venue of the Sahara no Taisai Natsu Matsuri that will let you feel that good old-fashioned Japanese vibe.
3. Naritasan Shinshoji
Naritasan Shinshoji is a temple that enshrines Fudomyo-o (one of the guardian deities of Buddhism). For some reason, however, it has become a power spot for matchmaking despite the fact that it is dedicated to Fudomyo of Naritasan, the deity that breaks off all ties. In particular, Aizen Myo-o (deity of love) in the Komyodo Hall is a controversial spot that is said to enhance the vitality of people. Naritasan is a vast place, so you will get to encounter a lot of deities.
The town that was originally built around this temple is also packed with attractions! Naritasan Omotesando is a town that is filled with the aromas of the Edo period. As you walk on the approach leading to the temple, try to spend some quality time by savoring the area’s famous unagi (eel) and soaking in the atmosphere of the temple town.
1. Kujukuri Hama
Kujukuri Hama has become the talk of town lately after it was discovered that there is graffiti of the "Girl with Balloon" by the anonymous artist Banksy on the seawall of Katagai Fishing Port! It has also become famous as the site where they filmed the music videos for “Orion” by Kenshi Yonezu and “Hagan” by Fujifabric. Its beauty has transformed it as a pilgrimage site for fans.
This 66-km sandy beach that is unobstructed by reef rocks beautifully connects the coast from Taitozaki to Gyobumisaki! It is so gorgeous that it is even mentioned in the in-flight announcements on planes. In the summer, this beach is crowded with visitors looking to go for a swim since it is near the Tokyo metropolitan area.
2. Namikiri Fudo-in
Namikiri Fudo-in is a temple that is just about a 5-minute walk from JR Naruto Station. After climbing the stairs and passing through the vermilion Nio-mon (Gate of Deva), you will be welcomed by the towering Hondo (Main Hall) that is painted bright red. On the way to the Hondo, you will see the halls for matchmaking and preventing dementia that are visited by plenty of worshippers every year. The Hondo looks as though it stands on top of a vertical cliff since there was apparently a sea right underneath it at the time it was built. The view from the Hondo is spectacular as it is overlooking the streets of Naruto.
3. Kujukuri Herb Garden
Kujukuri Herb Garden is a place for barbecue and camping where you can relax while being enveloped in pleasant scents emanating from the herbs. Covering an area of around 10,000 sq.m., this garden also has a dog park, so you can come with your pets in tow. The best time to visit would be spring and summer, as these seasons will let you enjoy a pleasant stroll in the garden followed by lunch and dessert in the restaurant that serves dishes made with homegrown, pesticide-free herbs. Soothe your body and soul in the relaxing herbal aromas!
1. Tateyama Family Park
If you go to Minamiboso in early spring, then the best thing to do would be to pick flowers! How about walking from the Chikura Shiramazu Flower Fields to Tateyama Family Park? This park has a vast flower garden called “Hana Hiroba” and it is filled with a million poppies from 100,000 poppy plants, which bloom each March. When the weather gets hot, you can go for a drive in Minamiboso and enjoy the flowers by the side of the road from your car, or head to Tateyama Family Park to pick some flowers.
There is no doubt that you will be healed by the beautiful view of the flowers and the colorful blooms! Inside the park, there is also a sand art on display that is more than 3m tall.
2. Flower Fields of Shiramazu
The flower fields of Shiramazu is an area where you can enjoy picking flowers while basking in the sea breeze and the soothing fragrance of the flowers that are blooming along National Route 410. From January to March, the fields are filled with such flowers as poppies, marigolds and stock flowers, making them the perfect spots for taking photos. There are rows of stores near the flower fields, so you can also buy some cut flowers.
The view from the superb spot called “Flower Line” is truly worth seeing! Expect to be fascinated by the contrast of the emerald sea, the lush mountains and the colorful flower fields.
3. Kamogawa Sea World
Kamogawa Sea World is an aquarium that showcases more 11,000 river and sea animals from 800 species, where visitors will get to watch performances by killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, and Beluga whales. With all the animals housed here, though, the centerpiece of this aquarium is still the killer whale. There are only two places in Japan where you can see killer whales, and Kamogawa Sea World is one of those two.
There are also activities where you can play and swim with various fishes, so Kamogawa Sea World has become a theme park where children and adults alike are sure to enjoy. It also boasts excellent accessibility as it offers free shuttle bus services from JR Awa-kamogawa Station.
1. Kominato Railway
Running through Ichihara, Kominato Railway is a local railway that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017. It is a railway system that is widely famous among photographers and train enthusiasts who love taking pictures of trains. There are many photogenic spots along its route, so it was also used as a location for such movies as “Manbiki Kazoku (Shoplifters)” by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Some of the fun things to do via this railway system is to go to Yorokeikoku during autumn, or view the beautiful flowers of the 100-year-old Oshima sakura that is more commonly known as Yoichiro-zakura. You will get to enjoy the train with the lush nature of Ichihara that changes every season.
2. Umihotaru Parking Area
Umihotaru Parking Area, a man-made island in Kisarazu at Tokyo Bay, is an offshore parking area of the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line that links Kawasaki City (Kanagawa) and Kisarazu City (Chiba). It was renovated and reopened in April 2019 as a building inspired by the luxurious and fabulous cruise ship, transforming it into a spot where you can relax while marveling at the Pacific Ocean. You can even see Mt. Fuji when the skies are clear, so it is the perfect place for going for a drive on a date! They say that if you and your loved one ring the “bell of happiness," which will convey your feelings to your partner, then your love just might succeed.
3. Country Farm Tokyo German Village
Located in Sodegaura City, the Country Farm Tokyo German Village in Chiba is a theme park that has been designed based on the countryside landscape of Germany. During winter, it is so beautiful that people would say it is a must-see if you want to view illumination display. It has been listed as a Japan Nightscape Heritage and named as one of the three greatest light shows in the Kanto region. While it is a place where you can come with your family, as a couple, on a trip with friends or with some other group, the one thing that you should not miss when you visit this village are the flowers in the garden! Beautiful flowers are in bloom here in every season. You can also enjoy barbecuing during summer and launch fireworks into the sky during winter.
Niemon-jima, an island that can be reached in a few minutes from Futomi, Kamogawa City, is the largest island in Chiba with a total area of around 30,000 sq.m. You can cross the island on a charming rowboat in 5 minutes. Chosen as one of the 100 best new sceneries in Japan, it is associated with the Minamoto Yorimoto, such as his burrow and Shoichii Inari Daimyojin. Further, the Hirano family that helped Yoritomo still lives in the island today.
On this island where flowers are always in bloom throughout the year, you can enjoy swimming and gathering shellfish by the shore. It is also home to Yomogijima Benzai-ten no Hokora (a wayside shrine), where the god of longevity is enshrined, so it is said to grant worshippers’ wishes for prosperity and long life.
5. Nokogiriyama (Jigoku Nozoki)
Nokogiriyama no Jigoku Nozoki (Peek into Hell) is a precipitous cliff in Chiba’s Nokogiriyama, a scenic spot that will make you learn the feeling of a Buddhist in training. It is located on the observation platform of Nokogiriyama, which looks like a sawtooth (“nokogiri” in Japanese), that is home to such famous spots as 1,500 statues of arhats, Hyakushaku Kannon, and stone Buddhist images. There are also ruins of a quarry pit called “Laputa’s Wall” that is visited by a lot of people.
Nihon-ji, a temple whose grounds cover the entire mountain, is a spot that is recommended for drone photography. Even though it is called a hiking trail, it would also be a great idea to drop in to feel that outdoor atmosphere. It is a place where you will feel a dose of a powerful charge from nature!
Visit Chiba Now!
Chiba is a place where you are bound to see stunning spots whatever season you visit. When you go to this nature-rich area, just marveling at views that you do not usually see will definitely make you feel such a soothing and calming sensation. So, make sure to check out Chiba and explore its numerous sightseeing spots that can be healing to your soul!
Translated and republished with permission from: Relux Magazine
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.