Things to Do | Visit Chiba | Latest update:2022/11/04
Many weekend vacationers visit Chiba for either seaside leisure, or for the natural beauty found at one of its many inland destinations. For a “near the station” sort of urban day trip, many will find themselves in Tokyo’s Shibuya, Shinjuku, or perhaps Odaiba for shopping, food, and entertainment. As fans of Chiba, it’s of course our goal to bring you the best outdoor activities and natural beauty, but the area around Chiba Station is also a perfectly fun alternative to the sometimes overwhelming nature of Tokyo. Here we have some ideas for your day in Chiba’s city center!
Your options like karaoke, game centers, and restaurants will be abundant near the station, but how about some classical Japanese culture to start off with? The Chiba City Museum of Art features various works of artists from Chiba, and the permanent exhibit of Hanga (including Ukiyo-e) is a big draw for art enthusiasts. You will probably recognize Hanga as the iconic Japanese style made popular depicting fantastical images of daily life in classical Japan, nature, and also geisha and Kabuki actors. The “theme” of this permanent exhibit changes depending on the season, so the art pieces can be regularly rotated and returned to safe storage. When we went in the late summer season, the theme was “birds and bugs,” with beautiful scrolls and pieces on Japanese paper.
Aside from the actual art pieces, the entrance hall to the building here is living history. It dates back to before World War Two, and is in a sense preserving a physical place in Chiba’s history as well as that of the art that survived such a tumultuous time. This entrance hall is a former bank, and another living relic of Japanese architecture back when western design first began to become popular. Matakichi Yabe was the architect, and his work can also be seen preserved in the cities of Katori and Sakura in Chiba.
Next on our list is the “secret base” of Chiba Station, found not far from the station’s north exit. “Komuna”, also called Tsubaki Mori Komuna, is best described as a nook of nature that acts as a nice community gathering point. It’s an open area with a cafe and restaurant, but also marchés are held there. Sit in one of the tables and chairs around the property and admire the stylish natural layout, complete with tree houses and connecting suspension bridges overhead.
The food is reasonably priced and delicious, served to us out of an Airstream trailer refurbished into a fully functional restaurant. The gentle rays of sun shining through the trees made my chicken burger and Carlsberg beer taste all the better in this cute forest oasis. After we all had a nice meal, we went up into the tree houses to relax and converse, using Komuna as a place of community and interaction as it’s intended. Click here to learn more about this story of the Komuna.
As the evening darkened, we made our way to Chiba Port Tower, Chiba’s highest lookout point! While a bit more quaint than Tokyo Tower or Sky Tree, the souvenir shop on the bottom floor, and expansive views accentuated by the ocean make it an experience you can only get here on the corner of Chiba’s main port. Like other lookout towers, you’ll have a panoramic view of the surrounding area that loops around the building, with coin operated binoculars at the most picturesque points.
It’s a very nice vantage point, because you can see the dizzying expanse of Tokyo, but on a clear day, also far down Tokyo Bay, out into the open Pacific Ocean. Moreover, to the further east you can see patches of green as the view spills out into the more rural side of Chiba away from the bay. With a restaurant just below the panorama floor, this 125-meter tower is a great way to get an eye-full of Chiba.
3-10-8 Chuo, Chuo Ward, Chiba City
(A 7-minute walk from Yoshikawakoen Station on the Chiba Urban Monorail, or a 10-minute walk from Keisei Chuo Station)
1-21-23, Tsubakimori, Chuo Ward, Chiba City
(A ten-minute walk from JR Chiba Station, or a five-minute walk from Chibakoen Station on the Chiba Urban Monorail)
Chiba Port Park 1 Chuo Minato, Chuo Ward, Chiba City
(Walk to this tower in just 12 minutes from Chiba Minato Station on the Chiba monorail.)