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Cruising through Choshi on the Choshi Electric Railway

Things to Do | Visit Chiba | Latest update:2024/05/17

Sticking to the primary travel routes of Japan, it’s easy to start thinking that all trains are operated by JR. But actually, if you journey deeper, you’ll find countless smaller, independently operated train lines that have their own style and characteristics, serving areas that would otherwise be difficult to visit without a car. The Choshi Electric Railway is one such train line, and allows you to explore the Choshi peninsula beyond where the JR line takes you. While you may not have all the modern luxuries of high-traffic areas, the best adventures are often had along these older lines.

Leaving from JR Choshi Station*, the Choshi Electric Railway spans just 10 stops, making a leisurely arc along the most eastern edge of the Kanto region. The line has been in operation since 1922, and while you can certainly see and feel the age of the train cars and the stations, there’s something special about a slow, bumpy ride through visibly older parts of Japan. Many indeed do ride the train for nostalgia’s sake, and the Choshi Electric Railway sells all-day passes so you can take it slow, and explore what awaits at each rural station.

*How to reach JR Choshi Station from Tokyo:
The Limited-Express Shiosai train departing from Tokyo Station and bound for Choshi Station runs 7 times per day on weekdays and 4 times per day on weekends and holidays. The ride takes less than 2 hours.

Iinuma Kannon at Kannon Station

Just two stops from Choshi is Kannon Station, getting its name from the Buddhist deity at the nearby Enpuku-ji Temple: Iinuma Kannon. The temple hall and five-story pagoda on the grounds make for a stunning sight within the city, especially on fine weather days when their vivid colors stand against the clear blue sky.

The temple is part of the Bando Kannon Pilgrimage, a series of 33 Kannon temples in eastern Japan that was established early in the Kamakura Period (1192 to 1333). Iinuma Kannon’s inclusion in the 1,300-km-long pilgrimage route was key in the development of Choshi as an influential temple town.

Inubosaki Lighthouse at Inubo Station

The most popular stop along the railway is Inubo Station, the closest station to the Inubosaki Lighthouse. The lighthouse stands at the end of Cape Inubo, the easternmost point of the Kanto region and a location that offers some of the most idyllic seaside scenery in the Tokyo area.

This Western style lighthouse was constructed in 1874 by English architect Richard Henry Brunton, and is ranked on the IALA’s list of 100 lighthouses in the world that are historic and architectural monuments. At a height of 31.57 meters, it is the second tallest brick building currently standing in Japan. Climb the 99 steps of the corkscrew staircase for a panoramic view of the cape jutting out into the ocean.

The “INUBOW TERASU TERRACE” market next to the lighthouse is a great place to stop for a meal and pick up some souvenirs. Visitors here can enjoy a meal from Seaside Terrace, and wash it down with a locally made Choshi Lighthouse Cola, or Choshi Beer. Choshi-based merchants sell various goods and crafts on the first floor, while local food products and other souvenirs are sold on the second floor.

Last Stop at Tokawa Station

Just one stop down from Inubo Station is the end of the line: Tokawa Station. The Tokawa area retains much of its traditional Japanese fishing village feel, and perhaps the landmark that best represents the area’s aesthetic is this station. The wooden station building was constructed in 1921, and an over 70-year-old restored “Deha 801” train car sits parked outside.

Although it isn’t geared toward tourists like the neighboring Cape Inubo area, Tokawa is a great place for those who like to set off on their own and explore. Over 350 years ago settlers from western Japan began relocating to Tokawa, attracted by the bountiful seas beyond its shores. The Tokawa townscape, or machinami, is known for its charm and character; almost no space goes unused along the narrow streets and alleys that occupy the hillsides that overlook the fishing port.

Seafood & Local Snacks

Choshi also has long been one of Japan’s major fishing port cities. In fact, the annual fish catch that crosses through Choshi Fishing Port has ranked number-one in Japan for the last 12 years in a row (2011-2022). Click the following link for our guide on eating seafood in Choshi, which includes a stop at the Donburiya Shichibe restaurant, located near Kannon Station:
Enjoy Seafood in Choshi – Fresh from Chiba’s Top Port! | Visit Chiba

As we mentioned earlier, the “INUBOW TERASU TERRACE” is a popular place for visitors to grab a meal in Choshi, but if you’re looking to enjoy a bite a bit off the beaten path, you’ll find a family-run tofu shop at Tokawa Station. The Sakakibara Tofu Shop not only provides standard blocks of tofu to its customers, but also appeals to newcomers with unique tofu-based sweets. We tried the “tofu pudding”, which many social media figures have recently come seeking photos of. Reasonably priced and delicious, it’s a great example of how a local shop attaches extra appeal to their product, making themselves a humble destination for food tourism.

On the note of food tourism, all along the Choshi Electric Railway, you’ll find ‘nuresenbei,’ which is a slightly different form of the senbei rice crackers eaten all over Japan. “Nure” literally means “wet”, and this refers to the sauce braised on the senbei as it finishes cooking. In addition to the extra burst of flavor, the sauce adds a touch of softness to the cracker’s satisfying crunch. Many come ride the Choshi Electric Railway looking for this snack at one of the many shops along the route, and it has actually been a helpful source of revenue for the train line.

Where to Stay & Other Recommendations

Stay on Cape Inubo at the Inubosaki Hotel.
Learn more here: Away from it all, and closer to the sun: Inubosaki Hotel | Visit Chiba

Cruising Around on rental bikes is another great way to explore Choshi.
Learn more here: Rental Bicycles in Choshi City | Visit Chiba

If you’re looking for a real ocean adventure, consider a Choshi Kayak’s tour:
Learn more here: Choshi Kayaks: An Ocean Adventure | Visit Chiba

Sightseeing Spots

Choshi Electric Railway (Choshi Station)

The Choshi Electric Railway train line serves the far edge of the Choshi peninsula, giving access to the smaller communities in this famous fishing region. Known also for their signature treats like "nure-senbei", this retro rail experience can show you all the secrets Choshi has to offer.

1438 Nishishiba Town, Choshi City

(Transfer to the Choshi Electric Railway from the JR Sōbu Main Line at Choshi Station)


Iinuma Kannon

Enpuku-ji Temple, also known as Iinuma Kannon, has a history that dates back to 728, and is part of the Bando Kannon Pilgrimage. Iinuma Kannon's inclusion in the 1,300 km long pilgrimage route was key in the development of Choshi as an influential temple town.

Enpuku-ji Temple, 1-1 Babacho, Choshi City

(About a five-minute walk from Kan-non Station on the Choshi Electric Railway.)


Inubosaki Lighthouse

This lighthouse is ranked on the IALA's list of 100 lighthouses in the world that are historic and architectural monuments. Climb the 99 steps of the corkscrew staircase for a panoramic view of Cape Inubo jutting out into the ocean.

9576 Inubosaki, Choshi City

(About a ten-minute walk from Inubo Station on the Choshi Electric Railway.)

Sakakibara Tofu Shop

Just down the coast from Choshi Station on the Choshi Railway, there's a quiet fishing village called Tokawa. It’s a comforting pocket of old Japan. In contrast to chain stores and fast food that dominate city life, Sakakibara Tofu Shop still sells small-batch tofu. Adding a little twist never hurts, though, and Sakakibara Tofu has adapted its product to the modern day by selling unique "tofu sweets", sparking a small social media boom right in the village of Tokawa. The "soy milk pudding" has helped introduce younger people to the joys of this healthy, low-cost food, and many make the trip to sample it, but also find themselves captivated with the neighborhood as well.

2-10927 Tokawa Town, Choshi City

(About 5 minutes on foot from Tokawa Station on the Choshi Electric Railway)


Inubosaki Hotel

Located on the easternmost point of the Kanto region, Inubosaki Hotel boasts one of the earliest sunrises in all of Japan (except for mountaintops and remote islands), and some amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy Choshi City's premium seafood with dinner and breakfast, and relax in the natural hot spring overlooking the sea.

9574-1 Inubohsaki, Choshi City

(From JR Choshi Station, take the Choshi Dentetsu Line to Inubo Station. The hotel is a 7-minute walk from there.)



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