Things to Do | Visit Chiba | Latest update:2022/10/03
Most travel itineraries include a blend of food, culture and fun, and a visit to Tokyo provides a good starting point for checking off those boxes. However, many travelers also want to journey to places far and wide to be treated to new and thrilling sights. For those who want to find discoveries off the beaten path, and perhaps want to snap an unforgettable photo, here are five spots in Tokyo’s neighbor Chiba that are sure to add an element of scenic adventure to your Japan trip.
Tucked away in the Shimizu Mountain Stream Park is a unique sight that many gather to see. Visitors come here year-round to stroll on the walking path and enjoy a bath at the Nōmizo Onsen Senju-no-Yu hot spring next to the entrance to the park. But the main draw in the park however, is a rarely occurring, but beautiful sight. If the timing and conditions are just right, a heart-shaped formation appears when a beam of sunlight shines through the Kameiwa Cave and reflects off the water’s surface at the base of Nomizo Falls. You’ll have the best chance to catch this view on early mornings in March or September.
The Haraoka Pier (also known as Okamoto Pier) in the southwest of Chiba is a popular photo spot, not for its grandeur, but its simplicity, and the feelings of nostalgia it invokes. The sparse wooden frame of the pier goes out only a few dozen meters, and a single strand of lights runs along the left side to illuminate it at night. On clear days, you can see Mt. Fuji far in the distance across the sea, but in any weather, the pier tends to keep a special place in the hearts of those who visit. It’s also been used in sets for commercial clips, still photographs and films, and holds its place as a humble but famous tourist location.
On the far reaches of Futtsu Point stands an observation tower you’d think was a stairway to the sky! The Meiji 100th Anniversary Memorial Tower has a unique layered shape designed after a Japanese white pine. It’s 20 meters high, and is climbable to get excellent views of Tokyo Bay. On clearer days, see Mt. Fuji towering across the bay, and in summertime enjoy the “Jumbo Pool” and campground in the park. It is a good solution if you’re looking to get some time in the park as well as amazing views.
Deep down on the southern tip of Chiba is a unique natural formation. This rock formation resembles a Japanese folding screen, called a byobu, giving this spot its name of Shirahama Byobu-iwa Rocks. The ridged rocks jut out into the surf, and the changing tides reveal and cover different parts of it. Weathering, erosion, and tectonic activity have come together in the perfect spot to make this natural art, and seeing it reminds us that the earth, although slow moving, is alive and continuing to create amazing designs in the land.
Chiba’s Pacific coast is known for both its long stretches of sandy beaches and towering sea cliffs, and in the town of Onjuku you can see the full range of this scenery. Just east of the popular summer hangout Onjuku Beach, you’ll find towering bluffs that seem to rise straight out of the sea, and the Ohazuki Coast is one of many secret coves found nestled along the shores here. The Candle Island just offshore offers a perfect subject for a sunrise photo, and the caves that emerge during low tide offer truly unique exploring. When the seas are calm, you may also encounter awa, female divers who scour the reefs in a tradition that dates back millennia.
1954 Sasa, Kimitsu City
(15-minute by car from Kazusa-Kameyama Station on the JR Kururi Line)
210-1 Haraoka, Tomiuracho, Minamiboso City
(8-minute walk from Tomiura Station on the JR Uchibo Line)
2280 Futtsu, Futtsu City
(From Aohori Station on the JR Uchibo Line, take the bus bound for Futtsu Kōen, and get off at the last stop. The park is a 20-minute walk from the bus stop.)
*Inquire at the indoor swimming pool for wheelchair rentals and written communication for the hearing impaired.
Nemoto, Shirahamacho, Minamiboso City (at the west end of Nemoto Beach)
(25 minutes by car from JR Tateyama Station)
626 Iwawada, Onjuku, Isumi District
(A 30-minute walk from JR Onjuku Station)