Things to Do | Visit Chiba | Latest update:2023/04/04
Right down near the southern tip of Chiba, Tateyama City is a top destination for everything ocean-related. Fun in the sun, surfing, fishing, and of course the delectable seafood that Japan’s port-towns thrive on. The accommodating surf shops and ample beaches make it easy to hit the waves, and the various resort hotels, the fully renovated RECAMP campground, and secluded shrines in the hills make this a popular spot to spend a holiday. And there’s yet another, more unique activity to try that we’d like to introduce.
In the hills overlooking the coast near the longest stretch of beach in the area, there is a little-known spot with an oasis (of sorts) of steep sand dunes and greenery, but known to the locals as the best sandboarding place around. It’s a fun hike to the hill, and from the top, one gains a different perspective on the landscape of southern Chiba. It’s almost like a “bonus level” in this already fun-filled area. Once you see it, you’ll be tempted to kick off your shoes and slide down, or even roll or dash down if you don’t mind getting dirty.
A local surf shop, “SURFCO”, rents out two types of sandboards to match the kind of action you’re looking for. One is more like a miniature snowboard made of smooth wood, with foot straps to keep you in place as you slide down the sand. The other is actually a dual-use, foam board for snow and sand, and has a rope attached to the nose you can grab onto for stability. This one is often recommended to beginners, because it can also be used sitting down as you would do with a sled; perfect for kids or riding tandem. The sand is soft and forgiving, making for a smooth tumble while you’re getting your bearings on the board, so start small and low on the hill until you feel confident to bomb down from the top.
The dune has two slopes, funneling inward toward a flat area where you’ll also see people digging or picnicking. While the process of sandboarding and hiking up the soft sand between each descent can be tiring, it’s an exhilarating ride for both new and seasoned boarders alike. Similar to snowboarding, place your weight on your back foot, taking care not to “dig” the nose into the sand. It’s important to keep momentum from the get-go, as it’s easy to sink in and get “hung-up”, sending your body forward while your board remains stuck in the sand.
After a few tries to find your balance and overcome the initial hesitation when staring down the steep slope, you’ll find yourself taking longer and longer rides, eventually going the entire length of the dune! Going straight, you won’t keep gaining speed as much as you do on a snowboard, as the friction of the sand is much more than that of snow. The speed is manageable so there’s no need to worry about “bailing” off the board and rolling into the sand. The board is unlikely to keep going without a rider on it, and will come to a stop easily. It sounds strange but falling in the sand can be half of the fun here!
116-5 Daijingu, Tateyama City
(20 minutes by car from JR Tateyama Station)