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Tateyama Trip | Two days in Chiba’s coastal getaway

Things to Do | Visit Chiba | Latest update:2022/11/16

A "Diamond Fuji" sunset as seen from Tateyama City

The city of Tateyama is found on the southern tip of the Boso Peninsula where Tokyo Bay opens up into the Pacific Ocean, and has long been beloved as one of the Tokyo area’s most relaxed seaside locations. It’s here in Tateyama where the mountains of southern Chiba meet the Pacific’s warm Black Current, creating fresh sea breezes and a mild marine climate that blesses this area with an abundance of gifts from nature. The city offers numerous authentic Japan travel experiences, from its temples and shrines, castle park, flower blooms, fresh seafood and produce, and sunset views of Mt. Fuji. The Visit Chiba staff took an overnight trip to Tateyama and were lucky enough to be guided around by locals who helped us discover some of the hidden gems found in this quiet city on the coast. We’ll introduce the spots we visited below.

Day 1 in Tateyama - Enjoy the views at a cliff-side temple, dine on local food, and experience history at Tateyama Castle

Tateyama can be accessed in about 90 minutes by car or two hours by train from central Tokyo. If you’re coming by car, head for the Tateyama Expressway, which can be accessed from central Chiba or from across Tokyo Bay via the Tokyo-wan Aqua Line. For this trip, we started near Nakofunakata Station on the JR Uchibo Line.

Daifuku-ji Temple “Gake Kannon”

Daifuku-ji Temple, also known as Gake Kannon, is built along a cliff face found in the Funakata neighborhood of Tateyama. The name Gake Kannon combines the Japanese word for cliff (gake) and the Japanese name for the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy (Kannon). The temple’s history dates back to 717 when the Buddhist Priest Gyoki carved an eleven-faced Kannon into the bluff. On our visit here, we took the short climb up to the temple which rewarded us with a panoramic view of the city and Tateyama Bay. We also discovered the art work on the ceiling that depicts much of the plant life found in the southern Chiba area, from cherry blossoms and biwa loquats to pine trees and red maple leaves.

Train Access: About a 15-minute walk from Nakofunakata Station on the JR Uchibo Line

Gallery & Café FUNAKATA SOKO

Just about an 8-minute walk from Gake Kannon is Gallery & Café FUNAKATA SOKO, which was built in a renovated century-old stone warehouse. This historic building is one of the last remaining structures here constructed with the prized boshuishi stone excavated from the nearby Mt. Nokogiri. The gallery exhibits paintings of the Minamiboso area (southern Chiba) drawn by local artist Kazuo Mizoguchi. After he passed away in 2019, his family decided to devote this space to display some of the over 300 works of art he left behind. The Minamiboso area is known for its natural beauty, and the gallery here provides visitors with a chance to see these works which encapsulate the region’s character and charm. If you’re looking for a quick break before you continue your Tateyama trip, stop by here. As of this writing the gallery and café are only open from Friday-Sunday. But if your trip to Tateyama falls on a day they’re closed, you’ll still find a place to eat and take a rest at our next stop.

Train Access: About a 12-minute walk from Nakofunakata Station on the JR Uchibo Line

Nagisa-no-eki Tateyama

For the next stage of the trip, we headed for the area around Tateyama Station. About a 15-minute walk from the station is a seaside facility called Nagisa-no-eki Tateyama. Serving as a tourist information center, this stop also houses the Seaside Plaza aquarium, the Nagisa Museum (Tateyama City Museum Annex), and a gallery named after the celebrity fish expert Sakana-kun. The museum has exhibits featuring local folk treasures like the beautifully decorated Maiwai traditional fishermen’s jackets and Boshu uchiwa handheld fans, and “designated national cultural properties of Japan” related to southern Chiba’s rich fishing heritage. The facility also has an observation deck which stands looking over a 500-meter-long pedestrian pier, both of which offer visitors a stunning panoramic view of Tateyama Bay. Take advantage of your stop here to enjoy a meal made using locally sourced ingredients at the Tateyama Nagisa Shokudo restaurant, then head downstairs to buy Chiba souvenirs at the Marché of the Sea market.

Left: A specially-made 'Boshu uchiwa' fan next to a display of the traditional hand-held versions

Bicycle rentals are also available here to help you explore more of the area. These came in handy for the next portion of our trip, a visit to Shiroyama Park and Tateyama Castle.

Train Access: About a 15-minute walk from Tateyama Station on the JR Uchibo Line

Shiroyama Park and Tateyama Castle

Tateyama Castle during the cherry blossom season

Famous all over Chiba for its annual cherry blossom bloom, as well as its other seasonal flower displays, Shiroyama Park wraps around the base of the high-seated Tateyama Castle. Shiroyama (lit. Castle Mountain) Park is aptly named, because as you stand at the base, one of the first things you’ll notice is Tateyama Castle peering down at you from above. But before we headed up to the castle, we first checked out the Tateyama Municipal Museum which displays both artifacts and art from the warrior days of Tateyama, as well as regularly changing exhibits from local artists.

Read more about the park and museum here: Shiroyama Park | Visit Chiba

Exploring the Tateyama Municipal Museum found within the park

Once you reach the castle, you can head up for perhaps the best view in town, and if you’re lucky a peek at Mt. Fuji.  As you look down on where the Pacific Ocean meets Tokyo Bay, you’ll be able to appreciate how the warrior lords of ancient Japan valued this spot as a most-strategic position.

Read more about the history of the castle here:
Tateyama Castle | Visit Chiba

Where to stay in Tateyama

The Shinra resort

For this trip, the Visit Chiba staff got the opportunity to stay at this luxury resort:
The Shinra | Visit Chiba
Other recommended hotels are:
Hotel Sunosaki Kazenosho | Visit Chiba
Maruhei Inn | Visit Chiba
For other recommendations, you can also inquire back at the Nagisa-no-eki Tateyama tourist information center or check out:
https://tateyamacity.com/en/accommodation

Day 2 in Tateyama - Hidden gems: A seaside shrine's torii gate, a massive reclining Buddha, and the city's original seafood

While our first day in Tateyama had us exploring the city by train, bike and on foot, our second day had us cruising along the coast by car.
See rental car information here: https://tateyamacity.com/en/archives/1084

Ichi-no-torii Gate at Sunosaki Shrine

The Ichi-no-torii Gate at Sunosaki Shrine on a clear winter morning

On clear days, Tateyama City is known as one of the best places to catch views of Mt. Fuji from across the sea. No matter where you are along the Tateyama coast, you’re never going to find yourself too far from a Fuji lookout spot. Tateyama’s location along the west coast of Chiba also makes stunning sunsets here a regular occurrence, and for a couple days in both May and July you can even catch a glimpse of the “Diamond Fuji” –a view of the sun setting directly over Mt. Fuji’s summit. For this trip, we headed out to the tip of Cape Sunosaki for a visit to Sunosaki Shrine.

Fuji was shrouded behind the clouds on the day we went, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the unique scenery at this shrine on the coast. The ancient fishermen of this area prayed to the deity enshrined here for plentiful fish catches and protection while out at sea. The shrine’s main hall is a designated cultural asset of the city and is surrounded by a protected mountainside forest. If you’re up for a short adventure, walk along the seashell path and up the 148 steps up to the hall where you’ll be rewarded with a view looking down on the seaside below.

Google Maps Plus Code: XQ94+95 Tateyama, Chiba

Mantoku-ji Temple

Follow the Boso Flower Line around the cape to continue driving along the coast, and in the hills above this road you’ll find one of the world’s largest bronze reclining Buddhas. This monument, which depicts the historical Buddha in his final living moments before entering nirvana, measures 16 meters long, 3.75 meters tall, and weighs 30 tons. The way to pay respects here is unique, as visitors are instructed to first put their hands together while standing in front of the Buddha, circle clockwise around it three times, then touch the emblem on its foot.

Google Maps Plus Code: WRXP+87 Tateyama, Chiba

Tateyama Aburi Kaisendon: The city's original seafood feast

For our final meal of the trip, we made special reservations at the Senri-no-Kaze hotel’s restaurant to try the Tateyama Aburi Kaisendon. This meal is served at four different restaurants here in the city, with each location offering a slightly different twist on the combination of ingredients. The word aburi roughly means to lightly cook with fire–like grilling or broiling–and kaisendon is a meal served in a bowl that’s topped with seafood. The Tateyama Aburi Kaisendon is presented as three bowls stacked on top of each other, with each layer revealing a collection of locally sourced ingredients, including seafood, vegetables, rice and more. A small personal grill is provided with the set giving you the option to enjoy each piece of the meal as you see fit; raw, slightly tinged, or fully-cooked. Only a limited number of these dishes are prepared each day, so to enjoy this most-authentic local meal you will need to make a reservation by phone in Japanese. For information in Japanese check here: https://www.tateyama-gourmet.com/

This thoughtfully crafted and locally inspired meal represented much of what we discovered during our time here in Tateyama. With its natural beauty, rich culinary traditions and deep history, this laid-back coastal city offers visitors a chance to experience many of Japan’s unique charms all in one location just outside Tokyo.

For a complete list of what to see and do in the Tateyama area, learn more here:
https://tateyamacity.com/en/

For the 15-second version of our trip, check out the video below:

Sightseeing Spots

Daifuku-ji Temple “Gake Kannon”

Daifuku-ji Temple, also known as Gake Kannon, is built along a steep cliff face. The name Gake Kannon combines the Japanese word for cliff (gake) and the Japanese name for the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy (Kannon). The temple’s history dates back to 717 when the Buddhist Priest Gyoki carved an eleven-faced Kannon into the bluff.

835 Funakata, Tateyama City

(About a 15-minute walk from Nakofunakata Station on the JR Uchibo Line)

Gallery & Café FUNAKATA SOKO

This space which combines a cafe and an art gallery was built in a renovated century-old stone warehouse, constructed with the prized 'boshuishi' stone excavated from the nearby Mt. Nokogiri. The gallery exhibits paintings of the Minamiboso area drawn by local artist Kazuo Mizoguchi. After he passed away in 2019, his family decided to devote this space to display some of the over 300 works of art he left behind.
Open Friday-Sunday

1422-6 Funakata, Tateyama City

(About a 12-minute walk from Nakofunakata Station on the JR Uchibo Line)

0470-29-3883

Nagisa no Eki Tateyama

Nagisa no Eki Tateyama is an ocean front tourist facility that welcomes visitors from Japan and around the world. It houses the Seaside Plaza which exhibits large tanks of local fish, an observation deck that provides a splendid view of Tateyama Bay, a museum that introduces the maritime folk culture of the area, as well as Sakana-kun Gallery, a cruise ship terminal, a restaurant, a farmer’s market and more.

1564-1 Tateyama, Tateyama City,

+81-470-22-3606

Shiroyama Park

Located near Tateyama Station, this park is one of the most famous cherry blossom spots in southern Chiba. Tateyama Castle is perched atop a hill at the center of the park, offering panoramic views of the southern Boso Peninsula and Tokyo Bay. Nearby, a traditional tea-house is nestled in a quiet Japanese garden. The Tateyama Municipal Museum within the park offers a glimpse at the samurai and civilian history of the region. Walking paths wind around the park’s hillsides, and every nook along the way has something to offer, from the open field and cafe at the entrance, to the plum tree grove in the park’s back corner.

2239 Kamisanagura, Tateyama City

(10 minutes by car from JR Tateyama Station. )

+81-470-23-5212

Tateyama Castle

Tateyama Castle sits in a unique location perched high atop a hill that peers down over Tokyo Bay. Visitors can enjoy a walk to the castle through the hillside paths in the surrounding Shiroyama Park. Once you arrive at the castle, climb up to its top chamber to enjoy the panoramic views of the southern Boso Peninsula and Tokyo Bay. Inside, you'll find exhibits about the "Hakkenden", a series of historical fiction set in the Sengoku, or Warring States period, in which Tateyama Castle served as an important location.

351-2 Tateyama, Tateyama City

(Access via Shiroyama Park: 10 minutes by car from JR Tateyama Station. )

+81-470-23-5212

Mantoku-ji Temple

The monument here, which depicts the historical Buddha in his final living moments before entering nirvana, measures 16 meters long, 3.75 meters tall, and weighs 30 tons.

1571 Sunomiya, Tateyama City

(25-minute drive from the Tomiura Interchange on the Tateyama Expressway)