I have conquered 45/47 prefectures as of today, and Chiba was my first ever prefecture, and likely yours if you have been to Japan before. Why?
Narita Airport! If you flew in via Narita International Airport, you have officially set foot in Chiba prefecture. And if you have to been to Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea, you have also conquered Chiba prefecture. Despite the “Tokyo” in its name, Tokyo Disney Resort is actually located in Chiba prefecture.
So! What is there to see or do in Chiba, other than these two famous attractions that you have already known? I have a few other blog posts under Chiba Prefecture, you can read all of them here!
Other than Kamogawa, Mother Farm, Inzai, there are aloooooooot more about Chiba for all of us to explore! I recently went on a 5D4N trip to Chiba prefecture and have experienced many different things that I have not even previous heard of, YET there were still places that I didn’t manage to explore.
So, here’s a blog post on the less mainstream, off-the-beaten-path, tourist-free sightseeing spots and attractions in Chiba prefecture. The next time you are in Tokyo or the Kanto region in Japan, do consider spending a few extra days in Chiba prefecture for lots of nature, abundant culture and, affordable shopping!!
1. Naritasan Shinshoji Temple
Naritasan Shinshoji Temple (成田山新勝寺) is the first place I’d like to recommend.
It’s only 15mins’s drive away from Narita International Airport (8 minutes walk from Narita Station if you are taking the train), so if you happen to have a long transit, or some extra time before your flight, please come here to see this historical buddhist temple built 1080 years ago.
Did you know that Shinshoji is one of the Top 3 Temples of Kanto Region visited by over 10 million people each year!
This beautiful three-storied pagoda was built in year 1712.
There’s also a pond featuring a turtle-like rock island.
You musn’t miss out taking a walk along the Narita Omotesando surrounding Shinshoji Temple.
This is the nearest heritage site from airport where you can experience the nostalgic atmosphere of Old Edo.
This 800 meter long road leading from JR/Keisei Narita Station to Somon Gate of Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is lined with shoplots date back to the days of olden Edo. You can fins shops selling pickles, peanuts, bamboo and wood craft. It’s also famous for its many unagi restaurants, typical gourmet of Edo – as Narita is blessed with excellent freshwater fishing.
It would be a great idea to dress up in kimono too for some nice photos against historical cityscape. Quite affordable too!
Yoneya Tourist Center
A 5-minutes walk down from Shinshoji Temple will bring you to Yoneya Tourist Center, where you can have your lunch here and buy some local souvenirs. It has many huge dining halls so it’s most suitable for big groups of travelers.
My lunch was Kamameshi and hot pot! You can also eat Unagi Hitsumabushi here (my favoriteeee)!
Naruto Strawberry Road
Sanmu City, Chiba Prefecture, is holding the biggest Strawberry Picking fest in Kanto Region! From now until May 2019, you can go for strawberry-picking, one of Chiba’s famed farm produce.
You can visit the Tourist Information Centre in front of Naruto Station, and pick your favorite farm for your Ichigogari (Strawberry-picking) along the many Ichigo Farm on Strawberry Road – to your heart’s content!!
Aiba Ichigo Farm
The farm that I visited was Aiba Ichigo Farm.
The day I visited the farm was an extra chilly day, with temperature dropped down to 1°C, I was shocked that the strawberry green house was extremely warm – about 25°C.
Surprised, I asked the farm owner why so, and he answered that the original season to grow strawberries are actually May-June.
I couldn’t believe it. You mean all the farmers in the entire Japan purposely built all these warm little huts in winter just to grow strawberries against the weather?! I. don’t. get. it.
I always thought that once it gets too warm strawberries aren’t able to grow. And the answer was this:
It’s all Christmas Cake’s fault.
Christmas cake is a huge thing in Japan and almost all Xmas cakes are decorated with abundant ichigo – think strawberry shortcake. After that there’s Valentine’s Day, White Day, etc. Over time people just seemed to associate Ichigo with winter time, all because of Christmas Cake. Oh well.
With all these extra effort and maintenance, you can hardly argue that Japanese Ichigo is world best. I think I have said this at least five hundred times but it’s worth to repeat! Haha.
In Aiba Ichigo Farm you get to pick more than 10 different species of Ichigo, including a Chiba-exclusive species – Chiba-Berry, Kuro-Ichigo, a very rare ichigo of dark color, and pinkish ichigo that has a scent like peach!
Choshi City (銚子市)
Choshi city is a fishing town with the largest catch in Japan! If you have time, you can also see the scenes of fish-auction at the Choshi Fishing Port Wholesale Marketplace.
Choshi Electric Railway – Tokawa Station (外川駅)
Tokawa Station is built in 1923, the station itself and the interior remains the same as it was, almost a century ago.
Very retro feel of good old Showa era. The train fare doesn’t seem to have changed that much!
A retro train for photo-taking.
Tokawa Fishing Port
This was one of my favorite spot during this trip.
It’s not a sightseeing spot, but that’s why I love it. Just an old, retro fishing port in Choshi City. just a 10-minute walk down the slope of Tokawa Station.
It’s so quiet it’s almost like you just walked into an abandoned movie set. Slightly nostalgic, a little lonesome. Reliving the yesteryears of a good old finishing village where narrow alleys intersects.
Sights like this is common as you go down the deep slope leading to the port overlooking countless of fishing boats. I wished I could visit a souvenir shop to get a little something to help out the local community but I couldn’t even find one. It feels a almost wrong just leaving my foot print here at this lovely town that healed my soul without contributing anything in return. Apparently soy-sauce making is one of the main business here, so do support and buy a little something if the shops are still open. 🙂
Inubosaki Onsen (犬吠埼温泉)
Inuboh is an onsen town located at the eastern tip of Chiba prefecture, where you can see the earliest rising of the sun on the New Year’s day in Japan.
It’s most famous icon is the Inubosaki Lighthouse.
On the cape that juts out into the Pacific Ocean, the towering Inubosaki lighthouse has been selected to be one of the 100 Lighthouses of the World, and it is also one of the oldest lighthouses in Japan – built in 1874 in Meiji era.
You will climb 99 steps up to the top an get an uninterrupted view of the Pacific ocean.
Enjoy the beautiful surrounding of the lighthouse too.
Inubow Terasu Terrace (Haha I was laughing at the double “terrace”).
I love this place!!!
It’s almost too oshare (stylish) to be in the traditional fishing town. It serves as a marche, a community space, art gallery and select shop to support local community.
The view from the second floor is too gorgeous!
Love the selected merchandise with most being locally made, eco-friendly and natural-themed.
Chiba is most famed for its production of peanut so I bought one of these. It’s too rare to come across Made-in-Japan peanut better!
Senbei-Making at Inubo Station
Before you leave Inubo, try a hands-on senbei making (rice cracker roasting) lesson at Inubo Station!
You will roast your own senbei until it puffs up, is airy and crisp on the outside. You will then dip it for 1 second into the sweet soy-sauce before enjoying it freshly toasted.
It was SO GOOD. You can also buy ready-made senbei but trust me, freshly handmade senbei is really the best!!!
The experience fee is JPY648. Of course you get to eat all the senbei you roast. ^^
I have blogged about Mother Farm 4 years before here!
It was early summer, and this time I am back in early spring. 🙂
It’s still way early, but during mid of Feb until middle of April, you get to enjoy 3.5 million stalks of “Nanohana” (mustard blossom) in bright, happy yellow!! Mother Farm boasts of its largest Nanohana Field in Kanto region!
Apparently this is only 30% bloom. Imagine a full bloom!! You will literally be standing in the middle of a sea of yellow!
Watch this! (From official Youtube Channel)
You musn’t miss out “The Sheepdog and His Friends” show, happening a few times a day at the Agrodome.
Here you get to enjoy domestic animals like sheep, alpacas, donkey, horse, ostrich and pig harmoniously interacting with each other. It’s a super fun show!
Visit also the Rabbit and Guinea Pig house for some fluffy love. You can pet them too!
A ginormous rabbit!
Of course, there are lots of other tame animals for you to feed and pet too!
Little kids are gonna love this visit!
Don’t forget the gift shop where you can find lots of really cute plushies, original T shirts, my favorite are the mokomoko animal tote bags!
Ah. Another thing that you shouldn’t leave without trying is their soft serves.
Comes in different flavors and topping, made with love from Mother Farm Milk!
So yummy ^^
Mother Farm Admission Fee is JPY1500 for adults and JPY800 for children of 4 and above. I can’t believe it is SO CHEAP, for all the nature abundance and healing vibes!
It’s also more accessible now if you don’t drive, you can take the Nonstop Bus Line from Kimitsu Station to Mother Farm directly! 😀
If you are moving about by public transport and are looking for some good, affordable shopping, get off at Funabashi Station!
Just a few minute’s walk away is Japan’s Largest DAISO outlet!! Guess how many floors it has? SEVEN!!!
Don’t come here without a trolley because… you are gonna want to bring everything home. I mean, they are 100 yen!!!!
The things you can find here include all the stuff you already know available in Daiso, plus groceries, seasonal items (such as DIY Valentine’s chocolate kit since it’s coming soon), and moreeeeeee.
The first floor is like a freaking supermarket, all 100 yen. My brain almost combusted.
I remembered DAISO being very practical, quite plain and somehow in not so attractive primary colors lolol. But look at these adorable products!! Can you even believe that all of them are 100 yen???
Shimajiro and Anpanman instant curry for 100 yen wo de tian…
Instant cooking sauces, miso soup, furikake…. all 100 yen.
A lot of you asked me where I get my puzzles. Here’s your answer and my latest collection: DAISO @Funabashi.
A few blocks away is Don Quijote, so you can do MORE shopping. There’s also a BIC Camera nearby so do dedicate a good whole day of shopping here. Plus someone to help you carry your bags.
Tomita Chuka Soba (富田食堂中華蕎麦)
Alright. I love Ichiran. Even though it’s so popular it’s no longer cool. I love it, I admit. But this ramen shop is easily one of the best I’ve had, too.
It’s called Tomita Shokudo, 2 minutes walk from JR Matsudo Station. The funny thing is, it serves ramen. But they call it “Chuka Soba” (Chinese-style soba).
This is actually not the original Tomita Ramen. The original Tomita Chuka Soba in Matsudo City, Chiba Prefecture, boast to take the No.1 ranking in Ramen Database, with a score of 98.68, among all hundreds of thousand of ramen shops in the whole Japan.
Many websites even lists Tomita as the Best Ramen In The World. Sometimes you have to queue up to 4 hours, I heard.
So if you are not keen on waiting that long, the new branch Tomita Shokudo would be a great choice as I was extremely happy with the ramen!!
They also take pride in the ingredients used in the ramen.
For the soup base, they are using 5 types of branded “kampung chicken” from different prefectures. And the noodles are homemade with one of the most famous Hokkaido-produced wheat flour.
The most famous menu here is their Tsukemen (dipping noodle), but I felt like having soup based so here’s my Shio Wantan Chuka Soba. It was super duper delicious.
Please try it. It’s worth a visit even you are traveling from Tokyo.
Makuhari Mitsui Outlet Park （幕張三井アウトレットパーク）
When you think about outlet malls, many people think of Gotemba. Did you know that Chiba Prefecture alone has 3 outlet malls? Chiba is a shopping heaven!!
1.Makuhari Mistui Outlet Park
2. Shisui Premium Outlet
3. Kisarazu Mitsui Outlet Park
While it depends on the brands you like, I think no matter where you go you definitely get to find superrrrrrrrr affordable value buys!! Read my previous blog post on Mitsui Outlet Park Kurashiki to see my shopping haul!
Sales rack for JPY1000 each, but TWO for JPY1500!!😱😱😱
Have you gone insane, Japan!!!
Bought this skirt AND a white knit top for JPY1500.
Shisui Premium Outlets
Visited another outlet, and here I found equally cheap buys too!
Bought two dresses from the JPY1000 rack.
Even newly launched spring collection is all 50% off!!!! 😱😱😱😱 What is happening to this world?!
Legit winter coat for JPY1900?!??!?!?!!
Please don’t get any cheaper, Japan, my heart hurts.
Umihotaru – literally (sea fireflies), is an island parking area in Tokyo Bay, Kisarazu City, which connects Chiba Prefecture and Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the only one parking area + shopping mall on the sea in Japan.
We are crossing the bridge and beheld the most gorgeous sunset. Mt Fuji as the back, airplane landing towards Narita.
An unusual panoramic view of Tokyo Bay. Very beautiful at night.
By the way, it is worth noting that the food court at Umihotaru has a few Halal food option!! I’m impressed! ^^
Sakura City – Samurai Experience (佐倉市)
This was the highlight of my trip! If you love traditional Japanese culture and have tried Kimono/Yukata experience before, maybe it’s time you become a Samurai!
Sakura City, the name “Sakura” actually does not mean cherry blossom, it’s different in Kanji writing – 佐倉, and is actually an old Samurai Town.
Old Hirai House
To get you into the mood, you first get changed into Samurai clothing (available for both male and female!) armed with a toy sword. You will be briefly explained samurai culture and etiquette.
Pick your favorite Samurai color!
There was a local TV interview haha.
And then you will be guided through a Samurai Walk, where you can visit Samurai Forest, a botanical garden showing the life of Samurai in olden times.
After that you can visit REAL old Samurai houses in the castle town Sakura, how exciting!
3 of these houses are open to public. Most of the samurai houses in Sakura were built inexpensively and in as small a size as possible. Each of the 3 houses also represents a different samurai class (upper middle class, middle class and lower middle class).
You will also pass by Hiyodorizaka, a bamboo grove next to the old samurai houses which is a perfect spot for an Edo ambiance. Take lots of photos in your Samurai Outfit here!
Hotel Port Plaza Chiba
This hotel in Chiba City is worth a mention because I was impressed at how Muslim-friendly it is!
It’s a gorgeous hotel with banquet halls where weddings are often held!
Prayer facilities in the room!
Dinner menu was all halal, and really delicious too!
Upon request, they can cater halal meals including breakfast for their guests. I also love how everything on the buffet table is labelled, so Muslim guests can enjoy their stay here worry-free!! ^^
That’s all for Chiba Prefecture this time around!
There are still many attractions I have yet to explore, I’m hoping to go back next time!! ^^