In 2020, Japan Wonder Travel was given a project by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to promote 14 selected prefectures that have been affected by typhoons. We offered 20 internationals living in Japan, the opportunity to travel to several destinations and share their experiences while travelling and also after.
Trevor – Chiba prefecture
Hello, my name is Trevor and I’m an American who has been residing in Japan for 3 years. I work in education, both at an international school, and at a start-up company focused on education tech. I recently traveled to Chiba prefecture, which is the prefecture next to my home in Tokyo. This was a weekend getaway, and I was most excited to take a break from the concrete jungle and relax in the countryside surrounded by nature. I planned to go hiking and visit the beach.
Tokyo – Chiba
I started my journey to Chiba on a Saturday morning around 8 AM. I left from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. My destination was the hiking trails in Yorokeikoku. After taking an express train to Goi Station, I transferred to a local train line for the rest of my journey. The views from this train were breathtaking, and completely different from what one would see when looking out the window on a train in Tokyo. The train made a short stop at a small station so that passengers could use the restroom. I took this opportunity to purchase a simple breakfast of onigiri, or rice balls. The rice balls came as a set of two and only cost ¥200. Much cheaper than Tokyo.
I finished my breakfast and arrived at Yorokeikoku Station, where I set out for the hiking trails. I crossed a beautiful, red, old-style bridge that led to a shrine. I leapt across a rock bridge to get to the other side of a river. And I went through a tunnel that contained a haunting green light. I was having such a great time exploring and taking in the fresh air, that I missed my train. I stopped in a wonderful restaurant named “Maple,” while I waited for the next train. The owner of “Maple” was Yumiko, and she was more than accommodating. Not only did she welcome me with open arms, but she explained the menu to me, in English, so that I understood. I ordered, and in no time, my lunch was brought to me. It was a ginger pork set, and it was delicious. Talking with Yumiko, I learned that she had previously lived in Hawaii, which explained the Hawaiian theme of the restaurant. As I paid my bill, Yumiko gave me directions to the station and I was on my way. I highly recommend Yumiko’s restaurant if you are in the area.
I took the train from Yorokeikoku Station to Ohara Station and walked around a bit before heading to my hotel at Onjuku Station. Onjuku is a beach town that I have been wanting to visit for some time. It was dark when I arrived and I couldn’t see much of the ocean. I checked into my hotel, The Sayan Terrace and Resort, and it was very nice. I relaxed in the hotel onsen, as it was open until midnight, before calling it a night and retiring to my room.
I was awoken the next day to the sound of waves crashing on the beach. I opened my curtains to find that I was oceanside and overlooking the beach. It was beautiful. There were a few surfers out early to catch some waves.
I made sure to try the hotel’s breakfast buffet before checking out, and heading to the famous Onjuku display. I was surprised that there was no crowd, which allowed for some private photos of this popular tourist attraction. It is also very instagrammable if you are traveling with a group. I then set out for some lunch in Choshi, an area famous for its seafood.
Choshi was gorgeous! The station had beautiful pictures on display and there was a piano that anyone could play. I stopped in the tourist information office and asked about nearby restaurants. The staff was incredibly pleasant, providing me with an English pamphlet of information, and giving me a restaurant recommendation. I headed to their recommended restaurant and ate some delicious makizushi.
Next, I took a local train to nearby Inuboh Station. Inuboh has a famous lighthouse that I wanted to visit. The train was relaxing and Inuboh Station was quaint. People really seemed to enjoy the older-style trains that passed through, and they would stop and take pictures.
After a 10-minute walk, I arrived at the lighthouse. There were many people out enjoying the beautiful weather. From the lighthouse, I could see the nearby beaches. There was a local shopping center, and I stopped in for an ice cream. I soaked in the view a little while longer before making the trek back to the station. From Inuboh Station, I returned to Choshi Station, and then headed back home towards Tokyo. I was sad that my weekend trip was over and that I had to return to the city. I want to return to Chiba when the weather is warmer, so that I can explore some more.
Chiba was an interesting destination. It is often overshadowed by nearby Tokyo as Tokyo has many famous tourist attractions and sites. But Chiba is equally as fun as Tokyo. If the crowds and congestion of Tokyo get to be too much for you, please consider Chiba. You should especially include Chiba in your travel itinerary if you are visiting Japan and looking to enjoy some nature. It is a short distance from Tokyo and would make a perfect day trip. It’s good to clear one’s head with some fresh air every now and again. Chiba is perfect for this. Chiba is also great for sporting and outdoor activities. Hikers, surfers and nature enthusiasts will not be disappointed at the number of activities there are to see and do. Not to mention the food. Being so close to the ocean has the benefit of incredibly fresh seafood. And since the area has a long history of preparing seafood, you are being served by chefs who have mastered their craft. Chiba has something for everyone.
Hotel he stayed during his trip
We were very excited to work with Trevor-san, and all the other guests for this project, and will continue to do our best to promote the less known destinations as much as we can. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram to find another project with us.
And of course, if you need any help to find hidden gems in Japan, Japan Wonder Travel will happily help you out.