Just an hour away from Tokyo, Chiba is definitely one of the less mainstream cities you’ll find in Japan. All the better to explore the city when it’s not swarming with tourists, right? Here are 6 reasons why you need to explore Chiba!
1. Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea
Need we say more? Seriously though, two of the best Disney parks in the world are situated in Chiba and this is an attraction you do not want to miss. With Disney’s meticulous attention to detail, a huge variety of rides for people of all ages, as well as parades that take your breath away, we assure you that you’ll fall in love with the park in no time!
Credit: gwaar on Flickr
Plus, Tokyo Disneysea is the one and only Disneysea park in the world!
#HHWT tip: If you’re heading there with your significant other or older kids and you only have time to explore one park, go with Disneysea!
2. Go Strawberry Hunting
Besides being well known for its agriculture, Chiba is increasingly well-known for its fruit farms. Go strawberry crazy at the farm where you can pick as many strawberries as you want in 30 minutes! At Dragon Farm, each visitor is given a milk chocolate/white chocolate dip before heading into the greenhouses. Mmm… We’re drooling just thinking about all that berry goodness 😛
#HHWT tip: If you’re in Chiba during March and April, you’re in luck! That’s when strawberries become a vibrant red and taste twice as sweet. Do check with the farms before heading down as the availability of strawberries is dependent on weather conditions and the season.
Bonus: Did you know that the Chiba Prefecture is one of Japan’s leading producers of nashi (Japanese pears)? So if you’re there during Autumn (end August to early October), you have to experience Japanese pear picking, also known as nashi-gari!
3. Experience Edo Period Japan
Credit: Japan Tourism – Chiba Facebook
Wonder how Japan looked like during the Edo period? See the historic streets of Sawara for yourself, where nothing has changed for the past 200 years. Look out for the former home of Tadataka Ino, who was the first to complete a map of all Japan at the beginning of the 19th century! You can also go on a small boat (get on at the foot of Toyohashi bridge in front of the Inoh Tadataka Museum) where you’ll enjoy the scenery along Ono river that runs through the center of Sawara.
Credit: Discover Chiba Facebook
#HHWT tip: If you’re there any time between May to June, don’t miss the Ayame-matsuri Festival held at the Suigo Sawara Aquatic Botanical Garden, where you’ll find 1.5 million irises blooming on the sprawling grounds of the garden. If you’re there during the Summer and Autumn, you’ll be able to experience “Sawara-no-dashi Matsuri”, a festival with a history of about 300 years, where you’ll see a dozen large floats being pulled through the streets.
4. Smell The Flowers All Year Round
With Chiba’s warm climate, you get to enjoy beautiful seasonal flowers all year round. From cherry blossoms in Spring to cosmos in Autumn, it’s always a good time to stop and smell the flowers in Chiba!
Credit: Discover Chiba Facebook
#HHWT Tip: Spending the cherry blossom season in Japan? check out our ultimate Muslim-friendly guide to cherry blossom season in Japan!
5. Shop Till You Drop At Shisui Premium Outlets
Who says the best places to shop are only in Tokyo? Just 15 minutes away from Narita Airport, Shisui Premium Outlets is the place to do last minute shopping or if you have some layover time at Narita Airport (there are direct buses from the airport). You’ll find a variety of well-known Japanese and foreign brands at discounted prices!
#HHWT tip: Present your passport at the Information Centre to receive free coupons for extra savings.
Plus, the good news is that there’s a prayer space and halal food available at the outlet!
Cafe & Dining Hannari
6. Marvel At The Wonders Of Nature
Go off the beaten track and surround yourself with nature at Yoro-keikoku Valley. With walkways along the river, you’ll get to enjoy the beautiful scenery as you take a little hike. Make sure you check out the highlight of the area – Awamata-no-taki, the most popular waterfall in the Bosu Peninsula. With a height of 30 meters and clear water running over 100 meters down rocks, it is said to resemble a silk cloth spread out.
#HHWT tip: The Yoro-keikoku Valley is one of the best spots to enjoy momiji (Autumn leaves viewing) so if you’re there during the Autumn period, you can’t miss this!
If you’re looking for an adventure in Japan sans the crowd (but just a train ride away from bustling Tokyo), add Chiba to your Japan travel bucket list!