Chiba Prefecture borders Tokyo, and much like the talented but quiet kid in a high school group project, it has much of its thunder stolen by its louder and more popular neighbor. For example, despite the name, the Tokyo Disneyland Resort — composed of Disneyland and the unique, water-themed Disney Sea — are actually in Chiba! Likewise, the gateway to Japan itself, Narita Airport, is a part of Chiba too.
However, it’s not all about airplanes and cartoon mice; the prefecture benefits from having an abundance of wide-open space and over 500km of stunning natural coastline. Those who just touch down in Chiba then never give it a second thought are missing out on one of the most interesting and accessible parts of the country.
Here you can surf on the beaches chosen for the 2020 Olympic surfing competition, visit some of the country’s oldest Buddhist temples, and experience some dizzying views from the top of Mt. Nokogiri. There are plenty of culinary treats to be found here too. Chiba is where the vast majority of Japanese peanuts and strawberries are farmed. If you don’t mind working for your dinner, then you can even try your hand at digging for clams on the beach at Kisarazu City!
Close enough to be accessible from Tokyo, but with a distinct, countryside identity which makes it feel a world away, Chiba is perfect for both day trips and longer visits, too.