Chilled Chiba Vibes

Chilled Chiba Vibes
April 19, 2022 Luke Bridgford

Chillin’ in Chiba

Road Trips to Explore Tokyo’s Neighbouring Chiba Prefecture

Just a stone’s throw away, Chiba is located across Tokyo Bay on a peninsula that welcomes Japan’s Pacific coast offering a laid back, alternative and hand made lifestyle experience.

Chiba is surprisingly large and there is allot we have yet to explore. You can be sure to find a variety of beaches, timeless temples, cultural hikes, agriculture, seaside towns, outdoor activities and daily fresh local produce.

What will surprise are the variety of lifestyle businesses popping up everywhere from those who have left the busy Tokyo life behind.  Anything from organic farms, home made treats, to SUP/surf schools, you will find happy people with a simple smile enjoying a slow life tempo.  

Here are our recommended Chiba road trips that will have you coming back and telling us what you found.

Surfing Wave in Chiba Japan

Kazusa & Minami Boso Area

Distance: 80km+

Time: approx. 1.5–2.5 hours (depending on traffic and final destination)

Kazusa Coast & Minami Boso is known for its underground highway that connects Tokyo with Chiba’s mountains with easy hikes into a vast temple complex, housing one of Japan’s largest statues of Buddha & spectacular observation points. There is a variety of local towns offering fresh seafood, sunset viewing and modern luxuries to enjoy.

Kujukuri & East Coast

Distance: 100km+

Time: approx. 1.5–2.5 hours (depending on traffic and final destination)

Kujukuri & East Coast is known for its beach coastline, farmland, organic food and surf towns perfect for simply letting time pass and connecting with nature.  There are plenty of activities to enjoy from surfing, SUP, swimming, fishing, horse riding to various seasonal treats.




Camping Favourites

Kazusa & Minami Boso
Tateyama Club (google maps) | Website | Instagram
A modern “members” style campground located on a private mountain overlooking Tokyo Bay that has brand new facilities in a quiet setting.  You can enjoy glimpses of Tateyama bay and there is a resident goat.  Good for families, pet friendly, easily accessible from the highway and close to local shops.  Camp sites here are a little expensive but the owner “kane-chan” is friendly and an experience himself.

Kujukuri & East Coast
BLACKRAMS CAMPING キャンプ場 (google maps) | Website | Instagram
A small DIY Hawaiian style business along a small town road.  Good for kids, they also have a cafe selling 3 types of burritos, coffee and small gifts. Check their instagram for seasonal shop hours.

Jikkoku Auto Camping Ground (google maps) | Website
Small and peaceful hidden campground surrounded by short mountains found a short 10 minute drive from the popular Onjuku beach. The facilities are basic and clean.  The owner is friendly and there are 2 resident goats.

Ohara Kamibuse Auto Campground (google maps) | Website
Quiet and simple camp ground in a pleasant forrest surroundings.  There are cherry blossoms trees to enjoy in spring and they also provide free fire wood for the cooler months.  

Lovers Rock Car Park (google maps)
Potential Free-Camp car park located along the coast with beautiful views over the ocean and landscape. A simple public toilet is nearby but no showers.  Sunrise here is spectacular and stargazing on clear nights.  The beach has fun rock pools to explore.  Even if you don’t try to camp, its a great place for a picnic.

Other Camp Grounds we like or want to try;
RECAMP Tateyama 館山
Seikai Gakuen Seaside Auto Camp
Onjuku Farm Camp
Nat Park;
Taki Village;
RECAMP Katsuura;  

Free-Camp can not be guaranteed and has risk.
Remember to be discreet and no open fires. If you are asked to move along, please move along. 

Black Rams Camping Sign

Blackrams Camp

View of Coastline from Roof Tent

Lovers Rock Car Park

Splash & Fun Favorites:

Kazusa & Minami Boso
Haraoka Beaches; a beautiful shallow beach offering stunning sunsets and rock pools to explore.  There is an illuminated rustic wooden pier where on clear days Mt Fuji can be seen in the distance.  The car park is free all year round.

Umi Sauna Cafe; a modern private sauna & cold bath facility that overlooks the ocean. Reservations required via the website and include all bathing amenities and a bluetooth speaker .  You can also just visit the cafe deck where they have burgers and shakes.

Kujukuri & East Coast
Moriya Beach; a pleasant calm & clear water beach with nice sand.  There are some small beach houses in summer offering food & drink.  Tattoos and alcohol friendly.  Paid parking in Summer months.

Ubara Beach; our favorite swimming beach in the area.  A secluded beach that is often missed by the crowds.  The beach is shallow for swimming and the water is clean.  There is a picturesque Japanese “torii” gate that overlooks one section of the beach.  Regular locals usually arrive around 10am to set up for the day.  Tattoos and alcohol friendly. Some of the roads leading to the beach can be very narrow.  Paid parking in Summer.
The beach is a short walk from the recently converted elementary school to now campground Seikai Gakuen Seaside Auto Camp.

Onjuku Beach; probably the most popular beach in Chiba, there is a run-down but charming 1980’s resort town feel to Onjuku and matching tourist attractions.  A long white sand beach where you can either join or avoid the summer crowds.  The water is clean and offers options for both surfers and swimmers.

Somewhere that might appeal that recently opened in July 2022 is Eden Restaurant & Spa, a beach club style facility offering a mediterranean inspired restaurant, thermal spring spa & infinity pools over a panoramic beach view. The shave ice shop Fujiya Kakigori across the road is straight from heaven on a summers day.  Take us with you please.

For a fresh water river experience, although not officially encouraged, we have heard of people swimming at Awamata Waterfalls.

** The popular summer season months is generally June to the end of August.  This is also the period where paid parking is usually enforced at popular locations

Aerial Picture of Onjuku Beach Chiba

Onjuku Beach

Torii Gates at Beach at Sunset

Ubara Beach

Other Highlights

Kazusa & Minami Boso
Mt Nokogiri; a great hiking spot where you can find numerous huge stone carved buddha statues and stunning sweeping views.  There are two 50 minute hiking trails to the peak of the mountain.  You can also take a ropeway cable car if you want to take it easy.

Nearby Mt Nokogiri is Jigoku Nozoki; termed “Hell’s Peak Point” is the most famous viewpoint of the mountain. Here your heart will race as you peer down over the sweeping views of Tokyo & Boso peninsula.
** Click HERE for a more detailed hiking trail guide of this area.

Nojimasaki Lighthouse; the second oldest western lighthouse in japan.  For 300yen you can climb the 101 stairs to the top for a nice view.  The surrounding coastline walk is a pleasant short break.  We also noticed some of the nearby town seafood restaurants have good reviews.

Nagasa Highway 34; a great drive to cross the peninsula where you can find famous local sake breweriescommunity markets offering local crafts and produce.

Oyama Senmaida Rice Terrace; inspiring rice terraces surrounded by hills.  Typically Japanese, each season provides a different image with summer being peak green.  The fields are illuminated between October to January.  A good spot for a pit stop if you are crossing to the peninsula this way.

Kujukuri & East Coast
Awamata & Konjin Waterfall; a series of relaxing waterfalls along the Yoro river to explore.  Lots of little fish, amazing colors in Autumn, a popular place to take a picnic.   Some of the tracks can be slippery and the river can be surprisingly deep in sections.

Kannon Bridge; a bright red twin arched bridge leading to a Buddhist temple via tunnel and stairway. Most popular to visit in Autumn during the changing of the leaves.

Man on Mountain Cliff

Hell’s Peak Point

Stone Buddha Carved in Mountain

Mount Nokogiriyama Buddhist Temple

Favourite Surf Spots

The pacific ocean facing east coast of Chiba is known as one of the surfing capitals of Japan.  You can find powerful reef and beach breaks that are popular with both locals and international pro surfers.

There are plenty of places for beginners and you can find surfboard rental shops along the coast.

The surf is generally consistent and it’s possible to find a wave (and weekend crowds) any time of year.   Best season is August through to October, especially if a typhoons is coming through.

We have shared some of our favorite surf breaks on the map

For up to date surf conditions we like the app “Nami Densetsu” which provides great morning, lunch and afternoon surf condition updates with video’s and descriptions.  Sadly, it’s not very english friendly still..

Second best place to check is used all around the world and track swells – website Surf-Forcast.com which is generally pretty reliable.

Sitting Girl looking at Ocean

Umi Sauna Cafe

Surfing Lessons at Onjuku Beach

Surf Lessons at Onjuku Beach

Favourite Food & Drink

Here are some places we have heard good things about.  Remember if you find something special, do tell us so we can share the love. 

Kazusa & Minami Boso
Music & Coffee Shop Misaki; is an old rustic cafe with amazing coastal ambiance offering indoor and terrace seating.  They have coffee, shakes, ice cream and pizza toast.  The food is nothing fancy and is just ok..  It’s all about the view as you look back over Tokyo Bay towards Mt Fuji – a place for a short pit stop. Open everyday (10am – 4:30pm)

Ramen Tateyama Rascal; we have heard good things! Open 11am – 2pm & 6pm – 7:30pm (11am – 2pm only wednesdays & sunday) Closed Monday & Tuesdays

Fukki-an; is a local seafood restaurant that we have heard good things about. Open 11am – 2pm & 5pm – 8pm. Closed Wednesdays

Arakawa; is a local teishoku restaurant we have heard good things about. Open 11am – 3pm & 5pm – 7:30pm. Closed Wednesdays

Yashiki Tenzen; is a hidden seafood restaurant we have heard very good things about.  Maybe a little expensive for Chiba but very good compared to Tokyo prices for the quality & peaceful setting.  Open 11:30am – 3pm & 5pm – 9pm.

Cafe En; is a farm to table organic cafe restaurant in a homely and spacious farm house setting.  The owner was a famous Japanese singer and her husband was an activist.  There might be some unique ideas blowing in the wind here.  Open 10am – 5pm Weekends only

Kozuka 513; is an upscale cafe along route 34 offering healthy and tasty meals in a nicely designed renovated Japanese “minka“. Open 11am – 4:30pm. Closed Wednesdays & Thursdays

Kujukuri & East Coast
Shiki; is a local teishoku restaurant we have heard good things about. It’s located across from the NAT Park campground on a busy road.

Kiku Sushi;  a locals favorite is located near ohara port that offers freshly caught sushi and sashimi.  There is no clear fixed menu and meals cost about 2,500yen. Open 11am – 9pm. Closed Mondays

Meguru Indo; is a south Indian inspired restaurant offering authentic flavors with local ingredients in a simple rural setting.  Delicious vegetarian and non vegetarian lunch sets available. Open 11:30am – 3:30pm. Closed Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays

Brown’s Field; a long time favorite, is a macrobiotic vegetarian cafe set on a small farm offering indoor and terrace seating. A fantastic place to spend a few hours unwinding and wandering the local farmlands. Reservations are recommended as lunch plates do sell out.  Open 11:30am – 4:30pm Fridays to Sundays only.

Edokan Sushi; is a proud sushi restaurant in a very local setting.  The freshness and quality is excellent and you would expect to pay 3x the price in Tokyo. Open 11:30am – 2:30pm & 5:30pm – 9:30pm. Closed Mondays

Kiritoshi; is a sushi restaurant we have heard good things about. Small homely environment that can only fit 5-6 people. Reservations recommended. Open 6pm – 9pm. Closed Mondays

Cafe Jf; is a coffee & ice cream shop we have heard good things about.  Open 9am – 9pm.

Topa Tacos; another long time favorite, a rustic mexican food stand perfect to grab and go or chill out on the outside terrace.  Large burritos & drinks with some vegetarian options.  We recommend ordering double meat as the standard is a bit skimpy.  Open 10am – 6pm.

Atlantic Coffee Stand; is a great local surfers coffee & smoothie shop, a place for your morning hit on your way to hit the waves. They also have authentic meat pies. The owner belongs in a museum as a local surfing icon – nice guy and his friends who stop by are good for a chat.  Open 6am – 11am (6am – 3pm weekends)

Morita; is a local friendly Izakaya ran by 2 chatty sisters offering a great selection of homemade & seafood delights in a suburban environment. Expect to talk to the other patrons. The motsu-nabe, beef stroganoff & sushi is popular and they have a large selection of drinks. Open 5pm – 11pm. Closed Sundays

Yellow Street Taco Shop

Topa Tacos

Healthy Lunch Plate

Brown’s Field

The Visit Chiba website is a great locally managed resource offering more ideas on what to see & do in Chiba.


Returning to Tokyo in the afternoon or evening, especially on Sundays or public holidays can take longer than expected due to traffic. Be sure to check traffic conditions as you go.

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