There are more things to do in Chiba than just Tokyo Disneyland. Experience a peaceful and relaxing getaway with this Chiba itinerary, chock-full of food and cultural experiences.
Japan has too much to experience in one visit. Case in point: There’s our 30-day Japan itinerary, which if you ask us, only touches the metaphorical tip of Mount Fuji. The best thing about Japan is that every season has its own host of unique sights and experiences that warrant repeated visits.
But to most, Japan is only Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto, and at some point eventually, you’re gonna want to eat, see and do more than that!
Chiba is just one hour from Tokyo, but is rarely a contender amongst the big boys. That’s a real shame because it offers some of the most splendid, non-touristy experiences you could find this close to Tokyo. It’s even nearer to Narita Airport than Tokyo is!
Another thing great about Chiba? You don’t have to plan a two-week holiday to justify this pitstop. Just five days in your Tokyo itinerary will be enough to get you head over heels with this idyllic destination! Read on for the full rundown of our Chiba itinerary.
4D3N Chiba Itinerary Road Trip Route
Check Flights to Tokyo (Narita Airport)
Surprise, surprise. The nearest airport for this Chiba itinerary is Narita International Airport, which you can easily fly to with all the major international airlines. Check your flight prices here:
Can’t see the widget above? Check flights from Singapore to Tokyo (Narita).
Read also: Ultimate Narita Travel Guide — Best Things To Do In The Chiba Region During Your Tokyo Layover
Day 1: Choshi & Katori
Naritasan Shinshoji Temple (成田山新勝寺)
After settling your pre-trip essentials like SIM Card/WiFi and car rental, you can start your day immediately at the Naritansan Shinshoji Temple just 15 minutes from Narita Airport — that’s also why it’s popular with transiting visitors!
With over a thousand years of history, the temple holds great significance as its unique architecture reminds people fondly of the Edo period — the final years of traditional Japan government.
Outside the temple lies a long row of shops selling Japanese snacks, trinkets and everyone’s favourite Japanese soft serve! There are several shops offering these delightfully refreshing cones (or cups if you prefer), but the one from Narita Dream Farm is one of the more popular options.
Entrance Fee: Free
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Address: 1 Narita, Chiba 286-0023, Japan
Lunch at Maiwai (まいわい)
Do your first meal in Japan right. Located at Choshi Port, Maiwai’s fresh kaisendon seafood bowls range from just tuna sashimi to a delectable mix of swordfish, sea bass, bonito, tuna and flounder. Sashimi lovers, knock yourselves out!
Opening Hours: 8AM – 2PM
Address: 186 Iinumacho, Choshi 288-0051, Chiba Prefecture
Wet Rice Cracker Roasting Experience
Learn the art of roasting nure senbei rice crackers at the Choshi Electric Railway-Inubo Station. It’s not as easy as it looks!
It takes precision to pick up the slippery fella with your tongs and flip it over the grill. And when it starts to puff up, it’s a race against time to flatten the cracker for the perfect outcome. Once it attains a golden brown tan, that’s when it’s ready for its baptism in the glistening pot of soy sauce. Yum.
Workshop Hours: 10AM – 3:30PM (Shop opens 9AM – 5PM)
Address: 9595-1 Inubosaki, Choshi-shi, Chiba
The 31m-tall lighthouse rests on Cape Inubō, in the city of Chōshi. Just a 10-minute walk from Choshi Electric Railway-Inubo Station, the Inubosaki Lighthouse is a popular spot where locals and tourists gather to catch the first glimpse of the sunrise in Japan (excluding mountainous areas).
Together with its majestic ocean front, the white lighthouse and surrounding landscape make for great photos!
Opening Hours: 8:30AM – 4PM
Address: 9576 Inubosaki, Choshi, Chiba 288-0012, Japan
Glamping at The Farm
You should absolutely make this a stop in your Chiba itinerary! This doubled as our accommodation for the night — glamping in the countryside, stargazing beneath the quiet night sky, and barbecuing your dinner* right outside your luxurious tent. And of course, the Japanese experience: an onsen just metres from your abode!
The Farm offers a package that provides a private cottage (two pax) with onsen and vegetable harvesting experiences included (meals not included, though).
After a sumptuous dinner at the on-site restaurant, relax in the onsen‘s alkaline spring water that has smoothening properties. The onsen‘s open to day visits too, if you don’t plan to stay the night.
Which ever you choose, you can be assured it’s 100% IG-worthy.
If you’re staying for two nights, try their BBQ sets (from ¥2,000) for lunch*! With a variety of options ranging from curry rice and seafood platters to premium sets with an assortment of meat cuts, there’s something for every palate.
*Night BBQ available from 6PM – 9PM for groups larger than 20 pax.
Cost: From ¥16,000/night for a private cottage (two pax)
Day 2: Futtsu, Kyonan & Kisazaru
Hop on a tractor tour around Mother Farm and get acquainted with alpacas, llamas, cows, sheep, sheepdogs, ostriches and more. You even get to feed the adorable llamas and fluffy sheep!
Don’t miss out on the one of the farm’s regular performances, the Agrodome Sheep Show. It’s basically like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show but with fluffier models from around the globe.
If you’re visiting during the flowering season, don’t forget to grab a soft serve and wander through the endless field of flowers.
Cost: ¥2,700 (Admission + Tractor Tour)
Opening Hours: 9:30AM–4:30PM, 9AM–5PM (weekends & PH) from Feb to Nov. 10AM–4PM, 9:30AM–4PM (weekends & PH) from Dec to Jan.
Address: 940-3 Tagura, Futtsu, Chiba 299-1601, Japan
Lunch at The Fish
Indulge in freshly prepared seafood by the Tokyo Bay from ¥1,200. Less than 10 minutes from Mount Nokogiri, The Fish is the perfect no-frills lunch stop before heading up the mountain.
On a sunny day, take your lunch outside instead and enjoy the ocean breeze!
Opening Hours: 11AM – 5:30PM
Address: 2288 Kanaya, Futtsu, Chiba 299-1861, Japan
Famous for being a site of heavy quarrying during the Edo period, much of what was extracted from Mount Nokogiri has gone into constructing Odaiba in Tokyo Bay.
In fact, the signature “saw-toothed” mountain that we see today is the result of the extraction of the natural rocks!
Entrance Fee: ¥600
Opening Hours: 8AM – 5PM
Address: 4052-1 Kanaya, Futtsu 299-1861, Chiba Prefecture
Umihotaru Parking Area
Check out the Umihotaru Parking Area, famous for its 360-degree view of Tokyo Bay. The parking area is surrounded by nothing but water and is possibly the only shopping mall in the middle of the sea!
The artificial island stands at five storeys tall, with levels one to three dedicated for parking space and levels four and five for shops and restaurants.
Cost: Free (excluding toll charges — ¥800 with ETC)
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Address: Umihotaru Parking Area, Nakajima chisaki, Kisarazu city, 292-0071
Mitsui Outlet Park, Kisazaru
You won’t miss out on great shopping with this Chiba itinerary. Shop till you drop at Japan’s largest outlet mall!
It’s easy to lose track of time in this ginormous compound, so be sure to grab a map from the visitor centre to maximise your time at the Mitsui Outlet Park. And, don’t forget to flash your discount coupons and bring your passport along for tax refunds!
Entrance Fee: Free
Opening Hours: 10AM – 8PM
Address: 3-1-1 Kaneda-Higashi, Kisarazu-shi, Chiba
Dinner at Shiraishi
A5 is the highest grade given only to the finest cuts of beef, including the Chiba-exclusive Kazusa Wagyu. No need to be a food connoisseur — the wagyu melts in your mouth all the same. I wouldn’t describe this meal as anything less than completely and utterly satisfying.
Cost: From ¥5,000
Opening Hours: 5PM – 10:30PM, closed on Mondays
Address: 1-10-18 Sotominowa, Kimitsu 299-1173, Chiba Prefecture
Accommodation: Kisarazu Washington Hotel — ~¥7,500/night (two pax)
Day 3: Ichihara, Chiba & Funabashi
Blueberry Buffet at Ezawa Fruits Land
From mid-July till September, Ezawa Fruits Land opens its doors for an all-you-can-eat blueberry buffet at just ¥1,000 for adults and ¥500 for children!
The best part about this buffet? No time limit! With over 1,500 organically-grown blueberry shrubs to pick from, you’re in for a good dose of the delicious and sweet fruit.
Cost: ¥1,000 (includes a 100g take-home pack)
Opening Hours: 9AM – 5PM
Address: 292-0201 Chiba Prefecture Kisarazu City Mariyatsu 3832
Cafe Zuiko & Kofukuzenji Temple
This Buddhist temple in Ichihara Japan is where people come to practice the art of Zen meditation. From arriving at your seat to positioning your hands and attaining the right posture, you’ll be guided through the intricacies of practicing Zazen, which translates to “seated meditation”. A full meditation session lasts 45 minutes.
Head over to Cafe Zuiko for your some post-meditation fuel! Lunch sets go for ¥1,300 and they include a main, salad and dessert.
Opening Hours: 11AM – 3:30PM (last orders at 2PM), closed on Mondays & Tuesdays
Address: 1097 Saze, Ichihara, Chiba 290-0229, Japan
Enjoy a peaceful stroll through the tranquil garden of Mihama-en. It’s the perfect activity to walk off your lunch, and a scenic hangout spot to while the afternoon away. This garden is so picturesque, you won’t even need to be amazing at photography to get good photos.
Entrance Fee: ¥100
Opening Hours: 8AM – 5PM (Last admission at 4PM)
Address: 2-116 Hibino, Mihama-ku, Chiba city, 261-0021
Dinner at Ikkyu
What’s a Japan trip without dining at an izakaya? Ikkyu in Funabashi city offers something special (or maybe peculiar) with its menu — a lot of green food, and I’m not talking about vegetables. They prepare their dishes with homatsuna, a type of vegetable, giving their food an unconventional green colour.
If you get a chance, try their signature highball — even that is green in colour!
*Pro-tip: Call and make a reservation (by 4PM) to order their dinner course (¥3,500, pictured above) which comprises a selection of local specialties.
Opening Hours: 4PM – 11:30PM, closed on Mondays
Address: 4-45-9, Honcho, Funabashi-shi, Chiba, 273-0005
Accommodation: Hotel Sunroute Chiba — ~S$105/night (two pax)
Day 4: Sakura City
Samurai Dress-Up Tour
Ever dreamt about being a samurai? Now’s your chance! Learn all about the samurai etiquette — how to sit, how to draw your sword (with swag) and observe the master demonstrate how to strike the enemy with one quick swoosh!
It was raining when we visited, but on a good day you’ll get to practice striking the trees in the garden with your sword. Talk about some hands-on learning!
When you’re satisfied with your newfound samurai status, the tour will bring you to Boshuya Honten for a soba lunch!
Tour Hours: 10AM – 1:20PM
Address: Old Residence of The Hirai Family, 233-5 shinmachi, Sakura City, Chiba
Tokun Sake Brewery
For goodness’ sake, don’t turn down a free tour around a sake brewery! Especially not when you can sample some of their products at the end.
This three-storey high brewery was carefully designed so that the humongous sake tanks rest on the ground floor, and the access hatches for each of the tanks are on the second floor.
While you get to sample almost all their sake for free, it costs ¥300 for a generous glass of their finest, the daiginjo kano — made with well-polished rice grains. A 720ml bottle of it costs ¥4,110.
Tour Hours: Every 30 mins from 10AM – 4PM (Last tour at 3:30PM, no tours between 12PM – 1PM)
Address: I-627, Katori, Chiba 287-0003, Japan
Explore Sawara City
We were lucky that our visit (in mid-July) coincided with the Grand Festival of Sawara! It’s a 300-year-old tradition where locals come dressed in gorgeous traditional outfits, pulling an enormous float with wooden wheels around the town.
If you take a closer look, you’ll see people sitting in the two-storey tall floats playing musical instruments.
Duration of Festival: Fri, Sat and Sun right after July 10, and Fri, Sat and Sun in October with the second Sat in between
Chiba Itinerary — Road Trip Planning Tips
With this Chiba itinerary in tow, here are other tips for a smoother road trip experience:
1) Pre-book your Chiba car rental before leaving for Japan
It’s best to pre-book your car rental early just in case they run out of the car you want! Then once you arrive at Narita International Airport, head to the car rental service desk in the Visitor Service Centre to register (turn right when you reach the arrival hall). After getting the paper work done, you’ll have to take the shuttle bus (20 minutes) to pick up the car.
2) Don’t forget your ETC card
You’ll need it to pay the toll fees, and you can easily rent one at the centre for ¥324. The toll charges incurred are payable upon return of the card at the end of your trip. While you have the option of paying toll by cash if you prefer not to get the ETC card, do note that if you’re travelling over weekend, you get discounts by using the card (plus you won’t hold up the line!).
Anything else we should add in this Chiba itinerary? Share with us your experiences in the comments!
This post was brought to you by Waku Waku Japan.