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bootlegga Chikura-machi - A travel report by James
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Chikura-machi,  Japan - flag Japan -  Chiba
7276 readers

bootlegga's travel reports

Surfing capital of Japan

  10 votes
Page: 1 2
A small, quaint fishing town in rural Japan, Chikura represents the lost Japan. Here tradition is very important and things are still done the “old” way.


Chikura just before an afternoon shower
Chikura just before an afternoon shower
Chikura-machi is a small town on the Pacific coast of Japan, about 150 km SE of Tokyo, opposite Tokyo Bay. Chikura is well known to surfers across the country, as it holds the All Japan College Surfing contest every year. Before surfing came to Japan, Chikura’s big claim to fame was that the trans-Pacific telecommunications cable (from the USA to Japan) was based here. Having lived in the area for 2 years means I know it well too! Chikura port has an active fishing port, with canneries and processing factories as well as a small fishing fleet.

Chikura-machi has pleasant weather throughout the year. In my 2 years there, it only snowed 3 times and it all melted by about noon each time. In early February, the flowers begin to blossom and tourists from all over the Kanto region come to Chikura to gaze upon the flowers blooming all along the coast.

Favourite spots:
Minami-Chikura beach
Minami-Chikura beach
The beach! About 2 km of white sand beach just like you see in pictures of Fiji and Mexico. Nothing is better than heading down there on a hot summer day. During the summer, it is full of families on the south beach and surfers on the north beach. In the winter, it’s too cold to swim unless you have a wetsuit like the surfers, but watching the huge waves crash into the shore is still a sight worth seeing.

What's really great:
Waves crashing down on the beach
Waves crashing down on the beach
The ocean; being from the prairies, I had seen the ocean, but never really experienced it very much other than driving alongside it on the way to California.

While living in Chikura-machi, I got to hear and see it everyday. Now that I'm back in Canada, I miss the ocean like crazy.


Sights:
Rosemary Park in Maruyama
Rosemary Park in Maruyama
Be sure to check out the Shiokaze Okoku, a large market where locals sell fresh fish and seafood. One of Chiba-ken’s best seafood restaurants is located here as well as several gift shops. On the weekends during the summer, a flea market of sorts happens in the parking lot. There is also a full-scale fishing ship docked nearby which you can tour for free.

The only shrine in town is Takabe-jinja Shrine, which is the only shrine in Japan devoted to the God of Cooking. Twice a year, a special ceremony is held where a fish is cleaned and prepared without being touched by their hands.

In nearby Maruyama-machi, you can visit Rosemary Park, an exact replica of William Shakespeare’s hometown, including a reconstruction of his home. It was built with authentic materials from the UK, with British engineers assisting in its construction. It was built after Maruyama became a sister-city of Stratford-upon-Avon in the UK.

Accommodations:
Lanterns hung for a festival
Lanterns hung for a festival
There are several small ryokans in town where one can stay, but Ryokan Aokura-tei is probably the best. There is a large beachfront hotel, the Hotel Setohama right across from Setohama beach. A smaller hotel, Hotel Chikura is also good.

Nightlife:
The only nightclubs here are hostess bars, which cater to Japanese businessmen with too much cash in their wallet.

Restaurants:
Inside Yucho
Inside Yucho
If one is looking for a great yakitiori (BBQ) restaurant, check out Yucho. Only blocks from my home, it has a cozy atmosphere and great food at affordable prices. Walk for about 5 minutes south from the station on the main street and it’s on your left hand side.

Across from the Pachinko parlour by the train station is the town's only yakiniku (Korean BBQ) restaurant. Here you buy a plate of raw meat and then cook it on a hot plate built into the centre of the table. Very good, but a bit expensive.

Another great place is Unajin just up the coast near Wada. It is 2 train station stops past Chikura, and offers a varied menu, with good prices. The restaurant is built in a Japanese garden and has little streams meandering through it and stands of bamboo and other trees growing throughout the restaurant. One of the tables is actually made from an old fishing boat. Very funky…

If you’ve got sushi in mind, check out Matsuzenzushi down the road in Shirahama-machi.

Other recommendations:
Kurotaki Falls
Kurotaki Falls
In early July, the town has its annual summer festival. The town streets are lined with lanterns and all around town, people carry mikoshi (a portable shrine), and generally have a fun time.

Up in the hills above the town, there is Kaigan Art Museum featuring photography by Shinpei Asai. There is also the town recreation center, with an outdoor pool, a gym, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, and a fitness center.

The Hotel Setohama also has a public onsen (hot springs), so if you visit anytime other than the summer, stop in and take a dip to refresh yourself!

In Wada-machi, there is Kurotaki Falls. After a short drive from the coast, you hike from the parking lot down a creek and into a hidden valley. Here water falls from 15 metres over you head into a splash pool shallow enough to wade in. From there, you can climb to the top of the bluffs and hike into the hills.



Published on Tuesday September 7th, 2004


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Mon, Mar 20 2006 - 10:52 AM rating by davidx

A little known side of japan here - a thoroughly good report.

Fri, Sep 17 2004 - 12:11 AM rating by bridgete

This is a great report!!

Tue, Sep 07 2004 - 04:42 AM rating by britman

Nice report which I enjoyed reading

Tue, Sep 07 2004 - 02:08 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii james,i read your report on Chikura-machi and its really nice
keep it up
ravi

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