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bootlegga Tateyama - A travel report by James
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Tateyama,  Japan - flag Japan -  Chiba
13754 readers

bootlegga's travel reports

Chiba’s hidden gem

  17 votes
Page: 1 2
On the southern end of Boso Peninsula, just southeast of Tokyo lays an area unknown to tourists, but well known to Tokyoites. They escape here in the summer to splash in Tokyo Bay, and stop in the winter to soak in onsen (hot springs) .

A view of Tateyama from Shiroyama Castle.
A view of Tateyama from Shiroyama Castle.
Tateyama is a small city, maybe 60,000 or so residents, but the town is definitely inaka (rural). The tallest building in this city is only about 5 stories tall. I lived in this area for 2 years while teaching English.

Every August, Tateyama holds a fireworks festival in Tateyama Bay that is simply incredible! For nearly 2 hours, the skies are so full of exploding fireworks that it is almost as bright as day. All along the beach, local community groups put on shows of international music and/or dancing. One of the coolest I saw was a salsa dancing display.

The city also has a lot of great things to do year round, like museums, beaches, and even some decent shopping. Tateyama is serviced by two train stations, Tateyama station in the heart of the city and Kokonoe station, on the eastern edge of the city.

The climate here is mild (-5 to +10) and it usually only snows once or twice per winter. The summers are hot and humid (+30 and up).

Favourite spots:
a shrine near Taibusamisaki
a shrine near Taibusamisaki
Cape Taibusa Misaki Park; this piece of land jutting out into Tokyo Bay offers up some interesting surprises. During World War 2, it served as a Japanese Army base, which had bunkers and pillboxes constructed to protect Tokyo Bay in the event of an Allied assault. While most defense fortifications were dismantled during the post-war occupation, this site survived and several emplacements are still there, providing an instant history lesson for visitors. Of course, the Japanese being as sharp as they are, have converted the rest of the peninsula (maybe 20 square km or so) into a campground and recreation site.

What's really great:
Planting rice with the locals.
Planting rice with the locals.
One of the best things about Tateyama is wonderful mix of city pleasures, like restaurants and shopping, with rural life. Here, the people take life easy and the pace is very laid back. In addition to this, there is plenty of nature to explore and things aren’t nearly so crowded.

Shiroyama Castle
Shiroyama Castle
Tateyama Castle is pretty cool. Situated on a hill in Shiroyama Park, it overlooks Tateyama Bay and is where the locals go in the spring to view cherry blossoms. The actual donjon was rebuilt and now serves as a museum. Once you climb to the top, you can gaze across Tokyo Bay, and on a clear day even see Mt. Fuji.

In the nearby town of Miyoshi, one can scale a small mountain (a big hill really) and actually see all of southern Boso peninsula, as well as Tokyo Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Alas, the day I went, it was cloudy and the pictures didn’t turn out.

Bring your bathing suit and check out Hojo Beach. Located only a short walk from the Tateyama station on a small bay, there is swimming and for the more adventurous, Sea-doo rentals.

Tateyama travelogue picture
There are many ryokans (Japanese inns) in Tateyama. Most are family run affairs, and may or may not include breakfast. The rates run from about 8000 yen to 20,000 yen, depending on the property and level of service you desire.

If you are worried about staying in a dump, try a hotel run by Japan Rail East, the Familio Tateyama (0470-22-8861). It isn’t a fancy resort hotel, but it is run by a big and very respected company in Japan, so it’s clean and somewhat affordable. Another hotel to try is the Tateyama Kokusai Hotel. The rates here start at about 10,000 yen ($90 US) and go up from there.

Terraced rice farming near Tateyama
Terraced rice farming near Tateyama
Unfortunately, this small town has nothing in the way of nightclubs, except some hostess bars that are full of overpriced drinks and drunk Japanese salarymen. If you are interested in this kind of thing, check out Tateyama-Ginza just west of the train station. It is located between the station and Hojo beach. Generally, if a resident is inclined to go clubbing, they hop aboard the express train and head into Tokyo and party there all night long, then return on the morning train and sleep the day away.

At Yucho, one of the areas best restaurants.
At Yucho, one of the areas best restaurants.
There are dozens of great pubs in town, most near the train station. Look for the red lanterns hanging outside and listen for the boisterous laughter, and you’re sure to find one. In the summer, the Shidax (a karaoke bar right next to Tateyama station) opens its patio and people of all ages sit outside and chat, drinking beer, listening to music. In fact, the area directly around the station is chock a block full of izakayas (pubs).

A nice little pub where you can go drink sake and eat sashimi until the wee hours of the morning is Choji’s. It’s about 3 blocks east of the train station, and a bit pricey, but popular with Japanese and foreigners alike.

One place that foreigners frequent is the Seahorse, about 2 blocks from Tateyama station. They sell foreign beer and spirits and have dancing on the weekends. Along Hojo beach, there are several places where you can go to get a cold one as well.

Vending machines are very popular in Japan and can be found almost everywhere!
Vending machines are very popular in Japan and can be found almost everywhere!
If you are in the mood for sushi, check out Tomizushi in Sunosaki. It is definitely the best sushi place in Tateyama. The prices are pretty good, and Tomizushi is well known throughout chiba for its excellent quality.

An excellent Korean restaurant is located next to the golf driving range a block from Kokonoe station. Their Be-bin-bap is to die for!

If you are looking for Chinese food in Tateyama, check out Bamiyan. The sweet and sour pork is fantastic! Admittedly, this is a chain restaurant, but once and a while it made for a nice treat.

Another great place is Peyman, a small restaurant in nearby Tomiura. It specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine and is run by an Iranian immigrant. Stop in and play some backgammon over lunch.

If all this sounds too scary, there are also several Western restaurants, like McDonald’s and KFC. Or you can visit Denny’s, located right on Hojo beach, or its Japanese knock-off, Gusto, which is a few blocks closer to Tateyama station.

Other recommendations:
Kamogawa Seaworld
Kamogawa Seaworld
Another interesting sight is Nambo Paradise Greenhouse in Sunosaki. After it established a sister-garden affiliation with Singapore’s National Botanical Garden, a statue of Singapore’s Mer-Lion was added. It displays various plants, including orchids and Singapore’s national flower. For young ones, there is also a petting zoo.

Nearby Shirahama-machi has Nojimazaki Lighthouse, where for a small fee, one can climb to the top and gaze far out into the Pacific. Below is a small park with huge boulders along the ocean’s edge that you can scamper about on. Before you know it, you are 20 metres off the beach!

About 45 minutes away by train is Kamogawa, the second biggest city in Minami Boso. There they have lovely beaches, great shopping and their very own Seaworld!

And of course, massive Tokyo is only 2 hours away by express train. That means shopping, Disneyland, et al is pretty close.

Published on Saturday April 16th, 2005

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Fri, Dec 02 2005 - 08:08 PM rating by jorgesanchez

of course, 5 points!

Mon, Apr 25 2005 - 09:39 PM rating by ravinderkumarsi

wonderful report

Mon, Apr 25 2005 - 08:55 AM rating by davidx

Excellent report

Sun, Apr 17 2005 - 03:50 PM rating by bear495

Really nice report.


Sat, Apr 16 2005 - 11:45 PM rating by britman

Great well written report

Sat, Apr 16 2005 - 12:51 PM rating by carolr

What a fascinating report - you were obviously well impressed, I really enjoyed readiong your report.

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