The first activity for the 3rd day (which happens to be the last day for Chiba) was Kamogawa Seaworld. This is located just opposite Kamogawakan. They also have regularly scheduled shuttle buses from Kamogawa JR Station. Kamogawa Seaworld is like an aquarium but the highlight would be the animal shows.
The aquarium itself is not too bad – somewhat like other aquariums I’ve been to.
Most of my time there was spent watching all the animal shows.
The beluga was so sweet and gentle looking. I didn’t really get to see this animal in other animal shows elsewhere so I thought it was something different!
Everybody’s favourite dolphins.
This is my first time seeing killer whales and it was BIG. However, sometimes they just refuse to perform and you can’t force them. No animal cruelty here!
I liked how the sea was visible in the background for this.
The most comical show would be the sea lion show. There’s a story line to the plot which revolves around a family of 4 (fictional of course). At the end of it they all clapped their hands.
They had chrysanthemum bushes pruned into shapes of the sea animals here. Really cute in my opinion. This Seaworld is worth to check out if you’re already in Kamogawa for a retreat.
1464-18, Higashi-cho, Kamogawa, Chiba 296-0041
Opening hours: 9am – 4pm
Admission Fee: ¥2800 (Adult), ¥1400 (Child)
For lunch we were brought to a rural mountain top where there are padi fields (for real!)
This is also located in Kamogawa City and is one of the top attractions in Kamogawa according to Trip Advisor.
These padi fields are owned by individuals and a Non-Profit Organisation is preserving this tradition. At night, the field would light up and I suppose it runs on solar energy. The “light bulbs” are actually plastic bottles upon close observation!
Lunch was at 棚田 café. Honestly, I have no idea how else you can get here other than by private cars/ buses.
The highlight of the lunch was making my own sushi! I have attempted simple sushi rolls before but for something so complex looking it is the first. These patterned sushi is known as matsuri zushi and is quite popular in Chiba. The pattern I’ll be making is the camellia flower (tsubaki).
Simple ingredients. That is not carrot by the way!
I MADE THIS! I was rather pleased with the results!
These sushi rolls are big.
And this is my homely lunch at the mountain top. It was simple but comforting, and very filling. The whole mountain top experience isn’t something you can find easily in Singapore.
At the mountain side, they have limited ingredients like they do not have fresh fish or even sugar. So only preserved fish is used and sugar on rare special occasions.
It sure was a very fun experience making my own matsuri-zushi! You got to try this somewhere at least once.
540 Hiratsuka, Kamogawa, Chiba Prefecture 296-0232, Japan
After the filling lunch was an energy consuming hike up Mount Nokogiri (鋸山) in . They do have ropeway as well. Other than being just a mountain with panoramic views, this mountain is famous for housing a temple. The mountain is generally categorized into the quarry side and the temple side.
Taken from Wikipedia:
The western side of the mountain is also the site of the sprawling Nihon-ji temple complex, which is the home of two Daibutsu sculptures – a huge seated carving of Yakushi Nyorai that at 31.05 metres (101.9 ft) tall is the largest pre-modern, stone-carved Daibutsu in Japan, and the “Hundred-shaku Kannon”, a tall relief image of Kannon carved into one of the quarry walls – as well as 1500 hand-carved arhat sculptures, which combined with the spectacular scenery of the Bōsō Hills and Tokyo Bay, make Mount Nokogiri a popular tourism destination.
The temple is accessible by road and by a cable car, the Nokogiriyama Ropeway, which runs from Hamakanaya Station on the JR Uchibo Line to a lookout deck near the top of the temple precinct.
In the far background is Yokohama. On days with clear skies, you can see Mount Fuji.
Nippai Dou – These were destroyed during a period where there was religion conflict in Japan.
This is a map of the mountain. This place is good for those interested in temples or anyone who simply loves trekking. Personally I enjoyed the walk and the view a lot!
4052-1 Kanaya, Futtsu Shi, Chiba, Japan
The last stop for the day before heading to the hotel was Umihotaru (海ほたる), a large parking area leading to Tokyo Bay. It is a an artificial island and it also has many restaurants and shops. You can find typical souvenir shops here. I personally went crazy for the crepes and ice cream!
Managed to catch a brief sunset at Umihotaru.
The fresh cream crepe cost ¥420! Even though it was just cream, it was SO GOOD! The cream in Japan is just different.
Had melon soft cream (¥350) from Horutogaru Café, but I felt that Mother Farm’s was better. I prefer the crepe to this one if I had to choose just one.
I put up at Hotel New Otani Makuhari for the night. Makuhari is like a business town in Chiba and a lot more urbanized than the other places I’ve been to in Chiba Prefecture.
The hotel was not new but very well maintained.
It is located within 5 mins walk from the JR Kaihin Mmakuhari Station, which has shops itself as well as many neighbouring malls. There was also Mitsui Outlet Park in the vicinity.
The shops at the station weren’t as exciting as department store basement food halls but seeing the cakes on display made me happy. Of course, I had to buy something!
Makuhari is quite a good place to stopover in my opinion, because it is less crowded but has good amenities. It is also near to Disneyland or Disneysea, and they do have direct buses running from Hotel New Otani Makuhari every day!
2-120-3, Hibino, Mihama-ku, Chiba-city, Chiba 261-0021, Japan
This marks the end of my 3 days in Chiba. The following 3 days would be spent in another prefecture. I am sure this is not all Chiba has to offer and there are still many beautiful places I’ve yet to go to.
I admit, getting around here is not the easiest thing. Even in an urbanized city like Osaka I had trouble getting around (due to limited English they use) so it will definitely pose as a problem in the country side. However, the country side has it’s benefits too. You can enjoy big hotel rooms at lower cost and that’s something you’ll never find in Tokyo, and lower cost of food and activities in general. The beauty of these places I’ve been to also lies in how authentic it is – almost like what you’ll see on Japanese TV shows.
If you’re interested to find out more about visiting Chiba, do check out their tourism website: http://www.chiba-tour.jp
They have guides about getting around as well as a whole list of attractions you may want to see, in English for the convenience of us foreigners.