Living In Chiba: Guide For Foreigners
Chiba Prefecture neighbors Tokyo and is one of the 6 most popular places among foreigners who live in Japan. What makes it so attractive?
It is home to Japan’s main international airport, Narita International Airport, and many travelers pass through the area when they arrive. However, it is much less crowded with tourists than Tokyo and offers plenty of work opportunities for foreigners, which makes it attractive to those who want to enjoy an authentic experience in Japan.
Chiba prefecture is well-connected to Tokyo Station by the JR Keio Line, and the JR Sobu Line offers rapid express trains to other destinations in the capital. Chiba is divided into six areas, each with its own unique attractions and lifestyle, which allows you to find the right fit for your needs.
1. Bay Area
The Bay Area is a vibrant seaside part of Chiba that neighbors the Tokyo Bay Area. It’s home to Chiba City, the capital of the prefecture, and is only a 30-minute train ride from Tokyo. If going to Tokyo Station you will need to board the Keiyo Line, while the JR Sobu line will take you all the way to Shinjuku.
The Bay Area is a popular spot for visitors because it houses two Disneyland theme parks and a range of other cultural, historical, natural, and entertainment attractions. The Keisei Rose Garden and Chiba Port Park are two of the many nature escapes, while the Chiba City Museum of Art is a great place to go to see Japanese ukiyo-e art. Mukahari frequently hosts baseball games and other events.
2. Higashi Katsushika Area
Higashi Katsushika is the northern area of Chiba, and neighbors Tokyo on the west. It is a great spot for those who want to be a short train ride from Chiba City and Tokyo, yet want to live away from the crowds in a more peaceful setting. Express trains to Tokyo are available on the Chiyoda Line.
Matsudo City is the central city of this area, known for beautiful murals created in the international “Paradise Air” artist-residence program and for the Showa no Mori Museum, where you can learn about life in the Showa Period.
Kashiwa City is the most popular choice for foreigners in this zone of Chiba, as it offers a balance of shops and restaurants on one side, and nature activities and historical sights on the other. Other larger cities are Nagareyama City, popular among commuters since the opening of the Tsukuba Express train, and Noda City, known for its historical architecture and surrounded with vast nature.
3. Hokuso Area
Hokuso is located in the northwestern part of Chiba Prefecture. It is home to Narita International Airport and the Hokuso Railway, which is a popular commuter line which connects Katsushika to Tokyo and the Inzai neighborhood of Hokuso.
Hokuso offers many historical and natural sights. Its center is Narita City, where you can find the thousand-year-old Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, visited by 10 million pilgrims every year. Chosi City is the place to go if you want to be near the sea and Kimigahama Beach is especially popular during summer. Other exciting experiences in Hokuso are the National Museum of Japanese History and dolphin/whale watching tours organized around the Byobugaura beach.
4. Kujukuri Area
Kujukuri adjoins the Hokuso area and is also known for its mesmerizing beaches. You can easily reach it directly from Chiba and Tokyo through the JR Sobu-Line. Kujukuri Beach is the second longest sandy beach in Japan, spreading over 60 kilometers, and is a popular spot for paddle surfing and kiteboarding.
The Kujukuri Area has a charming resort feel, and offers many activities for enjoying the sea and nature, and is a lovely area to choose if you want a laid-back, summer energy all year long.
5. Minami Boso and Kazusa Area
Minami Boso is another coastal district of Chiba and is a popular destination in the summer. It is also known for the 400 year old Katsuura Morning Market, where you can buy fresh products from local fishermen and farmers.
Yoro Valley is a magical nature escape where you can find Awamata Falls and countless hiking trails. Kominato Railway offers picturesque train rides through nature, and Mt. Nokogiri provides walking trails and exciting opportunities for climbers. For shopping, you can make use of the Mitsui Outlet Park Kisarazu, which has one of the highest numbers of shops in a single spot in the entire Tokyo metropolitan area. In general, this zone is surprisingly rural, peaceful and green despite being so close to Tokyo.
Just a short ride from Tokyo, Chiba offers something entirely different—vast nature, preserved historical sites, long white beaches, and a charming neighborly atmosphere. It’s one of the most famous prefectures among foreigners, which will also make it easy to adapt, regardless of the city or district you select to be your home.
Sources: Chiba Government, Real Estate Japan, Expatistan, Japan Travel, City Cost
Bringing you the latest real estate & lifestyle news in Japan