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Chiba Road Trip - Enjoy Shopping, Amusement, And Seafood

Chiba Road Trip - Enjoy Shopping, Amusement, And Seafood

Chiba 2019.03.26 Bookmark

Chiba Prefecture has great recreation centers by the ocean and hotels with natural hot springs. Read on to learn about things to do, see, and taste in Chiba on a road trip using a rental car. We also introduce excellent service areas and parking areas.

Translated by Shinji Takaramura

Written by MATCHA-PR

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Chiba - Nature, Shopping and Fine Cuisine

のこぎり山

Mt. Nokogiriyama. Picture from From Narita Airport: Seafood And Hot Springs In Minami Boso, Chiba

Chiba Prefecture, located east of Tokyo, is where Narita Airport is located. The prefecture has many sightseeing spots, such as mountains that are great for trekking and hiking destinations, recreational facilities offering seasonal fruits and one of the largest outlet malls in eastern Japan.

Chiba is famous for fresh seafood and sweets made with peanuts, a regional specialty. There are many hotels with onsen (hot springs), making Chiba a popular destination for visitors from Tokyo.

Travel in Chiba with a Rental Car

レンタカー

Picture from Renting A Car In Japan - Guide To Rental Costs, Licenses, And Driving

There are a wide variety of activities to choose from in Chiba. As the sightseeing spots are spread out across the prefecture, using a rental car is one of the best ways to enjoy the area. With a car, you will not need to switch trains or buses, and large baggage can be stowed away in the trunk.

However, driving in an unfamiliar area may make you feel tired. Make sure to take breaks along the way, utilizing the many service areas (SA) and parking areas (PA) by the expressway.

Service Areas and Parking Areas: Take a Break while Sightseeing

寄居PA(上り線)

Picture from Sightsee On The Way - Rest Stops Between Tokyo and Karuizawa

The Service Areas and Parking Areas have restrooms, kiosks, restaurants and service stations. They are primarily rest stops, but most SA and PA also have shops offering local specialties and souvenirs, making them a fun part of sightseeing for those driving.

This article recommends places in Chiba, along with the nearby SA and PA, to help travelers heading to their first sightseeing spot from Narita Airport, or those heading back to the airport after sightseeing.

Mother Farm and Ichihara SA

マザー牧場

Picture courtesy of Mother Farm

After arriving at Narita Airport, let's visit one of the scenic places of Chiba. At Mother Farm, located in the southern region of the prefecture, visitors can enjoy different flowers every season. Momoiro Toiki (petunia), shown in the photograph above, can be viewed from May to September.

イチゴ狩り

Strawberry picking (January to May) and blueberry picking (August) are also popular at the farm. The fruits can be eaten at the farm, so visitors can enjoy both the great view and the food.

Mother Farm offers a wide variety of attractions such as the Big Sheep March, where you can watch 150 sheep running around, and an ice cream workshop. The farm also serves original yogurt and confectionery.

Ichihara SA: Enjoy a Seafood Lunch

From Narita Airport, the drive to Mother Farm takes about an hour and a half on the expressway heading for Kimitsu Interchange. After driving for about an hour, take a break at Ichihara SA along the way.

This SA is on the Boso Peninsula, in the southern region of Chiba. As the peninsula is known for its seafood, Ichihara SA serves various dishes utilizing fish and ingredients from the ocean.

市原SA

Special Kaisen-don (1,350 yen including tax)/Picture courtesy of Nex-area Company Limited

Daisho Suisan, one of the restaurants in the food court, serves donburi and teishoku meals prepared with fresh seafood. Be sure to try the regional specialties here.

市原SA

Picture courtesy of Nex-area Company Limited

The charm of the Boso Peninsula is reflected in the design of the SA buildings, with the light-blue roof, white walls and the use of wood-grain material.

As there are unique beaches along the peninsula, a tropical theme is prevalent in the facilities. In fact, many people stop by Ichihara SA on their way to enjoy swimming, surfing, and other marine sports.

The kiosk sells various items for beachgoers, so those who suddenly decide to go swimming need not worry.

市原SA

Picture courtesy of Nex-area Company Limited

Souvenirs such as peanut butter, a local specialty, and Max Coffee Cookie, can be found as well. Max Coffee is rare and used to only be sold in the Chiba area. This is your chance to buy a one and only souvenir.

Stay at an Onsen Hotel with a Pool

ホテル三日月

Picture from Family Road Trip From Narita Airport! Sightseeing In Chiba With Kids

After visiting Mother Farm and Ichihara SA, why not spend a night in the area? Ryugujo Spa Hotel Mikazuki, where guests can enjoy a wonderful onsen is forty minutes away by car from Ichihara SA.

The hotel offers more than ten types of baths, and guests can bathe leisurely while taking in great ocean views. There are both indoor and open-air pools as well, so those who want to experience a tropical feeling should try this hotel.

Visit an Outlet Mall and Shisui PA

木更津三井アウトレットパーク

Picture from From Narita Airport: Rent A Car And Enjoy The Great Views Of Chiba!

Those who plan to fly home from Narita Airport should visit MITSUI OUTLET PARK KISARAZU, one of the largest outlet malls in the Kanto Region. The mall is located near Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, which connects Chiba to the Tokyo and Kanagawa areas, so it is also accessible on the way back from sightseeing in Tokyo.

Duty-free Shopping at Shisui PA

酒々井PA(下り)

Picture courtesy of Nex-area Company Limited

It is a seventy-minute drive to Narita Airport from MITSUI OUTLET PARK KISARAZU. Drivers using the expressway should head for the Narita Interchange. Along the way, we recommend stopping by the Shisui PA.

酒々井PA(下り)

Picture courtesy of Nex-area Company Limited

Shisui PA sells duty-free items, and smartphone apps such as Alipay and WeChatPay can also be used for payment. There are kiosks and a food court, so this may be one of your last chances to enjoy Japanese food. (This information is current as of February 1, 2019.)

Rent a Car and Explore Chiba!

ネクセリア東日本

Picture from Enjoy The Service Areas On Japan's Expressways

SAs are along the expressway at around every fifty to sixty kilometers. PAs are fifteen to twenty kilometers. They all offer different things to enjoy, so we suggest stopping by each for a unique experience.

SA and PA facilities also differ depending on which side of the route it is located. For example, there is another Ichihara SA along the inbound route which serves a delicious saba sandwich, consisting of fried mackerel in between rice flour bread.

At Makuhari PA along the outbound route from Tokyo to Chiba, vegetables, and fruit raised by the local farmers are sold. Also, the Makuhari PA on the opposite side has a shopping mall selling goods produced in Chiba.

Be sure to stop by SA and PA during the drive to enjoy all that Chiba offers.

Sponsored by Nex-area Company Limited.

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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