Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Tips For Enjoying Ichinomiya, The Surfers' Paradise East Of Tokyo
Surfing has been included in the program of the 2020 Olympic Games, and Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, located in Chiba's Ichinomiya, will be the venue. Read on to learn about this charming town by the ocean that welcomes surfers and visitors throughout the year.
Written by MATCHA-PR
Ichinomiya - A Surfer's Paradise Just One Hour Away from Tokyo
Photograph by PIXTA
Chiba also boasts a rich natural environment. Ichinomiya, a town in the eastern part of Chiba facing the Pacific Ocean, is particularly famous as a destination for marine sports. Kujukuri Beach, one of the largest beaches in Japan stretching over 66 kilometers, is located here.
Ichinomiya is well known for its surf facilities, as Tsurigasaki Beach, located at the southern end of Kujukuri Beach, has been hosting international competitions over the years. It has been designated as the venue for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Access to Ichinomiya
Ichinomiya is close enough to Tokyo for a day trip. If you come by train, head for JR Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station. A ride on the limited express Wakashio from Tokyo takes about one hour.
From Narita Airport, it only takes 90 minutes to get to Ichinomiya, which makes it ideal for a short trip. Take the JR Narita Line to Chiba Station, switch to the JR Sotobo Line bound for Abo-Kamogawa, and get off at Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station.
The trains run rather infrequently, so be sure to check the timetable in advance.
Once you reach Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station, you'll notice that the backrest of the are designed as surfboards. How befitting for a surf town, don't you think?
Rental Cycles - Highly Recommended to Get around in Ichinomiya
Ichinomiya Beach, where sea lovers go, is located about three kilometers away from the station, while Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, the venue for the Olympic Games, is about six kilometers away. Those heading for either of these beaches should definitely consider renting a bicycle.
A taxi stand is located near the station. However, a bicycle would allow you to also visit the surf shops in the area.
To rent a bicycle, you'll be asked to show some ID (passport, driver's license, or a health insurance card), which will be copied.
There are four types of bicycles available for rent: the power-assisted type (1,000 yen per day with tax), road bike (1,000 yen), beach cruiser (500 yen), and the regular type (500 yen).
Although the road to the beach is flat, the assisted type is the most popular choice, as it is easy to ride. Beach cruisers, perfect for a seaside town and preferred by the surfers, should also lift the rider's mood as well.
As of September 2019, the facility offers 23 bicycles in total. They may be all rented when the Olympic Games start, so it's recommended to check them out right after arriving at the station.
Please be aware that in Japan, riding a bicycle one-handed while carrying a surfboard is prohibited by law. Be sure to rent a bicycle with a board carrier, or check the rental board shops by the beach.
Kujukuri Beach - Visit the Best Surfing Spots
Ichinomiya is famous for its surf facilities, not only in Japan but also internationally.
Since 2016, Tsurigasaki Beach has been the venue for Ichinomiya Chiba Open, hosted by the WSL (World Surf League). This is one of the major WSL events, as top-class surfers compete for the title.
There is a large torii on the beach. MATCHA visited in December 2019, and the preparations for the Olympic Games were already under way.
A board carrier is attached to the bicycle on the left. This shows that surfing is an everyday activity in the area.
Although the temperature was about 12 degrees Celsius on the day of our visit, there were still surfers on the beach. Surf enthusiasts visit Ichinomiya throughout the year.
Accommodation and Surf Board Rental
There are many lodging facilities and board rental shops along the road running parallel to Kujukuri Beach. Those who wish to enjoy surfing should consider one of the seaside lodgings.
Many visitors come to Ichinomiya just to appreciate the ocean view. The town is ideal as a destination to relish the atmosphere of the seaside.
After a session of surfing, it might be fun to explore Ichinomiya on foot.
Kazusa no kuni Ichinomiya Tamasaki Shrine, founded over 1,200 years ago, can be reached in about 10 minutes by foot from Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station. The shrine is dedicated to Tamayorihime no Mikoto, the mother of Emperor Jinmu (the legendary first emperor of Japan). As a result, the shrine is sought for blessings of good relationships and childbirth.
At a Shinto shrine, visitors make a small donation first in the offertory box. There is no rule about the amount, as the donation expresses the visitor's gratitude to the deities.
The bell, hung above the offertory box, should be rung a few times. It is said that the sound of the bell wards off evil spirits.
After ringing the bell, bow twice, clap your hands twice and then bow once more. After your last bow, make a wish. This ritual is specific to visiting a shrine.
Local Products of Ichinomiya
Fishing is a popular professions among the locals so Ichinomiya is also famous for its excellent seafood.
Takara-tei, a seafood restaurant located near Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station, offers fresh dishes made with seafood caught in the morning.
There are three types of sashimi sets that use local fish: Matsu (1,000 yen with tax), Take (800 yen), and Ume (500 yen). The menu changes depending on the catch of the day so there should be a different menu every time you visit.
There is a shopping arcade on the west side of Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station. Takara Sengyo, located inside the arcade, is the fishmonger's shop that manages Takara-tei. The shop is frequented by the locals as it handles fresh seafood at reasonable prices.
Q-nuts: A Notch Above Peanuts?
Chiba is also known for its production of peanuts. Ichinomiya, acclaimed for its selective breeding, produces Q-nuts, a peanut type that is said to be a notch above the regular types.
The Q-nuts have a firm texture, with a sweet flavor that is second to none. They are perfect as a snack for children or as a side dish while enjoying a drink.
Enjoy the Ocean and Fine Food in Ichinomya!
In Ichinomiya, visitors can appreciate year-round surfing, fresh seafood, and a shrine with a rich history. The town is a short trip away from Tokyo. If you have the chance, do visit!
Main image by PIXTA
Written by Daiji Okuno
Sponsored by Narita International Airport Promotion Association