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Foreign Languages > Chiba International Information Square > Chiba Nanohana News (March 2016)

Update:March 17, 2016

 

Chiba Nanohana News (March 2016)

 Index

 I.News   II. Festivals and Events    III.Exhibitions, Concerts, etc.

 I. News               

 1) Multilingual Guide to Renting an Apartment

book

              March and April bring many new things: new budding plants, new jobs or schools, and for some, new living spaces. Renting an apartment in Japan can be difficult for non-Japanese residents due to the language barrier and procedures that differ from one’s home country. To mitigate these difficulties, the National Residential Building Business Association Federation has published a guide to renting an apartment. The guide covers every step of the process: finding a property, signing a lease, moving in and caring for the apartment, and then finally moving out. There is also a glossary of common terms that may come up.

             You can download a copy of the guide as a PDF. It is available in 5 languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

 2) Ride the Isumi and Kominato Railways through Fields of Yellow Flowers

            isumitrain

       The best way to enjoy March and April is to ride the Isumi and Kominato Railways through the yellow nanohana flowers (field mustard) that bloom along the tracks. The view of these trains running through fields of flowers attracts many tourists, photographers, and train enthusiasts, and the nanohana flower is the namesake of the Nanohana News.

         The Isumi Railway is a 26.8km railway that connects Ohara Station in Isumi City (which connects to the JR Sotobo Line) and Kazusa-Nakano Station in Otaki Town (which connects to the Kominato Railway). The yellow diesel train surrounded by yellow flowers has become emblematic of Chiba and the Isumi/Otaki area. Discounted tickets are available as well: for 1,000 yen for adults (500 yen for children), you can ride all you want for one day. 

         The Kominato Railway runs from Kazusa-Nakano Station in Otaki to Goi Station in Ichihara City (which connects to the JR Uchibo Line). 10 years ago, students, local residents, and members of various organizations gathered together to plant nanohana flowers in 10 places along the railway. Now, every year visitors get to enjoy the beautiful sight.

        A special version of the Kominato train will start Friday, March 18. Two of the four cars will be windowless tram cars, and all four cars will have glass ceilings so passengers can feel the breeze of the mountain countryside. Reservations are required, and tickets for both windowed and windowless cars cost an extra 500 yen.

        Visitors can use the Boso Crossing ticket discount to ride one-way across the Boso Peninsula on both the Isumi and Kominato Railways. You can get on and off at any station to get a closer look and take pictures, but you cannot go back in the other direction. Start your spring with a leisurely train ride across a yellow carpet of flowers.

Isumi Railway

  • Best time to go: early March—early April
  • Place: Isumi Railway (between Ohara Station on the JR Sotobo Line and Kazusa-Nakano Station on the Kominato Railway)
  • Inquiries: Isumi Railway (0470-82-2161)
  • URL: http://isumirail.co.jp/

Kominato Railway

  • Best time to go: mid-March—mid-April
  • Place: Kominato Railway (between Goi Station on the JR Uchibo Line and Kazusa-Nakano Station on the Isumi Railway)
  • Inquiries: Ichihara City Tourism Association (0436-22-8355)
  • URL: http://www.ichihara-kankou.or.jp/ 
  • Inquiries regarding the windowless tram car: Kominato Railway Railway Department (0436-21-6771; reservation hotline 0436-23-5584)
  • URL: http://www.kominato.co.jp/satoyamatorocco/index.html
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 II. Festivals and Events    

 1) Fig Plant Seeding and Pruning at the Tateyama Pioneer Farm (Tateyama City)

              Tateyama Pioneer Farm is famous locally as a family-friendly and pet-friendly place where you can pick figs. Unfortunately it isn’t fig season yet, but the farm provides opportunities for visitors to add a figment of fun while they wait. The first class will seed the fig plants, and the second class will prune the plants. While there aren’t any fig fruits to eat yet, each seeding participant will receive a free plant cutting they can plant at home, as well as care instructions so they can figure out how to grow their own figs.

  • Date: until Monday, March 21 (closed Thursdays)
  • Time: Fig plant seeding at 10:30, pruning at 13:30
  • Fee: 900 yen for adults, 800 yen for elementary school students and younger
  • Capacity: 10 people per session (sign-up closes when capacity is reached)
  • Place: Tateyama Pioneer Farm, 441 Masaki, Tateyama City
  • Inquiries: Tateyama Pioneer Farm (090-2459-1094)
  • URL: http://www.pioneer-farm.jp/

 2) Spring Break Festa at Roman no Mori Republic (Kimitsu City)

 photoromanomori

         The Roman no Mori Republic (Roman Forest Republic) in Kimitsu is holding the Spring Break Festa from Saturday, March 19 to Sunday, April 3 for families to enjoy the forest and lake resort. Visitors of all ages are welcome to experience seasonal delights like strawberry-picking and 180 cherry blossom trees. There is also the family- and health-themed “Roman no Mori Orientering Challenge” as well as lunch and overnight plans for the whole family.

  • Dates: Saturday, March 19 to Sunday, April 3
  • Place: Roman no Mori Republic, 659-1 Toyofusa, Kimitsu City
  • Access: From Kisarazu Station East Exit (JR Uchibo Line), take the Kisarazu-Kamogawa Kyuko Bus and get off at “Roman no Mori Republic” (Roman no Mori Kyowakoku) (about 60 min)
  •               From Awa-Kamogawa Station West Exit (JR Uchibo or Sotobo Lines), take the Kisarazu-Kamogawa Kyuko Bus and get off at “Roman no Mori Republic” (about 25 min)
  • Inquiries: Roman no Mori Republic (0439-38-2211)
  • URL: http://www.romannomori.co.jp/

 3) St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Chiba/Makuhari Seaside Park area (Chiba City)

          Saint Patrick’s Day is a holiday that commemorates the arrival of Christianity to Ireland, and is a day to celebrate Irish heritage and culture. Put on some green, the color of Ireland, and join the Irish Network Japan Chiba to march, dance, and feast this St. Patrick’s Day.

           Celebrate the holiday by participating in the parade and enjoying Irish dance and musical performances. There’s even an after-party featuring Irish band Wee Dram performing at 18:00 at the Irish pub Always in the Plena Mall by Kaihin-makuhari Station. Wear some green and join in the fun!

  • Date: Sunday, March 13 (parade starts at 14:00; participants should meet in front of the stage at 13:00)
  • Place: Makuhari Seaside Park
  • Access: 10min walk from Kaihin-makuhari Station south exit (JR Keiyo Line)
  • Fee: Free
  • How to sign-up: Submit a registration form by Thursday, March 10 at 21:00
  • Inquiries: Irish Network Japan Chiba
  • URL: http://chiba.inj.or.jp/ 

 4) World Food and Dance Festival/Shiroi City Health and Welfare Center (Shiroi City)

 shiroifesta        Come experience traditions of food and dance from countries all over the world at the World Food and Dance Festival in Shiroi City. Residents of Shiroi City and visitors from all over are invited to join the festival. There will be music and dance performances on stage, including ocarina, soprano solo, erhu (a two-stringed Chinese instrument), yosakoi soran group, Hawaiian and hula, swing dance, jazz, marinera (a Peruvian couple’s dance), salsa, and other performances. Visitors can try local cuisine and desserts at booths from many countries and regions, including Europe, Latin and South America, Southeast Asia, India, and more. Broaden your horizons at this festival in Shiroi City!

  • Date: Sunday, March 6, 10:00-16:00
  • Place: Shiroi City Health and Welfare Center, 1123 Fuku, Shiroi City
  • Admission: Free (food and drink, etc. is separate)
  • Access: 15 min walk from Shiroi Station (Hokuso Railway)
  • Inquiries: hosted by the Shiroi City Policy and Planning Division, Gender Equality Section (047-492-1111 #3355)
  • URL: http://www.city.shiroi.chiba.jp
  • Planned and run by the Shiroi City International Friendship Association (047-497-3040)
  • URL: http://www.ifashiroi.org

 5) 45th Chiba City Art Festival/Chiba City Southern Area Youth Center, etc. (Chiba City)

         The Chiba City Art Festival is a yearly event that celebrates, promotes, and promulgates all forms of art and culture. These forms are divided into six categories: music, fine arts, literary arts, tea ceremony and flower arrangement, performance arts, and traditional arts. Pieces and works from each of these categories will be displayed at the festival.

          The curtain will rise at 1:00 PM on Saturday, March 5 at the Chiba City Southern Area Youth Center. Shortly following will be a ceremonial performance that art aficionados will not want to miss!

  • Date: Saturday, March 5 to Sunday, March 27
  • Place: Chiba City Southern Area Youth Center, 1-3-16 Shirahata, Chuo-ku, Chiba City
  • Access: 15 min walk from Soga Station (JR Sobu Line)
  • Inquiries: Chiba City Cultural Association Office (within the Chiba City Culture Promotion Foundation, 043-221-2411)

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 III. Exhibitions, Concerts, etc.          

 1) Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots

 phototogane     pnotoshimizupark 

        Cherry blossoms are more than just a flower in Japan. Every spring, people gather in parks across the country as the sakura trees burst into pink and white blossoms, then fade as quickly as they came. The sight has inspired poetry, songs, paintings, photography, and all kinds of art. Here are some of the best places in Chiba to hold a hanami, or flower-viewing party, beneath the beautiful blossoms.

Aoba-no-Mori Park (Chiba City)

  • Best spot: anywhere near the 80 types of cherry blossom trees!
  • When to go: Late March—late April
  • Number of trees: 1,500
  • Address: 977-1 Aobacho, Chuo-ku, Chiba City
  • Access: 10 min walk from Keisei Chibadera Station
  • Inquiries: Aoba-no-Mori Park Management Office (043-208-1500)

Tokiwadaira Cherry Blossom Road (Sakura-dori) (Matsudo City)

  • Best spot: at the Sakura Festival on April 2-3
  • When to go: Late March—early April
  • Number of trees: 620
  • Address: Tokiwadaira, Matsudo City
  • Access: near Shinyahashira Station (JR Musashino Line), Yabashira Station or Tokiwadaira Station or Goko Station (Shin-Keisei Line)
  • Inquiries: Matsudo City Culture and Tourism Division (047-366-7327)

Shimizu Park (Noda City)

  • Best spot: the sakura tunnel, one of the top 100 sakura places in Japan; sakura festival is 3/19-4/10
  • When to go: Early April
  • Number of trees: 2,000
  • Address: 906 Shimizu, Noda City
  • Access: 5 min walk from Shimizu-Koen Station (Tobu-Noda Line), west exit
  • Inquiries: Shimizu Park Management Office (04-7125-3030)

Manzai Nature Park (Asahi City)

  • When to go: Early April—mid-April
  • Number of trees: 1,000
  • Address: 363-1 Sakurai, Asahi City
  • Access: 15 min by car from Asahi Station (JR Sobu Main Line)
  • Inquiries: Asahi City City Maintenance Division (0479-62-5354)

Mobara Park (Mobara City)

  • Best spot: one of the top 100 sakura places in Japan; sakura festival is 3/24-4/10
  • When to go: Late March—early April
  • Number of trees: 2,850
  • Address: 1325-1 Takashi, Mobara City
  • Access: From Mobara Station (JR Sotobo Line), take the bus bound for Chonan Homen and get off at “Sogenji Temple” and walk 5 min
  • Inquiries: Mobara City Commerce, Industry and Tourism Division (0475-20-1528)

Hakkakuko Park (Togane City)

  • Best spot: sakura festival from 3/27-4/10
  • When to go: Late March—early April
  • Number of trees: 1,000
  • Address: 1415-1 Togane, Togane City
  • Access: 5 min walk from Togane Station (JR Togane Line)
  • Inquiries: Togane City Tourism Association (0475-50-1142)

Nagara Toshi Noson Koryu Center (Nagara Town)

  • Best spot: the Nagara Dam (lit up at night)
  • When to go: Late March—early April
  • Number of trees: 3,200
  • Address: 70-15 Yamanogo, Nagara Town
  • Access: 15 min by car from Mobara-Chonan IC (Ken-O Expressway) or Soga IC (Keiyo Road)
  • From Hamano Station (JR Uchibo Line) east exit, take the Kominato Bus bound for “Longwood Station” and get off at the last stop
  • From Mobara Station south exit (JR Sotobo Line), take the Kominato Bus bound for “Longwood Station ” and get off at the last stop.
  • Inquiries: Nagara Town Agriculture Exchange Center (0475-35-0055)
  • URL: http://www.town.nagara.chiba.jp/ 

Sakuma Dam Park (Kyonan Town)

  • Best spot: the sakura festival event on 4/3
  • When to go: Late February—mid-April
  • Number of trees: 2,000
  • Address: 39 Okuzure, Kyonan Town
  • Access: From Hota Station or Awa-Katsuyama Station (JR Uchibo Line), take the town loop bus and get off at “Sakuma dam iriguchi.”
  • Inquiries: Kyonan Town Tourism Association Hota Station Information Center (0470-55-1683)

 2) Experience the Heian Period at Chiba Prefectural Otone Museum (Katori City)

                 photootone

            The Heian Period, from 794 to 1185, marks the peak of Buddhism, classical Chinese influence, and the Japanese imperial court. Emperor Kammu moved the capital from Nara (where it was located during the Nara Period) to Kyoto, known at the time as Heian-kyo. The Heian Period saw famous figures such as the Fujiwara clan, which gained power by intermarrying with the imperial family, Sei Shonagon, who wrote the Pillow Book, and Murasaki Shikibu, who wrote The Tale of Genji.

              Travel back in time to the Heian Period and try on junihitoe, or “twelve-layered robe.” This elaborate and complex garment could weigh up to 20 kg. Ladies of the Heian court used their sleeves and folding fan to cover their faces when speaking to male outsiders. Men can try on sokutai robes, complete with a hat called a kanmuri.

              Reservations are required so history buffs should call in advance to make sure they don’t miss this rare chance!

  • Date: Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6 at 10:00-12:00 and 13:30-16:00
  • Capacity: 4 groups in the morning, 5 groups in the afternoon (maximum 5 people per group; each person must be over 145cm tall)
  • Price: 500 yen per person
  • Place: Chiba Prefectural Otone Museum, 4500 Sawara-ha, Katori City
  • Museum Hours: 9:00-16:30 (closed Mondays, or the next day if Monday is a holiday)
  • Admission: free
  • Access: From Sawara Station (JR Narita Line) take the Rosen bus bound for Ogishima/Itako Bus Garage (“Itako Shako”) and get off at “Suisei Shokubutsu-en Iriguchi” and walk 600m.

         The bus departs from Sawara Station at 9:10 and 12:25, and departs Suisei Shokubutsu-en for the station at 14:24 and 15:31.

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