千葉県Chiba Prefectural Government

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Foreign Languages > Chiba International Information Square > Nanohana Navigator (Minami-Boso Area)

Update:February 24, 2015

Nanohana Navigator (Minami-Boso Area)

Index

 Minami-Boso Area

Kamogawa City

Kimitsu City

Kisarazu City

 Minamiboso City

 

 Lake Kameyama and Kururi (Kimitsu City)

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Boat cruising on Lake Kameyama

 

     Nestled in the hills of southern Chiba is the scenic Lake Kameyama, Kimitsu City. It is said that this area has the latest season for fall foliage in the Kanto Region, and on most years, visitors can enjoy the colorful autumn scenery until mid-December.  

 

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Boarding the kotatsu boat 

 

     Visitors can enjoy the rich natural beauty of the Lake Kameyama area through hiking, cycling (bicycles are available for rental), or even by boat. Approximately 20% of the 720,000 tourists that come to Lake Kameyama each year observe the autumn leaves on one of the many boat cruises, as there are many fantastic foliage hotspots that can only be seen from the water. The Nanohana News staff also had the opportunity to enjoy the fall scenery from the water. These kotatsu-equipped boats helped us stay warm despite the chilly weather.

 

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Appreciating the scenery while waiting for a fish to take the bait

 

 

     While enjoying the last of the autumn season on the lake, we chanced upon a good number of fishermen despite the cold weather. Lake Kameyama is a popular fishing spot all year round, and fishing fans come here to catch black bass and deepbodied crucian carp. There are a number of boat rental facilities in the Lake Kameyama area offering boats for both fishing and leisure purposes.

 

     Information about boat rental, popular tourist spots, and more Kameyama can be found on the official website of the Kameyama Branch of the Kimitsu Tourism Association:  

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At the "Water Drawing Plaza" located near JR Kururi Station

 

     After Lake Kameyama, the Nanohana News staff continued on to the former castle town of Kururi, which is also located in Kimitsu. Besides being home to Kururi Castle, Kururi is renowned for its spring water. The quality of the water, beneficial substances contained in it, and most of all, its crisp, delicious flavor led the spring water of Kururi to be chosen for the Heisei no Meisui Hyakusen (the New 100 Best Waters of Japan) by the Ministry of the Environment in June 2006.

 

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At the Shinmachi well in Kururi

 

       Visitors are welcome to quench their thirst at various public wells throughout the town – please remember to be courteous to other visitors, and take care not to use private wells or water tanks! Links to maps indicating public wells can be found on the Kimitsu City  

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 Chiba Aqualine Marathon (Kisarazu City & Sodegaura City)

     The first ever Chiba Aqualine Marathon was hosted on Sunday, October 21. This competition was the first full marathon (42.195km) in Japan to be run across an over-water highway after being opened to public traffic.

 

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Yuki Kawauchi, who took first place, runs amongst the cheers of the crowd

 

      The Nanohana News staff set up shop near Mitsui Outlet Park (MOP) Kisarazu, which was located around the halfway point of the marathon course.

      The race began at 10:00am. Despite worries that strong winds might prevent runners from being able to run on the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, the highlight of the course, for safety precautions, the day proved to be warm but windless.

 

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Runners encouraged by the warm support of the locals

 

      The quickest runners got through the Aqua-Line and began passing MOP Kisarazu around 60 minutes after the starting time. Here, locals dressed in samurai armor, mascot characters from various cities and towns around Chiba, and family and friends of runners were standing by to cheer on over 13,000 runners participating in the Chiba Aqualine Marathon.

 

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Runners dressed in unique costumes

 

     Runners came from all around Japan (and some from abroad too)! While the Nanohana News staff also cheered on the runners as they passed by, we had a lot of fun picking out those dressed in costume. There were clowns (like the ones pictured above!), all sorts of animals (there was even a person wearing a rubber horse mask), pumpkins, video game characters, superheroes, and even a fair number of people dressed as Chiba’s very own CHI-BA+KUN.

 

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Top 8 male and female runners at the awards ceremony

 

       Many runners said that the hilly course made the Aqualine Marathon particularly challenging, but being able to take in the gorgeous views of the Tokyo Bay area from above the Aqua-Line was a priceless experience. But more than anything else, runners agreed that the best part of the Chiba Aqualine Marathon was the incredible, heartwarming support of the locals.

     

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 Sea Festa 2012 in Kamogawa (Kamogawa City)

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Sea Festa’s main venue teems with energy and excitement 

 

     The first weekend of June found the Nanohana News staff down in southern Chiba to kick off summer at Sea Festa 2012 in Kamogawa! As one of Kamogawa’s biggest annual traditions, about 58,000 people visited to join this seaside party at Maebara Beach.

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Hula dancers perfomring against the backdrop of Kamogawa's gorgeous Maebara Beach

 

     At the main venue located right next to Kamogawa’s Fisharina, Sea Festa visitors can buy local goods and gourmet at the Oraga (means “of my home” in the local Boso dialect) Market, and then relax in the charity beer garden area while watching the graceful, fluid performances of hula dancers. This special event held as a part of Sea Festa, called the Kamogawa Hula Festival has become so popular that now in its 4th year, 1,000 hula lovers come from all over Japan in order to perform here.

 

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The Seaside Shopping Mall has something for people of all ages to enjoy

 

     If you step outside the main venue, you will find the Seaside Shopping Mall, where booths sell all sorts of treats, beverages, and other goods. At some booths, visitors can also enjoy games and activities. This year, there was a special booth dedicated to an anime which began airing last fall, called “Rinne no Lagrange (Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne),” which takes place in Kamogawa. Around the beach area, visitors can also take part in events such as the Seaside Wedding, cruises around the bay, and treasure hunting for kids, and more.

 

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Take a stroll down Maebara Beach as you experience some of the many charms Kamogawa offers

 

     While Sea Festa won’t come around again until next year, Kamogawa’s summer is just getting warmed up! Amongst the upcoming summer events are the annual Kamogawa City Cup surfing tournament will be held on Sunday, June 17, beach season starting on Saturday, July 21, local festivals, fireworks events, and so much more! To learn more about future events in Kamogawa,  a Kamogawa tourism site featuring comprehensive information about local events, places to go, accommodations, and more.

 

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 Chikura Flower Fields (Minamiboso City)

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 Wander the maze of flowers in Chikura 

   

     During this time of the year, many visitors come to Minamiboso City’s Chikura district to escape the bleak winter season by enjoying the area’s early spring.

     The area along National Route 410 from Chikura to the border of Tateyama is called the Boso Flower Line. Here, you can find many gorgeous scenic flower spots. Going by car is recommended in order to get the most out of your trip to this area – but be careful! On weekends from January to March, the Flower Line can get busy with flower seeking visitors.

 

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The Shiramazu district's flowers in full bloom

 

     The Nanohana News staff visited the open flower fields in Shiramazu area of Chikura at the beginning of February. The vivid blossoms and rich green of the flowers make for an even more splendid view when combined with the sparkling waves of the Pacific Ocean. Here at Shiramazu, you can find a variety of flowers, including snapdragons, nanohana, poppies, marigolds, and stocks. The peak viewing season for the Shiramazu flower fields are from January to March.

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Little stores spread out amongst the flower fields 

 

     While visitors are welcome to look around the flowers freely, the flowers found here are goods for sale! These flowers have been carefully cultivated by the flower producers, many of them who have shops like the ones in the photo above set up around these fields. You can buy flowers from these shops. Some stores may allow you to pick your flowers, or you may point out which flowers you like and have the store take them straight from the field for you, so you can bring home some of the fresh cut flowers with you.

 

     Right now is peak season for this area, so there are many events and campaigns currently available for visitors to enjoy the flowers to the fullest. One such event is the Early Spring Flower Field Hiking campaign, which is being held from February 1 to March 31.

 

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  Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line and Umihotaru PA (Kisarazu City)

  

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  Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line with Kisarazu and the coast of Chiba Prefecture in the distance

  

     The Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, which opened in December 1997, is a highway road that stretches a total length of about 15km across the center of Tokyo Bay. The Aqua-Line cuts traveling time from Kisarazu City (Chiba Prefecture) to Kawasaki City (Kanagawa Prefecture) down to just 15 minutes. A 4.4km bridge reaches out from Kisarazu to connect to the 9.5km long tunnel extending from Kawasaki to make up the Aqua-Line. The artificial island, Umihotaru, is located at the junction of this bridge and tunnel.

 

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Restaurant and observation deck on the top floor of Umihotaru PA

 

     Umihotaru also serves as a rest area for travelers passing through the Aqua-Line. Umihotaru PA (Parking Area) is equipped with a variety of restaurants and souvenir shops featuring specialties of the southern Chiba area. Here, you can also enjoy a spectacular 360 degree view of the Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Chiba areas whether it is night or day. On a clear day, you can also see wonderful views of Mount Fuji and Tokyo Sky Tree.

     Don’t forget to visit the technology museum “Umimegane,” also located within Umihotaru, where you can learn about the shield construction method and other technology that went into making the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line.

 

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Mount Fuji at sunset seen from Umihotaru PA

 

     Next year will be an exciting year for the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line. The first is the opening of the outlet park scheduled for spring 2012. The outlets will be located in Kisarazu’s Kaneda District, just about 15-20 minutes by car from the Aqua-Line exit. The second is the Chiba Aqua-Line Marathon, which will be held on October 21, 2012. The marathon’s course circles around Kisarazu City and the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line all the way up to Umihotaru PA. Both of these events are sure to attract a lot of attention next year, so please stay tuned for more information!

 

Below you can find a couple of the many exciting, upcoming events made closer by the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line:

 

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  The Knife Ceremony at Takabe Shrine (Minamiboso City)

 

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Takabe Shrine (Minamiboso City)

     Minamiboso’s Chikura is well-known as a lovely beachside town particularly famous for its flowers. Situated in the heart of Chikura, Takabe Shrine is unique because it is the only shrine in Japan to be dedicated to a culinary god. A long time ago, when the emperor visited the present-day Minami Boso region, Iwakamutsukari-no-Mikoto impressed the emperor with his cooking skills so much that he was rewarded with the position of the emperor’s personal chef. Because of this story, many visitors, particularly those related to the food industry, come to the shrine to pray to Iwakamutsukari-no-Mikoto to pray for success.

     Nanohana News staff attended the Hochoshiki, or Knife Ceremony, held at Takabe Shrine on October 17.

Preparing the fish offering 
The fish remains completely untouched by human hands, even during preparation

      The Knife Ceremony is an impressive ritual where a fish is completely prepared using only a knife and chopsticks, so that the fish remains totally untouched by human hands.

     The atmosphere is solemn as the ritual performers enter the stage to the sounds of traditional Japanese court music. The performers then carefully present each and every one of the items to be used for the ceremony, including the fish that will be used as an offering. Finally, the toshu, or knife wielder dressed in ceremonial robes (see photos, clothed in white), comes on stage, but he begins the ritual only after careful inspection of the offering and tools. The toshu’s powerful, deliberate movements mesmerized the entire audience.

 

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Carefully arranging the fish before it is offered up in the shrine


      This ceremony is held three times a year on May 17, October 17, and November 23, and is open to the public for viewing. The next performance is coming up on Wednesday, November 23 at 12:00pm, so if you are a fan of traditional Japanese food and culture, be sure to check this event out!

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