Surface area: 5.156,15 km2
Best time of year to visit: See the national data sheet
Main centres: Chiba, Narita, Sakura-shi, Kashiwa, Ishikawa, Katsuura.
The prefecture of Chiba in Japan is on the main Japanese island of Honshu and is part of the Kantō plain.
It is adjacent to the metropolitan area of Tokyo and is bordered by the latter and the prefecture of Saitama to the north west.
To the north, it is bordered by the prefecture of Ibaraki.
To the south west is the Bay of Tokyo and to the south and east it is bordered by the ocean.
A large portion of Chiba extends into the ocean forming the Bōsō peninsula which, to the west, encloses the Bay of Tokyo.
It is a very important region of Japan from a production, agricultural, industrial and logistical point of view being the location of both Narita Airport and the Port of Chiba.
Chiba’s close proximity to Tokyo has rendered it part of the production and tourist circuit of the metropolis.
In addition to Narita Airport, it is the location of the amusement park, Disneyland Tokyo, and the Tokyo Disney resort both of which welcome millions of visitors every year.
Chiba is very old. Large accumulations of shellfish molluscs dating from the Jomon period (10000 to 300 BCE) have been found in the region.
In the area around Narita Airport in the Shibayama territory, various tombs from the Kofun era (250-538 AD) have been discovered and have given up a large number of terracotta statues known as haniwa which were used to encircle these sacred areas.
During the medieval period, the area was the base for important aristocratic warrior clans, amongst which was the Chiba clan, (meaning a thousand leaves in Japanese), from whom the area subsequently got its name.
In the last century, a vast industrial area was developed on the west coast which is known as the Keiyō zone, although the agricultural heritage known as the “granary” of Tokyo is still in existence today.
The presence of agriculture and livestock breeding, especially of horses, in the area of Narita, resulted in strong protests in 1978 when this area was chosen above others as the preferred location for the new international airport.
Although not particularly well known as a tourist destination in Japan, a visit to the prefecture of Chiba will not disappoint its visitors.
A visit to Chiba will enable you to travel through various phases of Japanese history and culture as well as learning about important aspects of agricultural production and traditional crafts.
A trip to Chiba must include a visit (of several hours) to The Sakura National Museum of Japanese History, an impressive structure that has been built in an area that is not densely populated. The detailed scenic displays will enable you to see all the various stages of Japanese history.
The city of Chiba, also the location of the University’s headquarters, is the main centre, with nearly a million inhabitants, of one of the most important Japanese commercial ports based on the volume of goods that it handles each year.
You will also find the longest suspended monorail in the world in the city of Chiba as well as the largest accumulation of shell mounds which have been gathered by previous generations.
It is also worth visiting the Buddhist temple of Fudō Myōō. This temple in Narita is particularly well known for providing protection to travellers for a safe journey.
The cuisine in Chiba is of particular interest because of the richness of its local agricultural production.
The rice that comes from this region is especially well known and comes in various different varieties: fusakogane, fusaotome and koshihikari.
Chiba is also well-known for its production of peanuts, pears, miso, soya sauce and watermelons.
There are also famous sake distilleries in the area of Sawara, for example.
There is also an interesting organic farming movement in the Narita area which is made up of local farmers and Tokyo residents who have chosen to abandon the metropolis in order to dedicate themselves to the more natural rhythms of life.