A tour around Chiba
*Unfortunately, you can’t use cycling mode on Google Maps – Japan. Try to use driving mode or walking mode instead.
I was planning to camp in Chiba prefecture with my friends to check how my new road bike would do. So we decided on the meeting place to begin our tour of Chiba.
We all met up at a friend’s home in Tsudanuma. We loaded most of our luggage in a car and put essential stuff and valuables in the saddle bags that come with our respective road bikes. Then we took Route 296 towards Inbanuma. We drove safely since the roads in Chiba are narrow. However, I got scared every time heavy trucks passed by us.
My friend kept yelling ”Improve cadence!” when he passed me in his car. I was struggling to keep up. But my road bike was in very good shape since I did some maintenance work on it last night.
Then we arrived at a popular restaurant called The Inbanuma Suisan Center. Here is the official website.
Why did we decide to dine at this restaurant? Because one of our companions said he wants to eat some unique fish on our way to camp site. FYI, Inbanuma is famous for breeding their own fishes and this restaurant provides good eel, catfish and other river fishes.
We don’t like eel that much so we all ended up ordering catfish donburi. FYI, eel donburi costs ¥4,110 but catfish donburi costs only ¥1,030.
When it comes to taste, I thought catfish would smell muddy since they live in the bottom of the water. However, ours had an elegant and rich taste with a soft, fluffy texture and the odor has been removed well.
We also ordered deep-fried river shrimp which was fragrant and crispy. It tasted really great so I definitely recommend it.
After lunch, we took a short break then headed to the next destination. Someone suggested that we eat something sweet so we went to Yanagiya Honten in Narita to buy some Yokan (sweet bean jelly).
We bought one each and had dorayaki (a bean‐jam pancake) instead of energy supplements. We took another 20-min break to allow our tummies to digest all those good food. Here is the official Yanagiya Honten website.
We went back on our way through Route 296 then headed to the camp site. It took us 2 and a half hours including several short breaks in between. In the east side of Chiba, traffic is not too heavy so riding a bike on the main roads is a piece of cake and you can give more attention on the beautiful scenery as the wind blows through your hair and your legs create a beautiful rhythm in tune with the nature around you. It really does help clear the mind.
We arrived at the Taiyou to Umi auto camp. Here is the official website.
After checking in, we set up tent and prepared for dinner at the campsite.Campfires are prohibited so we used a fire stand (which is also available to rent through our website).
My friend made tomato soup which we shared while discussing plans for the next day. The soup was so warm and comforting from the cool air, we fell right to sleep under the stars.
We got up at 7 a.m. and heated up the tomato soup from last night for breakfast then tidied the tent up. We exchanged “thank you” with the staff and then we were off to the next destination – Tateyama!
On our way to Tateyama, we decided to drop by an onsen, a large open-air bath, to freshen up.
It took about 10 minutes to find an onsen but it was worth it since it wasn’t crowded and the therapeutic warm water felt so good on the body.
I continued to ride my road bike while my friends drove in the car. We had previously agreed to meet up at Umi no Eki station 30 km away.
Ocean Road is not crowded but a bit off road so you have to be careful not to get a flat tire then you have to wash your bike afterwards.
I remember the joyful kind of tiredness I felt after the challenging cycle ride and smelling salty when arrived at the station. There is a retro blue art display (Mail post) inside and we were compelled to appreciate the uniqueness and took photos because everyone else was doing it.
Most of the restaurants were crowded and we didn’t feel like waiting so we chose to eat at a less packed yet surprisingly good restaurant, the Seafood Donburi. All the food we were served were delectable. There is a fishing harbor nearby so their seafood are fresh. High marks for their tuna which was melt-in-your mouth good. If you can’t secure a table, don’t worry, there are other donburi shops around to choose from and you surely won’t be disappointed at the choices, aromas, service and of course the flavors.
I invited the whole group to go shopping for supplies before the sun sets so we dropped by a convenience store and had the chance to talk with some local people. They recommended us go to The Whale Museum, it sounded so interesting but it was unfortunately.
It was closed but at least we got to see a skeletal specimen of whale, it was lit up so bright that it was visible outside. We were in awe of how large it was.
Biking great distances and seeing just how big a magnificent sea mammal could get just put made me realize how massive the world really is and how much there is for us to explore. I wanted to see more, so much more.
We arrived at Orange Mura Auto Camp”. Here is the official website.
This place used to be Orange fields so be warned that the path narrows down as you move forward. The good part of this camp site is the abundant firewood. You can have as much you need.
We took some and made a small campfire where we cooked rice, miso soup and fresh, fat mackerel that we bought on the way. You can see the starry sky when you look up and marvel at the brilliance. I strongly recommend stopping by this camp site.
We got up at 7am, like the previous morning and took out the hot sandwich maker from the car to make “mackerel sandwiches”.
You might wonder about the mackerel sandwich. To tell you the truth, I make it often since I had it when I traveled to Turkey and it tastes delicious.
I fried some mackerel on a pan over the fire to keep ourselves warm while planning the schedule for the day.
Today is the last day of our bike trip so we definitely want to try out the best-tasting food and find the best onsen in the area.
We cleaned up within 30 minutes and left the camp site, bringing with us some of the best memories from the trip. By the way, this camp site is on a hill with gravel roads so I think it’s better to use a gravel road bike rather than a regular road bike.
I remembered there was a “Mother Farm” around the place so we decided to eat Jingisukan (lamb barbecue). It’s 50km away so we hurriedly went on our way.
On the way to Mother Farm, we dropped by a convenience store to take a break and a light snack to tide us over until our next big meal. While eating, we talked about how lucky we were to have had 3 glorious sunny days with very little windiness making our trip all the more wonderful.
My friends who were in the car arrived at the location before me and called that they found a parking spot so I sped up to catch up with them. It was an uphill ride, tough but rewarding. Once I arrived, I loaded the bike to the car and joined my friends inside.
We paid the entrance fee to get inside and we were greeted with the most luscious smell.
We went to the counter to claim the our orders and the server lead us to the barbecue area.
Eating lamb is not popular in Japan but this place prepares lamb meat so well that there was no strong, gamey odor left. I think everyone enjoyed the food!
My friends ate a lot but I tried not to overeat since I still needed to get on my bike later on. Then we walked around the park grounds to pet the animals and had ice cream for dessert. Then, it was time to depart.
The next destination is an onsen in Chiba city. We needed to hasten. The closer you get to Chiba city, the more heavy trucks would there be for you to contend with. You should exercise extreme caution at this point.
We arrived at Honoka Onsen. Here is the official website.
This place has large baths and 2 types of saunas in a huge relaxing space so we chilled out for a longtime.
That completed our mission! We decided to head home. My friends in the car got caught in some moderate traffic so I got home earlier than they could. I think road bikes are more convenient when navigating traffic. That’s one of the many reasons why I love riding road bike!
That’s it for now.
This time I traveled around Chiba prefecture so I need to wash the road bike to get rid of the mud and salt after the trip since there is a very long coast in Chiba.