Us, Bikes And Nothing but Nature: Cycling in the Wild in Chiba’s Minamiboso

Social distance traveling has never been more appealing.

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You can hear the waves splashing in the near distance. It’s hot but not humid and the heat feels surprisingly pleasant, softened by an occasional gentle ocean breeze. The road ahead is seemingly endless and you stop for a moment to fully embrace the view stretching before your eyes. You pause for a second to catch your breath and then you hit the pedal again: Welcome to Minamiboso — you’ve come here for the adventure and it’s ready for you.

Minamiboso: A cyclist’s paradise

Accessible in less than two hours’ drive from Tokyo, Minamiboso is a vast scenic region in the southern part of Chiba Prefecture, near the southern tip of the Boso Peninsula. Surrounded by water on all sides, Minamiboso faces the Pacific Ocean to the east and south and the entrance to Tokyo Bay on the west. Abundant with nature and scenic views, surrounded by the ocean and mountains, Minamiboso is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts: from surfing to sea kayaking to hiking and even open-air yoga — the adventure is everywhere in the area.

But most of all, Minamiboso is cyclists’ paradise: its endless roads along the ocean, mild climate (it’s way cooler than in Tokyo), low traffic and very few signals (you’ll be surprised!), Minamiboso is an ideal place to hit the road alone or in a group of fellow cyclists.

Being surrounded by the sea, Minamiboso further abounds in seafood and other local delicacies, including fresh abalone, turban shells and lobsters, which you can stop to try at various locations while cycling in the area. The area is also rich in historical landmarks and beautiful spiritual destinations, including numerous shrines and temples. But the greatest achievement of being in the area is the sense of freedom it gives you — from the fresh air to its all-shades-of-green rice paddies, colorful flowers, unforgettable oceanview and sunset spots.

 

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Now more than ever, the area appeals to travelers concerned for their safety: away from the city crowds and stress of any nature, the region is perfect for a “social distance” getaway from Tokyo. Here, there are no closed spaces with poor ventilation, no crowded places, and no fear of coming in close contact with many other people. It’s all you, your bicycle and the raw nature.

Cycling Day Tour Around Kamogawa

While you can visit Minamiboso all alone with your bicycle, if you still want some company to share the joy, consider joining a local cycling tour that adds a touch of culture and local exploration to the experience.

One local tour worth the experience is taking place in the beautiful city of Kamogawa in the Minamiboso region, which is best known for its famous aquarium Kamogawa Sea World, but there’s much more to it — especially if you’re on wheels. The locally-based company Boso Adventure Tours, which also rents out bicycles, has a long list of locally-curated attractions for cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts, but one of its most highly recommended plans is the one-day cycling tour in Kamogawa. 

Combining cycling with local familiarization, the tour includes experiencing and learning about the local culture. Sponsored by Wellness x Sports Kamogawa, the tour* begins with a visit to a local strawberry farm, where participants can eat as much of the fruit their heart desires and chat with the owners. This strawberry farm was one of the many facilities that were severely damaged in last year’s typhoon and more recently, the coronavirus outbreak. One of the largest in the area, however, the farm grows 15 types of strawberries, which tour participants can enjoy tasting and picking. 

The tour then moves on to a visit to Oyama Senmaida, the closest terraced rice paddies to Tokyo and one of the most empowering natural sites you can ever come across in Japan.

 

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Here, locals once again join the tour to explain a bit about how the regional  preservation association maintains the rice paddies. Taking photos here is a must — the green paddies stretch as far as your eyes can see and the contrast with the clear blue sky in the horizon is simply breathtaking.

“Minamiboso is an ideal place to hit the road alone or in a group of fellow cyclists.”

From there, the tour also cycles to “Suzusen,” one of the very few remaining dye houses in the Boso peninsula which preserves the tradition of “Maiwai” — an Edo period custom that celebrates a good catch by distributing special attire (the Maiwai) to local fishermen. Tour members can learn about the tradition here, while also testing their skills at painting and dyeing. 

The tour culminates with a visit to Minnami no Sato, a local marche and shopping complex operated by Muji, the famous retail franchise. There, tour participants can take a cooking class instructed by a local vegetable sommelier — and celebrate the end of a beautiful day with delicious food and good company. 

A variety of other options too

For those willing to stick around in the area for a bit longer, Boso Adventure Tours also offers a variety of other attractive tours. Apart from the many customized cycling tours on offer, another highly recommended day trip is the Nokogiriyama Walking Tour. It includes a climbing adventure of Nokogiriyama Mountain, during which you can also find out much about its stone cutting history and how the region played an important role in shipping stones to various cultural sites across the country, including the Imperial Palace. 

Nokogiriyama Mountain

Boso Adventure Tours also offer customized tours, so for those who have any personal goals and destinations in mind, feel free to reach out to their friendly team and they will tailor you to a one-of-a-kind program.  

If you want to further explore the area through a variety of outdoor and sport events, the friendly staff at the local association “Wellness x Sports Kamogawa” will be able to assist you and navigate you depending on your needs. For sport enthusiasts, the city has a number of well-equipped sport facilities such as the Kamogawa General Sports Ground, which has an athletic field, and a baseball / softball / soccer field and a gymnasium. To add to that, Kamogawa also has spacious hotels and other facilities that can welcome companies and groups willing to host various outing events, such as team-building competitions, trainings or just enjoy a day out in the wild!

Getting to Minamiboso

If you’re reaching the area by train, take the JR Express Wakashio from Tokyo Station to Awa Kamogawa Station (it takes around 2 hours). You can also reach the area by highway bus from Hamamatsucho and Tokyo stations (about 2.5 hours). The most convenient way is to go by car, which takes approximately 90 minutes. For those participating in tours, rental bicycles are available at the Heguri Clubhouse and Wellness & Sports Kamogawa, where the tours typically start and end. 

For more information on tours, prices and access, see Boso Adventure Tours’ official website here. For inquiries and bookings, see hereFor more information and recommendations on sport events and outdoor activities in Kamogawa, see Wellness & Sports Kamogawa’s website here. Follow Boso Adventures on Facebook for regular updates. 

*Please note that all tour details and selected venues depend on the season and are a subject of change. 


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