Chiba is part of the Kanto Region of central Japan and is located just next to Tokyo. For anyone flying into Japan, and landing at Narita Airport, you should know that you are actually arriving in the Chiba prefecture. Narita town sits on the north of Chiba, and almost all visitors to Japan tend to bypass this prefecture and head straight into Tokyo.
The good news for return visitors to Japan, on your next visit here, you can opt to spend a day or two exploring this part of the Kanto Region, and if you are a Japanese food lover, you will be in for some surprises as Chiba is quite well known for some of the freshest seafood, unique curries, amazing noodles and mouth-watering desserts.
The capital of Chiba Prefecture is no other than Chiba City, which is also in the greater Tokyo areas. It only takes you slightly less than one hour by train from Tokyo, and for some, you can even do a day trip here to explore the unique Chiba food. Let’s start with some of the popular food from around Chiba, and please note that some of the places require travelling around Chiba.
A restaurant menu showing the Chiba Buckwheat Noodles.
Chiba Buckwheat Soba Noodles
Probably one of the most famous kinds of noodles that Chiba offers is the buckwheat noodles, otherwise commonly known simply as Soba, and you can find many restaurants that sell them. The thicker type of noodles is known as Udon, while the slimmer ones, like spaghetti, are known as soba.
While places like Nagano and Hokkaido are well known for their soba, the Chiba prefecture also produces their own buckwheat and is often used locally. And some of their dishes are quite different and also interesting. One restaurant called Soba Shibou Higurashi in the Narita area serves some rather unique dishes, like buckwheat with duck, pork belly and sliced soba and even bamboo soba dishes.
Cold Buck Wheat Noodles in Chiba.
The buckwheat menu has many different types of Japanese dishes, soupy, cold or even dry, and it is up to you to try something different compared to the general ramen noodles. If you are around the main Narita area, then check out this restaurant.
Soba Shubou Higurashi
Address: 2F 839 Hanazakicho, Narita-shi, Chiba
The unique bamboo shoot curry in Otaki.
Bamboo Shoot Curry (Takenko)
Over in Otaki, at the Isumi District in the south-east of Chiba, you can find a restaurant serving some unique bamboo shoot dishes, which are quite unique and unusual. Otaki is quite known for bamboo and also the shoots, hence the locals here have created dishes using the shoots.
One place to check out is a restaurant called Road Station Takeyura no Sato, located near the Otaki Castle and is very popular among the locals here. They serve all kinds of bamboo shoot dishes, and one of the more popular ones if the Bamboo Shoot Curry. Other dishes to try are also the local Japanese wild boar cooked with bamboo shoots and the Wild Boar Ramen.
The unique Japanese Wild Boar Curry from the Road Station.
This restaurant doubles as a rest stop, which also sells souvenirs, fresh produce and many other interesting. If you are travelling via road in Chiba, do make a stop here for the bamboo shoot dishes and when you are done, try the local ‘Selene ice cream’ here.
Takeyura no Sato Road Station
Address: 855 Otaki machi, Chiba Prefecture 298-0256 Ishigami
Hours: 9.00 AM to 6.00 PM
A deep fried flower dish from Minamiboso.
Fried Edible Flowers in Minamiboso
This one is truly a one-of-a-kind experience, where you can savour fresh flowers that are deep fried. Yes, you read correctly. Deep fried fresh flowers. Though this unique and strange dish is seasonal, the best time to try them is during the spring period.
The flowers are coated in a type of tempura flour, before deep frying them, and served hot. Usually, the species of flowers include marigolds, snapdragons and rapeseed blossoms just to name a few. And of course, this dish is highly popular with the ladies due to the fact that these deep-fried flowers provide good nutrition for the skin.
The Big Roll Sushi, which is sold at the Hanabou Restaurant here.
There are a few restaurants in the Chikura area where you can find the deep fried tempura flowers, and one of the well-known places is Hanabou Sushi Restaurant, found at 1051 Chikuracho Senda, which is a mini-mall concept area in the south most part of Chiba.
Apart from the fried flowers, this restaurant serves some of the freshest seafood dishes, sushi and fresh lobsters. Oh, do order the Big Roll Sushi when you are here they are truly unique and interesting.
Hanabou Sushi Restaurant
Address: 1051 Chikurachō SendaMinamibōsō-shi, Chiba-ken 295-0025, Japan
Tel: +81 470-43-8871
Hours: 11.00 AM to 9.00 PM
Lobster Ramen, one of the unique dishes in south Chiba.
Biwa Curry & Lobster Ramen at Michi no Naki Tomiura
This is for those who rent a car and explore Chiba, as there are many road stations or rest stops along the main highways. One very famous road station is the Michi no Naki Tomiura, where you can sample the famous Biwa Curry Rice and also the Lobster Ramen.
The Japanese road stations are unlike other countries, where they have a good combination of restaurants, fresh produce store, convenient store, mini gas station, ice cream shop and even a farmers market on weekends. Most locals who travel around this part of Chiba will surely make a stop here.
Michi no Naki Tomiura
Address: 123-1 Aoki Tomiura-cho, Minamiboso, Chiba 299 2416
Hours: 10.00 AM to 6.00 PM
This is the Michi no Naki Tomiura Road Station.
Overall, the best way to explore Chiba Prefecture is to rent a car and self-drive around the Boso Peninsular. There are many interesting cities, historical places, castles and landscapes to see here. While doing that, there are also many road stations which offer some of the best local Japanese food.
Though this part of Japan is still relatively new to tourism, many of the Chiba locals are welcoming and will do their best to welcome visitors here. Even if you do not speak Japanese, a language translator app will come in handy during your trip here.