Hi, it’s Patrick from Smith’s School of English in Koenji. Since we can’t travel abroad these days, we decided to take in a little bit of Japan a couple of weekends ago. We wanted to get away, but didn’t want to travel too far, so we hopped on an express coach for about a two-hour trip to Tateyama. Tateyama sits on the southernmost tip of Chiba prefecture. Tateyama feels like any small town in Japan, but has some interesting sights to take in and wander about. As of June 2019, the city had an estimated population of 45,432. Like typical tourists, we rented a couple of bikes and made our way around.
While Tateyama is a popular destination for vacationing in the summer due to its proximity to Tokyo and its reputation as a “beach town” or “surf town”, there are numerous resort and holiday hotels dotting the coastline. Every August, tens of thousands of people gather on Hōjō Beach for the annual fireworks display. We followed the coastline along famous Hojo Beach and Arai Beach, making our way to Okinoshima, an uninhabited island surrounded by coral reef and populated by rare plants. A nice respite indeed.
We then decided to take in the Akayama Underground Ruins. Yellow construction safety helmets are provided. This tunnel was an air-raid shelter of Japan’s Naval Air Force during WWII. We were only able to see parts of the 1.6km tunnel. Some of the rooms in the tunnel were used for telegraph communication and medical treatments.
From there, it was a short bike-ride uphill to Tateyama Castle. Perched atop the 66 meter hilltop of Shiroyama Park, the Edo period castle overlooks Edo Bay and gives you a glimpse of what life was like for the villagers when the castle was built. The view from atop this hill was awesome!
A small town, a beach, a castle, a nature reserve, I definitely recommend Tateyama if you just want to have a little respite for a day or two.