Charms of Minamiboso (11) Iyogatake


Located on the Kanto plain, Chiba Prefecture has the lowest altitude among all the prefectures in Japan, but among the gentle hills around Minamiboso City, Mount Iyogatake stands out with its rocky, abrupt summit. Actually, it is the only one in Chiba with the ending “take”, which means “peak”, and though it is only 338 meters high, you can experience the feeling of “mountain climbing”. The last part of the route to the top is a rocky steep slope with chains attached. You literary have to hold onto the chains to climb the rock! The reward is a great view of the villages below and of Tokyo Bay.


【こぼれ話】 地元に戻って来てまだ実家に居候していた1994年、母親にさそわれて登ってみました。軽い気持ちで出かけましたが、距離は短くとも、チェーンをにぎっての岩場のぼりには、ちょっとドキドキ。頂上からの眺めは確かにすばらしかったです。それ以来登っていませんが、また機会があったらぜひ登りたいなあと思います。かっこいい山姿はなかなか絵になるので、眺めるにもよい山です。

Charms of Minamiboso (10) Shiroyama Park


Shiroyama, literally translated as “castle hill”, is the place where Lord Satomi built a castle at the summit several hundred years ago.  Today the whole area is a municipal park and has been the locals’ favorite spot for an early morning walk or a family picnic on Sunday afternoon. Flower lovers enjoy observing various kinds of flowers all year round, but the cherry blossoms in early April and the azaleas in May are especially notable. The castle-like building you see today is a museum that was built in 1982.  Just below the top of the hill is a tea house with an exquisite Japanese garden, where tea ceremonies are occasionally held for visitors.



Charms of Minamiboso (9) Ishido-ji Temple


Longing for spring, one of the signs we look forward to seeing is the white or pink plum blossoms. If you want to enjoy the fragrance of the early spring, the plum orchard at Ishido-ji temple in Maruyama, Minamiboso City, is the one you should visit. The temple, said to be founded in 708, boasts the longest history as a Buddhist temple in Minamiboso. The main hall, the pagoda, and other buildings we see today date back to the 16th century, and have been designated as national cultural assets. Located on a hill in the country side, visitors can enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds the temple not only in early spring, but all year round.


Charms of Minamiboso (8) Nojimazaki Lighthouse


Nojimazaki point is located on the southernmost tip of the Boso peninsula, and has been an important marine traffic waypoint for ships coming into Tokyo Bay. Nojimazaki lighthouse is one of the eight western style lighthouses built by the Meiji Government in 1870s. The original lighthouse was destroyed by The Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, and was replaced by the lighthouse you see today. With a small admission fee, you can go up the stairs for a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean.


Charms of Minamiboso (7) Awa Shrine


The legendary origin of Awa Shrine goes back 2,670 years, when the Imbe family from Shikoku landed in the area. It has been the highest ranked shrine in the Awa area for a long time. The stout shrine building with the blue bronze roof and the forest in the backdrop creates a silent but dignified presence. Locals visit here for special shinto occasions, but the place becomes especially busy with visitors during the New Year holidays. In the crisp, fresh air of New Year’s eve, you are sure to feel a bracing atmosphere to see in the New Year.