Moving time: 7:13:44 – Distance: 161.5km – Climbing: 912m
Today’s ride is a loop of around 150km that follows the coast of Tokyo Bay, passing via Urayasu, Funabashi, Chiba, and Boso.
This ride starts near Kasai-Rinkai Park, a popular gathering point for cyclists in Tokyo, and follows the R357 road across Urayasu (home of Tokyo Disneyland) and Chiba. The segment of the R357 connecting Urayasu to Funabashi is not cyclist-friendly and is better avoided with a detour through the industrial area at the outskirts of Funabashi.
Between Funabashi and Chiba there are various cycling paths and quiet side roads. Along the coast, there are also two large beach parks with BBQ areas and public showers. Inage Seaside Park happens to have the longest artificial beach in Japan and, on a clear day, it has a great view of Mt. Fuji on the backdrop of Tokyo’s skyline.
From Chiba city, I suggest riding parallel to the R357 and then head inland toward the hills of Boso peninsula. It is better to avoid the coast and, instead, ride south-east. The valleys of Boso peninsula have some beautiful landscapes punctuated by farms and traversed by narrow roads with steep climbs. Also to be noted, temperatures are usually lower than alongside the coast.
From this point, there are numerous routes to take. We decided to continue along Shizu lake and head south via Akimoto’s Ranch. After crossing a few valleys and many rice paddies, we arrived at our final destination, Kasamori-kannon temple. This Buddhist temple, known as the “Temple of Prayer and Fragrance,” is a unique example of Shiho-Kakezukuri architectural style in Japan. It is built on a massive rock and lifted 16m above ground by sixty-one stilts. From atop, the view of the surrounding hills is breathtaking.
We then headed back to Tokyo via an alternative route to Chiba. However, we found ourselves on some closed roads. Japan is increasingly prone to landslides due to earthquakes, weather changes, soil erosion, and changing land-use patterns (including abandonment of forest management). Scenes as the ones depicted in the photos below are not uncommon.
Since it was getting late, we decided to go onward and test our luck. Except for a few interruptions with mud and fallen trees, the streets were left untouched, and we were able to cycle toward Tokyo Bay on roads for ourselves. Back in Chiba, we followed the same route of the morning and headed back to Tokyo just in time for sunset.