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Summer is never complete without a trip to the beach, and this summer, I went to the Kujukurihama Coast on the eastern side of the Boso Peninsula. Specifically, I visited Ichinomiya Beach and Tsurigasaki Beach where the surfing event in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics Games will be held.
The quiet town of Ichinomiya, where both beaches are located, is known for its surf culture and laidback vibes. True to its reputation, the tourist information center that opened less than a year ago close to Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station, the main train station, has bicycles and surfboards for rent. Cycling is the best way to explore the area, which was what I did.
My route started from Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station, from where I headed straight down to the prefectural route 30 (nicknamed Kujukuri Beach Line) where majority of the businesses are located. Tsurugasaki Beach was my last stop before I headed back to Ichinomiya Beach to catch the sunset. The entire distance I covered on this trip was about 10-15 kilometers, and I found that it was easily doable on a regular bicycle.
As an island girl, beaches and the open sea hold a special place in my heart, but do not confuse me with Moana from the Disney movie ;P There is something about the raw power of open water that draws me to it, and I find it balances off nicely when juxtaposed with the laidback vibes of the town. My previous trips to Itoshima and Hayama come to mind, and this trip to Ichinomiya brought about a familiar feeling of home and comfort.
It was a bright and sunny day with blue skies when I went to Ichinomiya, and having the seabreeze meant that the temperatures did not go over 35 degrees Celsius when I was there. In fact, it felt a lot cooler compared to being in Tokyo, and the evening temperature hovered around 25 degrees Celsius after sundown. However, slapping on sunscreen should not be forgotten if you're going to be outdoors for most of the day.
I cycled along the Kujukuri Beach Line, stopping at cafes and shops along the way. The surfer town vibe in Ichinomiya was unmistakable with surf shops that line the main street, surfers getting ready to hit the waves, and where sunnies and beachwear was de rigueur.
Surfing is the main activity at the beaches in Ichinomiya, and surf schools like HIC (Hawaiian Island Creation) and CHP (California Hawaii Promotions) offer introductory lessons at affordable prices. Depending on the section of coastline, the waves can be suitable for absolute beginners to those looking to level up their skills to experts. It seems that Ichinomiya Beach offers smaller waves that are suitable for beginners, while Tsurigasaki Beach, where the surfing event for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games will be held, caters more towards experts.
Both beaches I visited had a sizeable number of surfers in the water, and many of them were children as it was the summer school holidays. I was envious of the children who were taking off and riding waves like they were born to do it. That envy resulted in me setting a goal for next summer: surfing or at least riding a wave. The Kujukurihama Coast offers decent waves all year round, and it looks like I may be doing some winter practice in time to come.
I ended the day watching the sunset at Ichinomiya Beach. It was the perfect close to the day, watching the pink and purple sky, and surfers catching their last waves. This is the place to be if you wanted an easy day out of Tokyo by the water that does not get mad crowded like the beaches in Kamakura.
Getting There and Around
Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station is the main station serving Ichinomiya. Direct JR Wakashio limited express trains depart Tokyo Station for Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station (60 minutes one way, about 2700 yen, one departure every 1-2 hours). Local trains between Tokyo Station and Ichinomiya require a change at typically Chiba or Soga stations (90 minutes one way, about 1500 yen)
Ichinomiya Beach and Tsurigasaki Beach are about a 30 minute walk from Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station and Torami Station respectively.
A variety of rental bicycles are available from the tourist information center near Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station, and one day rentals start from 500 yen. There are a limited number of bicycles available, and advance reservations are advisable, especially over the weekends and national holidays, and in the summer. More details can be found on the official website (Japanese only).
By Raina Ong, japan-guide.com