Useful information about Chiba
General Information about Chiba Prefecture
Chiba Prefecture is located to the east of Tokyo and has a population of around 6.28 million people. It has an area of 5,158 square kilometers, and is the largest prefecture in the Greater Tokyo Area.
Two of the major train stations in Chiba Prefecture are Chiba and Kashiwa, both of which serve as interchange stations. The Chiba Station area is a business district that features many office buildings as well as shopping centers. The Kashiwa Station area is replete with department stores and restaurants, making it a popular area for shopping and dining. It is also a well-known spot for street musicians. Other important stations include Makuhari, Narita, and Choshi. Makuhari is home to Makuhari Messe, one of the largest convention centers in Asia. Narita is of course the home of Narita International Airport, while Choshi is considered to be one of the Three Great Fishing Ports of Japan.
Foreign Residents in Chiba Prefecture
As of December 2019, there are 165,162 foreign residents living in Chiba Prefecture. By municipality, Chiba City tops the list, followed by Funabashi City then Matsudo City. As you go farther east and south in the prefecture, the number of foreign residents tend to decrease. In terms of nationality, Chinese nationals are by far the most in number, with a population of 55,394. Next come Vietnamese with 21,137 residents, followed by Filipinos, Koreans, and Nepalese. For all nationalities, the population is mostly concentrated in Chiba City, but there is also a significant number of Filipinos in Ichihara City, likely due to the presence of a Filipino enclave.
Data source: Chiba Prefectural Government "Foreign Resident Population as of December 2019 based on the Basic Resident Register"
Popular Residential Areas in Chiba Prefecture
One popular residential area for foreigners in Chiba Prefecture is Funabashi City. From Funabashi, Tokyo is accessible by train in just around 30 minutes. It is also replete with commercial facilities that include a large shopping mall and a multinational furniture retailer, but it also has parks with rich greenery, making it a convenient and comfortable area. Another popular area is Chiba City, located about 40 kilometers from central Tokyo. With plenty of buses and trains servicing Chiba Station, access to other areas is quite convenient. The Chiba Station area also offers plenty of shopping options. Other popular places include the Kashiwa Station and Tsudanuma Station areas. These stations are both located near shopping malls, cultural halls, and municipal offices. In recent years, the Shin-Urayasu Station area has been gaining popularity, likely due to its safety and proximity to Tokyo, as well as its well-maintained cityscape.
Transportation in Chiba Prefecture
Chiba has a public transportation network that extends across the prefecture. Railways in Chiba include JR East lines, various private railways, and a monorail. In addition to the railway lines that connect major urban centers, there is the Tsukuba Express that goes up to Ibaraki Prefecture in less than an hour, and the Kominato Railway that runs to the southern areas of Chiba Prefecture. Some of the prominent JR East lines running through Chiba include the Chuo-Sobu Line, the Keiyo Line, and the Joban Line. The Chuo-Sobu Line connects Chiba and Tokyo, running from Chiba Station to Mitaka Station. The Keiyo Line runs from Soga Station in Chiba to Tokyo Station, and is commonly used by passengers heading for the Tokyo Disney Resort. Private railway operators include Keisei Electric Railway and Tobu Railway. The Keisei Electric Railway main line runs from Ueno in Tokyo to Narita International Airport. The Tobu Line runs from Omiya in Saitama Prefecture to Funabashi, and is used by many commuting workers. There is also the Chiba Urban Monorail that connects various locations in the urban center of Chiba.
Chiba also has a network of buses that supports the transportation needs of its residents. The main bus operator is Keisei Bus. Similar to railway lines, most bus routes pass through the urban centers of Chiba, Kashiwa, or Funabashi. There is also the Airport Limousine Bus that connects Narita International Airport with various cities in the Greater Tokyo Area.
Expressways also play an important part in the transportation of Chiba. Some of the prominent expressways include the Joban Expressway that provides access to the Tohoku region, and the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line that runs across Tokyo Bay to connect Chiba with central Tokyo.
Recommended Sightseeing Spots in Chiba Prefecture
There are countless tourist attractions in Chiba Prefecture. The most famous one is the Tokyo Disney Resort located in the Urayasu area. Besides the Tokyo Disney Resort, Urayasu also various shopping centers and hotels, adding to its attraction and convenience.
Another major spot is the Makuhari Messe in the Makuhari area, which attracts many visitors from all over the country when it holds special events. You should check out their schedule to see if there is an upcoming event that interests you.
For seafood lovers, the Choshi fishing port in the Boso area is a must-visit. This area is a place to enjoy fresh seafood and the refreshing sea breeze, and is a recommended spot if you want to spend a leisurely time in the coastal countryside.