|Boso Peninsula - Another Trip, Driving Down the Pacific
Coast this Time (Page-5) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
For this trip, I reserved a seat on one of JR's Limited Express (British English "Limited" as in limited number of stops, not limited speed) trains. Being a weekday and off-season, it was pretty empty. The beaches are busy right up until August 31st, but come September 1st, they are nearly deserted, even if the weather is perfect beach weather. Since this particular trip was taken on September 8th, the trains, roads, convenience stores, and beaches weren't crowded at all. The beaches were so empty, it felt a bit lonely in a way. Nice to beat the crowds, but it would have been funner if there had been at least a few more people about!
View (above) from the window of the JR Limited Express train I took to its terminal station, Tateyama (below). This type of train is quite old now and they are gradually replacing them with newer and sleeker ones. At Tateyama, I picked up the rent-a-car (Suzuki Wagon-R - below) I had reserved from JR when I bought the train ticket. The combination ticket was quite reasonable (helped by being off-season no doubt!).
There are two terminal stations on the Boso Peninsula for JR Limited trains - Tateyama on the Uchibo Line and Awakamogawa on the Sotobo Line. Rails follow the coastline all the way around the peninsula, with the Uchibo Line running along the bayside and the Sotobo Line running along the Pacific Ocean. Between the terminal stations of Tateyama and Awakamogawa (both about two hours from Tokyo Station) is a sleepy local line with seven stops between Tateyama and Awakamogawa.
The roads in Japan get wider and wider all the time, but there are still a lot of very narrow roads in Chiba, so if you drive there in a large car, you'll have to stick to the main roads and not get overly adventurous by driving into old neighborhoods with some of the narrowest streets in the country. If you would like to freely drive anywhere, then rent a K-car (1475mm x 3400mm with a 660cc engine). Modern micro-cars have become rather nice recently, with air conditioning, automatic transmissions, air bags, stereo systems and - vitally important if you want to do a lot of driving - navigation systems. The Suzuki Wagon-R I rented for this trip (above) was a pleasure to drive, with sufficient power, able to make very tight U-turns, and an absolute joy when driving on some of the extremely narrow streets encountered whenever the urge for adventure led into yet another maze that would have been a nightmare in a larger car.
Above - looking up into Tokyo Bay (part of the Tokyo shoreline can just been seen on the horizon). Below - just down the road and around a point, looking down the tip of the peninsula with the waves of the Pacific washing over a rocky stretch of the coastline. (Beaches for swimming and surfing are further down the coast.)
Middle picture below - the peninsula is famous for flowers, and while the weather is warmer there than inland thanks to the warm ocean currents that flow up from the south, still greenhouses are much in use here and there outside of the warmest times of the year.
Far right, above - this beach would have been full of people had I taken the picture just a couple of weeks earlier. As it was, I and another person also taking pictures were the only souls there. The bird below (which I thought was a hawk, but I've been told is something else) was gliding above me on motionless wings, riding the strong wind blowing in off the Pacific. I would love to be able to fly like that... maybe I should learn hang-gliding.
Further down the coast, I came upon one of the peninsula's lighthouses (above left and below left). The spiral staircase leading up to the top goes around so many times, that you find yourself getting impatient for the top or bottom as you wind around and around going up and then coming back down - but the view from the top is worth it!
The lighthouse and views from the top. The photos would have been better had the wind not been so strong, as the salty mist in the air from the strong winds cut visibility a little.
Left - looking out to sea from the top of the lighthouse. Middle - looking inland on the other side of the tower. Right - back on the ground, looking across a park towards an empty bandstand (on the left side of the picture).
There are several small fishing towns along the coast, all with boats like the one above in their harbors. This type of boat is also chartered by groups for sport fishing.
Copyright 2006 by Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon, Images Through Glass, Tokyo, Japan