“People, Dreams, Future. A Village With Locally Grown Appeal, Minamiboso.”
Located on the southern-most tip of the Boso Peninsula in Chiba, Japan, Minamiboso City is a relaxing area with fresh seafood, breathtaking ocean views, and unique, local traditions. Its proximity to the main airports of Japan as well as the Tokyo Metropolitan Area make it a time- and budget-friendly vacation.
It is particularly known for its biwa (loquat). It is also famous for whaling, surfing, uchiwa fans, and beautiful flowers (some of which you can eat deep-fried!). And perhaps best of all, the city offers a beautiful view of the ocean, and on a clear day, even Mt. Fuji! If you’re a fan of the beach, Minamiboso is the perfect getaway.
FACT: Minamiboso City was established on March 20, 2006 after the merger of 7 different towns and villages (Tomiura, Tomiyama, Miyoshi, Shirahama, Chikura, Maruyama, and Wada).
WHAT MAKES MINAMIBOSO UNIQUE?
Minamiboso has the only shrine in Japan dedicated to the god of cooking! At Takabe Shrine, a special knife ceremony is performed twice a year for this purpose, and chefs from all over the country come to watch.
The city is famous for biwa fruit (loquat) and has been presenting biwa to the Imperial Household for more than 100 years! In addition to the fruit itself, Minamiboso sells biwa ice cream, jam, curry, soap and more! Visit the roadside station Tomiura Biwa Club to get your fill of biwa.
Among the three famous Japanese uchiwa fans, the Boshu style fan was born in the Boso Peninsula in the 18th century. You can learn how to make your own fan here and keep it as a souvenir at Tomiura Biwa Club!
The east coast of the Boso peninsula is a hot spot for surfers. In fact, Ichinomiya in Chiba Prefecture will hold the first-ever surfing competition for the 2020 Olympics! On the beaches of Shirahama and Chikura on the east coast of Minamiboso, you can find surfers almost all-year round. There are places to rent suits and boards, so get ready to ride some waves.
Minamiboso is one of the only a few places in Japan where whaling is legal. Regardless of your personal stance on it, whale is a part of local culture here and is sold at almost any supermarket or Roadside Station in the city. It’s even included in children’s school lunch from time to time. Roadside Station: Wadaura WAO! is whale-themed and includes a gift shop.
Minatan is the much beloved mascot of Minamiboso City. She is an ama diver, based on the women in the Edo period that would dive into the sea to collect shells and food. She carries fresh fish on her head and a local fruit called biwa (loquat) in her left hand. Her blue hair which peeks out from under her diving outfit represents the waves of the ocean.
Learn more about the ama divers and their festival here.
Chiba-kun is the adorable mascot of Chiba Prefecture. If you look at him from the side, you can see his body is the shape of Chiba Prefecture! He is very curious and enjoys new challenges. When he faces the unknown he is filled with courage and excitement, and glows red.
Those from Chiba sometimes explain where they live by pointing out where on Chiba-kun’s body they are! Minamiboso (南房総市）is at his knees.
HISTORY: How we got the name “Boso”
Long ago before Chiba Prefecture was formed, this area was made up of the Awa (安房) province and Fusa province. The Fusa province was divided into two parts, Kazusa (上総) and Shimosa (下総). Literally, they mean “upper fusa” and “lower fusa,” but if you look at the map, “lower fusa” is actually above “upper fusa.” This is because they were named based on which was closest to the capital of Kyoto (southwest of Chiba). The lower half was closer, so it was called the “upper fusa” or 上総.
The term “Boso” came from the combination of the character “房” from Awa (安房) and the character “総” from Kazusa (上総) and Shimosa (下総), thus creating 房総 (boso). (You might also hear the area called by it’s other name, Boshu 房州.)
In 1871, after feudal domains were abolished, Boso was divided into 24 prefectures, two of which were Tateyama and Sakura. After that, Kazusa and Awa were combined to form Kisarazu Prefecture, and Shimosa was renamed Inba Prefecture.
Chiba Prefecture was not formed until June 15th, 1873.
*Additional fun fact: If you look at the northern border of Shimosa (下総), you may notice that the border is different from where it is today. This is simply because the river shifted and changed the border so that instead of Chiba-kun (mascot pictured above) having a trumpet-shaped nose, he now has a pointy one!