All About Japan

5 Places to Catch the First Sunrise in Choshi

| New Year's , Chiba

Choshi, Chiba, is actually much more than just the photo-prop dreamland of Japan. It also happens to be the easternmost point in the Kanto area, making it the first place to see the sun on New Year's Day. So here are our top spots for seeing the first sunrise in the land of the rising sun!

5. Enpuku-ji Temple

If you're looking to get a spiritual start to your New Year (and many Japanese people do!), Enpuku-ji is a Buddhist temple that features nice views of the town and the sky above, and a sizeable Buddha sculpture as well. Said to have been founded by the monk Kukai (Kobo-Daishi) in the ninth century, it's a popular temple for Buddhist pilgrimages. Its eastern location makes it a great place to catch your first glimpse of the New Year's sun!

4. Choshi Port Tower

If you're looking to get even higher than the lighthouse (below), Choshi Port Tower is a 57.7-meter-high (189-ft) twin tower with an observatory that features breathtaking views of the ocean. Opened right on the coast in 1991, the tower was built to boost tourism in the area, and its observatory has been an immensely popular spot for taking photos for both locals and tourists alike.

3. Byobugaura Cliffs

The Byobugaura Cliffs comprise a roughly a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) stretch of cliffs beautifully sculpted by erosion. The views from Byobugaura Beach below are amazing because they feature the endless ocean on one side and the steep cliffs on the other, making them a great place to be immersed in natural beauty as you watch the sunrise. Located along the southern coast of Choshi, these cliffs are easily accessible by car or bus.

2. Chikyu no Maruku Mieru Oka Ocean View Observatory

This observatory, whose name roughly translates to "the hill where you can see the Earth is round," is perched on top of Atagoyama Hill (about 73 meters/240 feet high). It features a 360-degree view of the Pacific, and on clear days you can even see Mount Fuji and Mount Tsukuba in the distance. It was given its name because you can see so far out into the ocean from this observatory that you can see the actual curvature of the Earth.

1. Inubosaki Lighthouse

Inubosaki Lighthouse is a 31.5-meter-tall (103-ft) solid white lighthouse that was designed and constructed by British engineer Richard Henry Brunton in 1874. It's the second-tallest brick lighthouse in Japan (only the Shiriyazaki Lighthouse in Aomori is taller—also built by Brunton). You can get to the top of this lighthouse by climbing a twisting staircase that has 99 steps. This workout is absolutely worth the sore calves, because at the top are stunning views of the Pacific Ocean from the easternmost part of Kanto. The lighthouse is only a 7 minutes’ walk from Inubo Station on the Choshi Electric Railway Line.