Paddy fields and large swathes of farmland zipped past as we drove towards the Choshi coast. As we pulled into the port, the cries of sea gulls heralded our arrival at the eastern coast of Kanto.
Our first stop was to Hamameishi, a seafood restaurant which was near the port. Even at 1030am, the restaurant was already packed. Thankfully we didn’t have long to wait before our food arrived.
The portion was generous and the seafood was incredibly fresh, unsurprisingly, because it was just delivered earlier in the morning. The uni (sea urchin) was sweet, while each globule of ikura (salmon roe) was a burst of flavour in our mouth. Neither were the fish lacklustre, as each slice of hamachi (yellow tail), maguro (tuna) and ika (squid) was huge and delectable.
Tummies filled, we set off for the Choshi Dentetsu, an electric-powered train which has been plying the Choshi coast since 1913. The stations and trains have retained much of their original looks, giving off a nostalgic feel.
Since it was just a 5.5km ride, the one-way journey to Inubosaki took only 23minutes. As our train pulled into Inuboh station, we were pretty thrilled when the clouds parted, revealing sunny blue skies. The Inubosaki lighthouse was a 10minutes walk on foot, and was a reverent sight to take in.
We ascended the narrow staircase with its 99-steps, before finally reaching the viewing platform. The balmy breeze tousled our hair as we took in the 360degree view of Choshi’s dramatic coastline. The way down took a little less time, although it was no less precarious.
We made our way down to the shore, stepping cautiously on the uneven surfaces. The rocky terrain was about 100 million years old, pushed to the surface as tectonic plates shifted. Its jagged edges and sheltered pools were also home to a thriving ecosystems, with fishes, shrimps and even starfishes. After spending some time discovering the myriad of lifeforms amidst crabs scuttling away, we made our way back to Nagano-cho station via the Choshi Dentetsu.
The fragrance of fermenting soy beans greeted our noses as we arrived at the Yamasa Soy Sauce factory. We have already made a prior reservation for the tour and we were glad to make it in time.
Since it was a weekend, our tour was just a basic one. We watched a video documenting the soy sauce-making process, and also partook in an interactive segment where everyone was gathered inside a soy sauce vat, with effects that simulated the fermenting process.
But the best part of the trip to the Yamasa soy sauce factory was its soy sauce ice cream. I was pretty distraught to realise that I had forgotten to take a photo of the ice cream, but nevertheless, I can still distinctly remember its caramel-liked flavours and the perfect interplay of salty and sweet. Sadly, the soy sauce roll cake was a little disappointing since we could hardly discern any soy sauce flavour.
Our last stop of the day was to Enpuku-ji, otherwise known as Iinuma Kannon-ji. Its five-storey pagoda and stone Buddha had looked over the Choshi fishing village since the early 10th century. However, what we see today is a reconstruction of the original temple, which had sadly been destroyed numerous times during its turbulent history.
As we made our way home, we couldn’t help wondering why it took us almost 2 years before we visited Choshi. With its beautiful coast, quality produce, and intriguing history it was a place that we can’t wait to return.