Old-world charm in a new age

Just a stone's throw from Tokyo, both Chiba and Ibaraki offer a world of difference and mix new and old to create their own individual charm. By Dylan Tan

Published Fri, Jan 24, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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WITH the world's best sushi restaurants (among other things) only about an hour's train ride away, it's easy to be tempted to head straight for Tokyo when you land at Narita Airport. But give the neighbouring prefectures of Chiba and Ibaraki a chance and you'll be surprised at how much both have to offer. They possess a skyscraper-free old-world charm that's a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Forget peak hour commuter jams. The roads are relatively clear at all times and most attractions are within a short distance of each other, making both prefectures ideal for a leisurely self-drive family holiday.

Some of Chiba's tourist sights are practically at Narita's doorstep, a mere 20- to 30-minute car ride away. The Museum of Aeronautical Sciences ( is just south of the airport.

When done checking out the models, simulators and other exhibits - the latest of which is the nose of a Boeing 747 through which visitors can climb into to check out the cockpit - you're welcome to sit back in the viewing gallery to watch planes take off from Narita, complete with "live" commentary from the control towers.

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