Chubu Japan: Guide to the Chita Peninsula
The Chubu Region is often known for being the industrial powerhouse of Japan as well as being the home of Nagoya, the 4th-largest city of the country. However, it also houses an underappreciated coastal area: the Chita Peninsula.
The Chita Peninsula, part of Aichi Prefecture, has rice fields and slight hills surrounded by bodies of water, making it an optimal location for residence and relaxation. It is also home to Chubu Centrair International Airport, making the peninsula the global gateway into this area of Japan. Below are some of the top spots of the peninsula:
Tokoname is one of Japan’s oldest pottery towns. Since the Heian period, this city has been known to produce extremely high quality ceramics, where the Imperial family spoke highly of its bonsai pots, wind chimes, and incense burners. Earthy tones are ubiquitous in Tokoname Ware (known as Tokoname-yaki in Japanese), and continues its legacy today as being one of the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan. In addition to pots, Tokoname is also known for being the home of the famed fortune cat, Manekineko, as well as playing host to a large ceramic museum complex by INAX, the country’s leading toilet provider.
For more information, see Tokoname: The Town Where Amazing Pottery is Omnipresent.
2. Nomazaki Lighthouse
The Nomazaki Lighthouse is Aichi Prefecture’s oldest lighthouse, nestled in the town of Mihama on the southern portion of the Chita Peninsula. Built in 1912, it survived both world wars and is still in operation today. Its proximity to beaches and seaside tourism facilities make it an ideal excursion away from the large metropolis of Nagoya. Every summer, the Mihama Kaiyusai Festival is hosted here drawing large crowds from near and far. Be careful, there is a myth that the love of couples will vanish if you bring your loved ones here, but this can be prevented if you place a padlock onto one of the fences bordering the lighthouse park or at a nearby shrine!
While Nagoya is geographically located on the Ise Bay, its coastal areas have mostly been developed as ports and industrial lands. For local residents, they have to venture out for seaside recreational areas and Shin-Maiko does just that. Located about 30 minutes away by train from Kanayama, one of Nagoya’s main commercial centers, Shin-Maiko hosts the Shinmaiko Marine Park, a picturesque beach with a large accompanying park popular for watersports and fishing. There’s even a little beach house where you can swirl your own ice cream!
4. Chita Whisky
Whisky lovers should be no strangers to Japanese distilleries, which have been gaining recognition in recent years for their quality and attention to detail during its distilling process. Suntory, one of Japan’s representative distilling companies, manages popular brands such as Hibiki and Yamazaki, but have you heard of Chita? As you may have guessed, Chita is from the Chita Peninsula, and while its distillery is not open to the public, travellers to this area will notice that this whisky will be found everywhere from a local grocery store to souvenir shops on the peninsula. The Chita is a light whisky with notes of honey and woodspice, making it a soothing beverage while you relax.
5. Centrair Airport
Like Tokyo (Narita and Haneda international airports) and Osaka (Kansai and Itami international airports), Nagoya’s original airport had expansion limits and therefore needed a new airport to serve the region’s growing passenger and cargo demands. The Chubu Centrair International Airport, or Central Japan International Airport, was the solution for Nagoya’s old Komaki airport, built just off the coast of Tokoname, allowing around-the-clock service and further expansion possibilities.
This airport is quite the attraction of its own, with one of the world’s largest airport observation decks that gives visitors unobstructed views of its tarmac and runway, a complete shopping and dining facility that replicates an old Japanese town, an annual ninja festival, as well as its own in-house hot spring for travelers to freshen up. This has granted the airport a Skytrax 5-star rating, one of only eight airports in the world to earn this credit.