“Fisherman’s house Araking”, the home of Kochan, a fisherman who loves the sea, fish, and fish dishes, is in the City of Minami-Boso, the Southernmost tip of the Boso peninsula in Chiba Prefecture.
This is approximately two hours from Tokyo station on the highway bus.
You can enjoy taking in the sea breeze while looking out over the expansive ocean, a feeling you will never get in the City. The sensation you get is one of arriving at a completely different world, completely separated from the tourist spots overflowing with people, and the urban bustle.
Kochan used to work as a salaried worker in the City. However, attracted by the natural beauty of Minami-Boso, he came to love the area, stating “I feel completely satisfied here without going to the city or overseas.”
Kochan’s place is perfect not only for people from overseas who wish to experience a local Japanese coastal town, but also for Japanese people who live in areas without the sea.
The guest room in which four people can stay is spacious and comfortable, including a refrigerator, a TV broadcasting Amazon Prime Video, and even a massage chair.
In the garden, you can enjoy a barbecue on the handmade wooden deck and have a relaxing time in the open-air bath.
This is “Fisherman’s house Araking”, where you can enjoy not only fresh fish dishes, but also surfing, and flowers in full bloom.
15 minutes’ car ride from Chikura station, JR Uchibo Line (free shuttle service available)
Approximately two hours from Tokyo station on the highway bus “Nanohana-go”
* Take the bus from the Yaesu exit of Tokyo station, and get off at either Chikura station (about 2 hours from
Tokyo) or “Shiokaze-Okoku” about 10 minutes further along.
Kochan will pick you up from either bus stop.
If you come from Tokyo station to Chikura station using the Japan Rail Pass, it takes about 2.5 hours (you will need to change trains on the way).
On the ceiling of the guest room is a light made out of driftwood
Enjoy your open-air bath time!
Raw fish is hugely popular with guests visiting from abroad.
“Just cut” fish are the most delicious ones you can eat, and it is unusual to be able to eat such fresh fish even at restaurants or from the supermarket.
Kochan：I cut the fish I have caught together with my guests, and eat them either raw as “sashimi” or baked as “yakizakana”.
We can also barbeque them on the wood deck in the garden. They are so fresh and really delicious!
The lessons on cutting fish by Kochan start from the basics of how to hold the kitchen knife, so even beginners can feel relaxed in joining the class.
Lesson on cutting and serving mackerel as “sashimi”.
When it is cold, “nabe” stew is highly recommended.
Kochan：Usually, when requested by the guests, I go out sightseeing with them or take them out to dinner in the evening. They can travel around the local area on the bicycles we loan them or the rental cycles that can be borrowed at the station.
When I have time, I am also able to take them to places that are further away, so if there is something that you would like to do, please just let me know!
What is the origin of the word “Araking” in “Fisherman’s house Araking”?
Kochan：My family name is Araki, and I have won surfing competitions making me the “Araking” (lol).
It is somehow simple!
This name makes a strong impression and is difficult to forget. In fact, Kochan’s history up until now is also very impressive.
Kochan：I was originally working in sales for a foreign-affiliated semiconductor company, but I love the sea so I became a fisherman.
That’s quite a change!
Kochan： I did surfing before, so I have always loved the sea. I longed to be a fisherman, so I got a shipping license that enabled me to operate a vessel.
At the very moment I stepped on to the ship, excitement ran through me and I knew “I want to be a fisherman!”.
This was about five years ago at the age of 45. It was a really moving experience the first time I ate a fish that I had caught myself.
I experienced living in the UK for 2.5 years, and the first six months were a homestay. Therefore, I am one of those rare fishermen who can speak English (lol).
Why did you decide to start a host family?
Kochan：The work of a fisherman is very hard, and physically demanding so I don’t think I can keep going like this forever. So, I began to wonder whether I could start a private lodging that guests can enjoy eating fresh fish, or I could make use of fish that would otherwise be disposed of, and develop my fishing business in some form.
I also thought that I wanted to give life to the local area, and I now contribute fish dishes at regional events and gatherings.
My dream is to have a private lodging where, as soon as you arrive by boat, you can eat the freshly caught fish on a barbecue.
Rather than a big lodging, I am aiming for somewhere that is of a size where I can communicate directly with my guests. That’s the goal.
The best thing is enjoying delicious fish dishes and having fun conversation with guests
What kind of experiences do you want guests to have?
Kochan：There are a wide variety of experiences available to you in Minami-Boso and the surrounding area, so basically you can do whatever you want to do.
With the sea, you can go surfing, bathing in the water, diving where you can see sharks and seabed shrines, as well as go on ships where you can learn about sea fishing and fishing ships.
On land, you can pick strawberries, loquats, and melons. Nokogiriyama (Mount Nokogiri), which you can scale using a ropeway, is famous among people from overseas.
My recommendation is the flower garden, which is in full bloom between January and
March. You can get to it very quickly from here and the flowers have a really delicious fragrance.
You can pick the flowers, so there are more tourists around in winter than in the summer.
In winter, the starry sky looks really beautiful at night as well.
The Chikura flower garden is just a few minutes away
Kochan：Additionally, you can take a tour around shrines and temples with a history greater than 1300 years, and enjoy sutra copying, making sushi, and ceramics.
There are a large number of artists, including musicians, painters, and poets, and you can find music and live events playing here and there.
You can also find Instagram-ready scenery that has been used in commercials and movies, such as the seashore and bridges.
The climate is moderate, and there is delicious food available throughout the year. It is close to the sea, but there are also small hills, and it only takes about one and a half hours to get to Tokyo, so I would recommend everything about it.
There seems to be nothing you do not recommend about it (lol). You are in LOVE with Minami-Boso, right?
Kochan：I feel moved every evening watching the sun setting in the sea.
There is an abundance of nature, and in addition to the fish, there is a rich array of vegetables and food, and they will exchange fish for anything in a barter system, so you can have fun without spending much money.
It is very satisfying to brew coffee at home while gazing at the sea in front of you. It is a stress-free life when it comes to money.
For this reason, I now feel completely satisfied here, without ever needing to go to the town.
What kind of “hospitality” do you provide for your guests from overseas?
Kochan：I am a fisherman, so I want my guests to eat delicious fish, experience being a fisherman, giving them a good impression of Japan through these things.
By having homestay guests, I will make more friends and get repeat customers. It is good to build up such connections.
What is the key to be a host family?
Kochan：You have to enjoy yourself. If you are not having fun yourself, the other party will pick up on this, so I always think we should have fun together.
Finally, how about giving us some more PR for Minami-Boso!?
Kochan： This region has many former salaried workers who have moved into the area. One of them is growing mainly Italian vegetables, another is catching wild boar and the like and serving game dishes. There is a family who has moved in and become self-sufficient. There are some real characters among them (lol).
Rather than having commercial stores, people tend to gather here who like the fact that there is nothing but only the sea, the sky, and nature.
Not only guests from abroad, but also Japanese people, as well as foreigners who live in cities, such as Tokyo, are welcome to come and enjoy the natural countryside atmosphere at the weekends!
Minami-Boso, unlike famous tourist spots, is a place where not many people from abroad have visited.
Enjoy the slow life of Minami-Boso where, despite having nothing there, is filled with countless attractions!
I’m eagerly waiting your visit！