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If it was thousands of miles from home, I would wistfully think of this as an exotic and special place. It has almost everything I want in a seaside hangout: Empty beaches backed by pine forests, not condos; surfing waves; fishing piers; hilltop viewpoints; and family farms growing corn and watermelons. Then there are the good, cheap restaurants and the many minshuku (family-run guesthouses) — and funky surfers who make it feel like Bali or Hawaii.

But 66-km-long Kujukuri-hama (meaning “Ninety-nine-ri Beach” — using the ancient distance-measure of ri) is less than a two-hour trip from central Tokyo by train or car, being only 60 km at its nearest point from the capital. This means that a good mountain bike or road bike will get you there, too — feeling unwound from the city and ready to lap up the delights of this Pacific shore extending along the east coast of the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture from Iioka-cho to Misaki-machi.

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