Shiroi, or "White Well
," is a semi-rural "new town
" of 53,000 located in northwestern Chiba Prefecture
, roughly equidistant from central Tokyo
and the New Tokyo International Airport
. Its main commuter link to the city is the Hokuso Rapid Railway
, by which one can get from Shiroi to Tokyo Station
in about 50 minutes.
During the Meiji era, Shiroi became a fruit-growing area. Local farmers planted kiwis and grapes, but the most famous of Shiroi's fruits turned out to be pears. In the springtime, the pear trees still bloom alongside the sakura (cherry blossoms).
As the Japanese economy grew in the 1970's, many people moved from the country to the cities, and the growth of Tokyo sent many residents out to suburbs that were popping up in the Kanto countryside. Shiroi's real growth began during this period: its rail connection to Chiba City was completed in 1979, and it was linked directly to the Tokyo railway network in 1991.
Nowadays, Shiroi is on the frontier of the Tokyo metropolitan area, and so it may be swallowed up if the metropolis continues to grow in the future.