History of Naritasan and Shinshoji Temple
Naritasan (成田山) is a traditional and historic site located in Narita, Chiba Prefectute. In the center of the area, there is a big and beautiful temple called Naritasan Sinshoji (成田山新勝寺). In 940, a great Buddhist monk Kancho went to Narita and enshrined the image of Fudomyo (an important protective deity in Shingon Buddhism) to pray for the end of the rebellion against the Imperial Court. After his praying, Taira no Masakado, a samurai who led the rebellion, was defeated and peace prevailed. That was the origin of the foundation of Naritasan Shinshoji Temple.
How to get there
It is easy to access from Narita airport both by car and trains.
1 Narita, Narita-shi, Chiba, Japan
-by car (taxi): only around 20 minutes from Narita airport
-by trains: 10 minutes walk from JR or Keisei Narita station. You can take either JR or
Keisei Line at the Airport Terminal 2 Station if you head to from Narita airport.
Hours and fee
<Hours> Always open (facilities and shops have their opening hours)
Things to do in Naritasan
There are so many things to see and do that it would be worth exploring for one or two days if you have a time. You will have a great impression and unique experiences.
1. Temple buildings
You can access to a variety of the temple buidings standing on the huge ground of Naritasan for free. Some centuries old buildings are nationally designed as the "important cultural property".
First, you will see the two big entrance gate that lead to the main hall of the temple.
The Great Main Hall, where the Fumyodo has been enshrined, is very huge, beautiful, and serene.
There are more buildings with amazing sculptures and statues worth seeing. You can feel the Japanese traditions.
A lot of historic and cultural properties are displayed at small museums in Naritasan. There is one big museum called "Calligraphy Museum" where has a great collection of calligraphy works and materials (500 yen for adults and 300 yen for students).
The surrounding gardens and forests are absolutely beautiful and peaceful in all seasons. You can enjoy different kinds of plants and flowers in each season. Especialy cherryblossoms in spring and the red leaves in fall are amazing. There are also ponds with colorful coi (carp) and even turtles.
4. Shopping street
Omotesando is a long street stretching from Narita station to the entrance gate of the temple, where a bunch of small shops, restaurants, and stalls are lining up. The street has a lively and traditional atmoshpere.
There are many Japanese restaurants and cafes on the Omotesando. They have nice and retro atmosphere. One of the most popular restaurants is Kawatoyo (川豊) specialized in eel dishes. Their unaju, dipped in a sauce and grilled eel topped on rice, is amazing. The eel is fresh and soft, the sauce is sweet and savory that goes well with the eel and rice.
You can also try street food like dango (Japanese mochi dessert on a stick) and ice cream made from the local milk.
There are many shops selling traditional crafts and goods that are nice for souvenirs. Also you can buy "omamori" at temple, which is a lucky charm that is said to protect you or bring you a luck. It is common to have it in Japan.
7. Shows and events
They often have a special shows and othe traditional rituals at the temple. You can check the events schedule on the official website.
People usually draw an omikuji when they visit temples and shrines. It is a paper that tells your fortune. They offer the English guide at Naritasan so you can understand how to do and what your omikuji says. If you get a bad fortune, you need to tie the paper like on the picture.
Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is definitely a great site for to visit if you want to feel Japanese traditions. It is also easy to access from Narita airport and Tokyo area. It is highly recommended!