Naritasan Shinshoji temple is a great place to visit if you have a layover at Narita Airport, as it's only ten minutes away by local train.
■ Naritasan Shinshoji temple
It is one of the largest Buddhist temples in Japan. It has a history of over 1000 years and it is a popular spot where over 10 million people visit every year.
On the temple grounds, there are many elegant old structures including the huge main hall, the three-storied pagoda, and the Niomon gate some of which are designated as Japan’s important cultural properties.
The Buddhist fire ritual called Goma ceremony is conducted by monks several times daily, and everyone is welcome to witness and participate.
So, it is an ideal place to see something about the Japanese Buddhism.
■ Omotesando street
To go to the temple from the Narita Airport, you should take a train to JR Narita or Keisi Narita station and then walk north for about 15 minutes.
The approach to the temple is called the Omotesando street, an avenue of shops, restaurants and cafés having traditional atmosphere.
The avenue is a great place to browse local handicrafts, works of art, snacks and other foodstuffs, as well as good-luck charms and other souvenirs, such as Daruma dolls.
There are also many restaurants offering Japanese food including grilled eel, sushi, and udon, soba, ramen noodles.
■ Japanese garden
Behind the main hall of the temple, there is a beautiful Japanese garden.
It is the strolling landscape garden that features paths around ponds.
Mounds of earth, rocks, and trees are placed around the ponds in order to create miniature reproductions of natural scenery.
Maple and cherry trees are chosen for their seasonal appeal.
Pine, bamboo and plum trees are planted because they are regarded as auspicious trees.
Colorful carp fish swim in the ponds, which introduce additional color and life to the garden.
It is very refreshing to amble along the paths in the picturesque gardens.
■ Narita temple tour
The Narita-san Shinshoji is worth visiting.
If you are interested, please see this site.