Narita san Shinsho-ji temple

Close to Narita Airport is Narita San Shinsho-ji temple and the traditional Omotesando Street. When I worked for All Nippon Airways, I went to Narita very often. This small village was the setting for many of my walks before and after my flights. It will always have a place in my heart, even if I prefer landing at Haneda Airport now.

Narita village

The small town has much more to offer than its airport. The biggest attraction is its temple but Narita’s surroundings are perfect for day and half-day trips. See the article dedicated to Narita and its surroundings.

Heiwa-daito pagoda viewed from the bottom
Small statues with hats at Narita san Shinsho-ji

The small town has much more to offer than its airport! Narita san Shinsho-ji is a large temple, mostly visited in the New Year and in autumn. Don’t miss Omotesando Street, with its atmosphere of the Edo era.

The traditional atmosphere of Omotesando street

This pretty little retro street stretches for one kilometre between Narita train station and Narita san Shinsho-ji temple. It’s a very photogenic street, lined with traditional Japanese houses as well as many restaurants and shops. You will feel like you have traveled to ancient Japan! Notice how the cityscape changes as you move along Omotesando street. Modern buildings give way to traditional houses.

The traditional Omotesando street

There is a selection of food, drinks and souvenirs, including typical dishes of the region, the unagi (freshwater eels). Among the restaurants is a little hidden gem: Miyoshiya

Miyoshiya: traditional tea house

After, or before visiting the temple, I recommend going to my favourite place to relax and have a cup of tea. Miyoshiya is a traditional tea house nestled in a small lane that overlooks a Japanese garden.

matcha and dessert at Miyoshiya, a traditional teahouse in Narita
Miyoshiya: traditional tea house in Narita

Miyoshiya, 三芳家 386-2 Nakamachi, Narita 286-0027. The tea house is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm every day except Wednesdays.

Narita san Shinsho-ji (成田山新勝寺)

Narita san Shinsho-ji is a large Buddhist temple complex, built in 940. It is a great place to visit if you have a few hours to spend around the airport. The temple is one of the largest and most popular in eastern Japan. A variety of temple buildings stand on the spacious grounds (220,000㎡!). Among the most interesting:

Heiwa Daito, great peace pagoda

This vermilion pagoda is called the great peace pagoda. It was built in 1984 in prayer for peace and happiness in the world. It measures 58 meters and has five floors over two levels. On the first floor there is an exhibition on the history of the temple.

the vermillon Heiwa-daito pagoda
Heiwa Daito, the great peace pagoda  seen from afar

Three-story pagoda

The pagoda is located in front of the large main hall Daihondo. It was built in 1712 and is 25 meters high.

Close-up on the three-story pagoda structure of Narita san Shinsho-ji temple
Three-story pagoda of Narita san Shinsho-ji temple
Close-up on the three-story pagoda of Narita san Shinsho-ji temple

Niōmon gate

The large lantern standing in the center is made of bronze. It weighs 800 kg!

The Niomon portal
the large lantern of Niomon gate

Somon, the main gate

The main entrance is fifteen meters high and marks the border between the outside world and the temple grounds. The door is carved with images of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Somon, the main gate of Narita san Shinsho-ji temple

Daihondo, the great main hall

The Daihondo, the great main hall, was built in 1968. It houses a statue of one of the guardian kings of Buddhism (which the temple was founded to house, 1000 years ago).

Daihondo, the main hall of Narita san Shinsho-ji temple

Shakado hall

Shakado hall in Narita san Shinsho-ji temple

Donation hall

me and my friend near the donation wall

Komyodo hall

Epée attached on Komyodo hall

Gakudo hall

view of Gakudo hall inside Narita san Shinsho-ji temple

The park

Narita san Shinsho-ji temple has a very large park incorporating traditional Japanese and European elements. There are three ponds with carps and turtles as well as a small waterfall (yuhi no taki) located behind Daihondo (the great main hall).

Pond in the park of Narita san Shinsho-ji temple
yuhi no taki waterfall in Narita san Shinsho-ji park
yuhi no taki
pond in the park of Narita san Shinsho-ji temple

Photogenic especially in spring and in autumn, the park is a pleasant walk before taking the plane. It takes 1 to 2 hours to visit the temple and its park. Free guides are available every day from 10am to 3pm.

Lantern in the park of Narita san Shinsho-ji temple
Autumn foliage over one of Narita san Shinsho-ji's pond
Lantern under autumn foliage in Narita san Shinsho-ji park


Official site

From Tokyo, it takes 35 min (express train) to 1h15 (local train) to reach the airport and Narita city. From the train station, Narita san Shinsho-ji is a 10 minutes walk

Map Narita san Shinsho-ji temple
© Narita san Shinsho-ji temple