Translated by Piyo
The Impressive Naritasan Shinshoji Temple - Only 10 Minutes From Narita Airport!
Written by Kazuki Tsuchido
Naritasan Shinshoji is a temple with a rich history located just 10 minutes away on foot from Narita Airport. You can enjoy a free guided tour around this temple within the Narita Airport Transit Program.
Within a ten minute walk from Narita Station, you will find a temple with a solemn atmosphere very different from that of the modern Narita Airport. This is Naritasan Shinshoji Temple.
About Naritasan Shinshoji Temple
The foundation of the temple dates back to the Heian period (at the end of 8th century), which means that the temple has a history spanning more than 1000 years. About 3 million people come here every New Year's, making the number of visitors to this location the second largest in Japan, following that of the Meiji Shrine. This temple is one of the most famous places in Narita, and has a history rich in Buddhist culture.
Numerous Important Cultural Assets Here and There
The vast site has a magnificent atmosphere and many of the structures standing there are designated as Important Cultural properties of Japan.
The first thing that will catch your eye will be the great gate. This was built to commemorate the 1070th anniversary of the temple. Enter the thousand plus year old temple by passing under this impressive torii.
Having passed through the gate, the next thing you'll see will be the Nio Gate.
This is also an Important Cultural asset. Two guardian gods called Nio stand on both the right and the left sides of the gate.
The scenery around you might just make you feel as though you've been transported way back in time. There is a grand, dignified atmosphere to this area.
After going up the stairs behind Nio Gate, you will reach the symbol of Naritasan, the main building of which is called Daihondo. Here many people come and pray. You may enter the main building and pray there as well.
After appreciating the beauty of the three-storey pagoda, head down along the path.
Then, you'll see another building called the Shakado - The Hall of the Buddha. Before the construction of Daihondo, this actually used to be the main building of Naritasan.
If you go further down the way from Shakado, you'll reach Komyodo. This is the oldest structure on the temple grounds, and was the main building of the temple itself before the Shakado was constructed. There is a Noh theater performance called Takigi Noh, which is illuminated with beacon fires around the stage, held here each May.
Komyodo is quite famous for granting blessings and wishes for loved ones, so it is a popular place to visit all year round.
Being surrounded by this serene, history-rich temple seems to help its visitors soothe their nerves and feel refreshed.
One of the last sites we would like to recommend visiting here is the Heiwa no To (Tower of Peace). Here you can experience copying a sutra and Buddhist fasting training for yourself. If you'd like to learn more about Japanese Buddhism, then by all means please stop by here and give these practices a try.
Clear Your Mind and Heart at Naritasan
There is also an incredible natural park, Naritasan Park, near the tower. This park covers an area almost four times as large as Tokyo Dome.
Nowadays most people prefer to walk around with headphones on, either listening to music or watching TV, but we recommend unplugging and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of this park as you listen to the breezes and the songs of the birds. You're sure to find yourself feeling mellow right away.
The grounds of Naritasan are quite vast, so if you would like to focus on the highlights of the precincts, we recommend first visiting the temple buildings and the tower, followed by the park if you have time. This temple can be easily reached from Narita Airport, which also makes it the perfect place to visit if you have a stopover in Japan. If you'd like to take a tour of Naritasan, or others during your a layover, please take a look at: Narita Transit Program - Discover Authentic Japan During A Layover.
Naritasan Shinshoji Temple
Address: Chiba, Narita, Narita 1
Hours: Site is always open, buildings are open until 15:30
Languages: Japanese, English
Nearest Station: 10 minute walk from JR or Keisei Narita Station