Narita is famous outside and inside Japan because of its huge airport. However, the city itself is a good place to visit to. Every time I go to and from airport, I always wonder what is beyond the gates of Narita Station. To answer my curiosity, I was able to lure my husband to join me going there last Sunday.

From our place, we took Tozai Line from Nishi-Kasai to Nishi-Funabashi.  From there we changed train going to Toyo-Katsutadai. There are also some trains that go straight from Nishi-Kasai but we just hopped to the train that came first. From Toyo-Katsutadai, we took the Kesei Line going to Narita Station.

 

Narita Day Trip: On our Way to Edo Period

Once we got off the station gates, I was brought back somewhere in the past. The small shops around the station have their individual nostalgic flair. There were also some modern buildings which blended well with the old ones without disturbing the old-town ambiance. The Omotesando street, a narrow downhill street lined with shops and restaurants, is just a few minutes away from the station.

 

Old houses turned into restaurants and shops

 

Paintings on wood blocks are displayed in front of shops honoring popular Kabuki scenes

 

Restaurants with temple-like facades

 

A clock tower along Omotesando with the Zodiac Animals. Similar stone statues of these animals are scattered on both sides of the road

 

Feeling the Edo vibe at Omotesando

 

When we were there, they closed the street for cars. Hence, we were able to walk freely joining a bunch of locals and some tourists. It was admirable to see Edo-style shops and restaurants still in their pristine conditions.

 

Narita Temple
7-11 Edo style

 

Exploring Naritasan Temple

 

Down the road is the Naritasan Shinsiji Temple, now on its 1080th-year celebration. The temple is one of the best knowns in Kanto region dedicated to the fire god Acala (Unmovable Wisdom King). This temple covers a large complex of buildings and gardens.

 

Souvenir shops and Japanese street food stalls between the Somon (main gate) and Niomon Gates

 

The Main Hall of Naritasan Shinsoji Temple

 

The Three-Storey Pagoda in front of Naritasan Main Hall

 

Artistic rock landscapes placed in different areas of the temple

 

Azalea bushes in bloom overlooking the temple grounds

 

The Gakudo Hall which houses several votive picture tables dedicated by celebrities of Edo Period

 

On our way to the Great Peace Pagoda from Komyodo Hall

 

 

Beautifully-designed stained glass roof of the Great Peace Pagoda

 

The Great Peace Pagoda

 

Western-style garden in front of the Great Peace Pagoda

 

Loving the greenery and serenity of Naritasan Park

 

A small falls at Naritasan Park

 

A taste of Narita

 

Along the Omotesando are a variety of restaurants offering traditional Japanese food, steak bars, Italian pizza, burgers, etc. But what most people clamour for, especially the locals, are the Unagi (eel) restaurants. These restaurants prepare the eel fresh. Some even placed their cooks in front of their restaurants so people can see how they prepare the fresh eels.

 

Unagi made fresh in front of the restaurants

 

On our way back to the station, we tried an Unagi lunch set in one of the restaurants - two slices of grilled unagi with sweet soy-based sauce, clear soup, daikon pickles, and a bit of wild vegetable side dish. Unfortunately I was so excited to taste it that I forgot to take a photo. After our hearty meal, we also had a brief stop for some fresh soft ice cream right beside the bronze statue lady.

 

The bronze statue of Takajo Mitsuhashi, a popular haiku poet born in Narita.

 

Enjoying soft ice cream from the shop next to the bronze statue

 

It was a short yet sweet trip for us. And definitely something I would want to visit again. Maybe on my next visit, I will have the chance to look around the flea market in front of the temple and the bamboo vases from the craft shops.

 

Bamboo crafts at Narita's Omotesando