20 Things to Do in Narita

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Narita
Source: mrhayata

Situated in the Chiba Prefecture, Narita is a city that rests approximately 60 kilometers to the east of central Tokyo. While it’s true that Narita is generally most well known as the location of the Tokyo’s International airport, the city has a lot of great sites to explore and check out on its own. Read on for our top 20 things to do while in Narita.

1. Visit the Naritasan Temple

Naritasan Temple
Source: Manish Prabhune

While this place is definitely a must-see no matter what your purpose in Narita is, it’s especially perfect for those who are in Narita Airport for a long layover. A largely popular temple of the city, Naritasan was built sometime in 940 and was dedicated to the Shingo Buddhist Sect. While you’re there, make sure you get to see the Buddhist statue of the Fudo Myoo diety.

Information

  • Name: Naritasan Shinshoji Temple
  • Price: Free admission
  • Access: 15 – 20 minute walk from Narita Station
  • Opening hour: Always open

2. Relax at Yamato no Yu

There’s a reason that the public bath house culture is so popular in Japan until this day. The outdoor and indoor pools offer utter relaxation that are perfect for the travel weary bodies of frequent travelers. If you’ve had a long flight and just want to let go of the stress that traveling can sometimes bring, head to this modern public bath house for an hour or two.

Information

  • Name: Yamato no Yu
  • Price: ¥700 (weekdays), ¥1000 (weekends)
  • Access: 10 minute taxi ride from the Shimosa-Manzaki Station
  • Opening hour: 10:00 – 22:00

3. See the Boso no Mura Open Air Museum

Step into a time machine and transport yourself to the olden days of Japan at the Boso no Mura Open Air Museum. The main goal of the museum is to be able to give visitors a true taste of the culture and traditional lifestyle was like in the Boso region of the Chiba prefecture. Watch a kabuki show, try on a full traditional kimono or participate in a workshop. It’s really up to you and what you’re most interested in.

Information

  • Name: Boso no Mura Open Air Museum
  • Price: ¥300
  • Access: 10 minute walk from the Ryukakujidai-ni-chome bus stop
  • Opening hour: 9:00 – 16:30
  • Holiday: Closed on Mondays

4. Buy Japanese KitKats

Narita Kitkat
Source: Emma

Forget about the every day flavors of KitKat that you’ve grown to know and love, because in Japan the best selling flavors span far beyond just your regular chocolate. Would you like green tea, strawberry cheesecake or red bean flavor? The choice is yours. Select the flavors you want to try out of the many available and don’t forget to buy a couple of boxes for your friends back home.

5. Marvel at the Great Pagoda of Peace

Great Pagoda of Peace
Source: Sébastien Launay

Located within the Naritasan Temple grounds, the Great Pagoda Peace of a true symbol of great Japanese Tahoto style architecture. The three story pagoda is incredibly picturesque and is impressive on it’s own, let alone as part of the Naritasan Temple. Don’t forget to drop by the nearby Shotoku Taishi Hall, which is also part of the temple complex.

Information

  • Name: Great Pagoda of Peace
  • Price: Free admission
  • Access: 15 minute walk from the Narita Station
  • Opening hour: Always open

6. Take Part in A Masquerade

Narita Masquerade
Source: Nikita

It’s common knowledge that festivals are a widespread occurrence in Japan, however, that doesn’t change the fact that there’s so much fun to be had at each and every one of them. Japanese masquerades in particular are especially fun people dressed in traditional masks and costumes flood the streets and generally just have the time of their lives. Grab a mask and get in on the fun!

7. See the Museum of Aeronautical Sciences

Narita Museum of Aeronautical Sciences
Source: Alec Wilson

Indulge your inner aspirational pilot at the Museum of Aeronautical Sciences, which is situated just a few minutes away from the Narita International Airport. Here you’ll be able to explore dozens of replicas of planes and helicopters. You’ll also find various artifacts on display such as the landing gear of various aircrafts and even the engine of a Boeing 747. Enjoy your aeronautical exploration!

Information

  • Name: Narita Museum of Aeronautical Sciences
  • Price: ¥500
  • Access: 15 minute bus ride from the Narita Airport
  • Opening hour: 10:00 – 17:00
  • Holiday: Closed on Mondays

8. Purchase A Kokeshi Doll Souvenir

One of Japan’s iconic crafts, kokeshi dolls aren’t just irresistibly cute, they also make great gifts and souvenirs. You can buy kokeshi dolls almost anywhere in Japan at generally affordable prices. If you don’t have time to buy any while you’re out and about enjoying the sights of Narita, don’t worry! They’ve got some traditional craft stores at the airport as well where you can find these adorable little dolls and other trinkets.

9. Sleep in A Capsule Hotel

Narita Capsule Hotel
Source: Simon Helle Nielsen

Admit it, you’ve always wanted to try sleeping in a capsule hotel haven’t you? It’s definitely a strange type of accommodation, but an overnight stay in a capsule hotel isn’t just dirt cheap by Tokyo standards, it’s also a quintessential modern Japanese experience that you absolutely have to try. We do have to say though that if you’re prone to claustrophobia you may want to skip out on this one.

10. Explore the Katori Shrine

Narita Katori Shrine
Source: Tanaka Juuyoh

Just a bit northeast of Narita is the Shinto shrine called Katori Jingu. It’s one of the more popular Shinto shrines in the region and is actually the head shrine out of hundreds of similar shrines situated all over the country. One of the best parts about visiting the shrine is the road lined with stone lanterns that leads to the shrine itself. Of course, don’t miss out on the main building and the vermillion gate. These are the oldest structures of the shrine and date back to the 1700s.

Information

  • Name: Katori Shrine
  • Price: Free admission
  • Access: 10 minute taxi ride from Sarawa Station
  • Opening hour: Always open

11. Buy Japanese Tea

Narita Tea
Source: Akuppa John Wigham

This one is for all of our tea loving homies out there. There’s no question that Japanese tea is incredibly flavorful and delicious, so make sure to take some home with you before you leave the country. Narita has some fantastic options at the various street markets and even inside the Narita Airport. Enjoy your cup of tea!

12. Go to the National Museum of Japanese History

History buffs and lovers of Japan’s cultures are bound to have a great time meandering around the National Museum of Japanese History. There are six permanent collections that delve into the various periods of Japan’s history and even feature some reconstructions and replicas. For example, you can see a replica of the Kasamori Inari Daimyojin Shrine or walk through a reconstruction of a typical street during the Showa Period.

Information

  • Name: National Museum of Japanese History
  • Price: ¥420
  • Access: 15 minute bus ride from the Sakura Station
  • Opening hour: 9:30 – 17:00 (Mar – Sep), 9:30 – 16:30 (Oct – Feb)
  • Holiday: Closed on Mondays

13. Go to the Narita Taiko Festival

Enjoy incredible drum performances and by drum groups from all over Japan at the Narita Taiko Festival. Dedicated to the taiko, a traditional drum, over 50 groups comprised of up to 1,500 drummers come to Narita annually to take part in the festival. Their performances certainly inspire awe and the energy created by the drummers make is palpable. Of course, the sight and sound of hundreds of drummers beating their instruments in sync definitely shouldn’t be missed.

14. Buy Rice Crackers

Narita Rice Crackers
Source: Jessica Spengler

It would be an utter shame to miss out on the joy of biting into ridiculously crisp rice cracker snacks that the Japanese people know so well and love even more. Locally known as “sembei,” rice cracker snacks come in savory, salty and sweet varieties. Some are even decorated with edible flowers while others are wrapped in toasted and seasoned seaweed. Go ahead and try all kinds of varieties available and buy a big bag of your favorite flavor to take back home.

15. Enjoy the Atmosphere of Naritasan Park

Naritasan Park
Source: Guilhem Vellut

A lovely patch of nature in the midst of the busy city, Naritasan Park is a great escape and offers tranquility in the center of gorgeous nature. Take a long walk around the park’s perimeter or pop in for a quick look after exploring the Naritasan Temple and its surrounding halls and structures.

Information

  • Name: Naritasan Park
  • Price: Free admission
  • Access: 15 minute walk from Narita Satio
  • Opening hour: Always open

16. Take A Canal Boat Tour of Sawara

Narita Sawara
Source: acane_s

Sawara was a prosperous town during the Edo Period thanks in large part to its role as a transportation hub for shipments of rice bound for the capital. The historic part of the town really lies along its canals. Sometimes referred to as “Little Edo,” because of its well preserved buildings, shops and homes, the best way to see this small town is by a boat tour on the canal.

Information

  • Name: Sawara
  • Access: 10 – 15 minute walk from Narita Station

17. Enjoy the Gion Festival

A summer festival with an illustrious 300 year history, the Gion Festival is an exciting festival that begins at the Naritasan Temple. The temple’s portable shrine, along with several colorful and beautiful floats, are paraded around Omotesando Road while over 400,000 people spectate. Apart from the parade, spectators can catch musical performances and locals taking part in traditional contests. If you’re lucky, you may even get to take part in a competition.

18. Watch A Traditional Tea Making Ceremony

To experience the epitome of Japanese culture, you absolutely have to witness a traditionally authentic tea making ceremony at one of Narita’s folk villages or open air museums. There is something very elegant about the way the tea is prepared and it lends insight to the passion, discipline and reverence that the Japanese people have for their culture and heritage. Bonus? The tea tastes incredible.

19. Go Shopping at Aeon Narita

Narita Aeon Mall
Source: Dushan Hanuska

If you’re short on time, only have a couple hours for your layover, or just love to shop in general, head to Aeon Narita. The shopping mall is popular amongst foreigners because of how close it is to the airport, and travelers who frequent stopovers at Narita are bound to know about this place. Shop for your favorite Japanese snack or simply browse the mall to kill some time. Whatever you decide to do, there’s bound to be some interesting sights to behold.

Information

  • Name: Aeon Narita
  • Access: 20 minute shuttle ride from Narita Airport
  • Opening hour: 9:00 – 22:00

20. Check Out Local Goods at Omotesando

If you’re thinking of checking out Naritasan Temple, which we really suggest you do, you’re bound to walk past Omotesando on the way. The one kilometer stretch of road is home to dozens of shops and restaurants, each with their own unique product or food. Go shopping for souvenirs or simply taste the delicious fare that locals love.

Information

  • Name: Naritasan Omotesando
  • Access: 15 minute walk from the Narita Station

Whether you’re in Narita on purpose or are stuck on a very long layover at the Narita Airport, there’s a lot to see, do, eat and experience at this beautiful city. A lot of people tend to over look Narita as they journey to Tokyo, but we assure you that Narita is just as interesting and spectacular as its neighboring cities.

Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, Kanto Region, Narita City