last update: November 17, 2021
Narita is a city in Chiba prefecture, about fifty kilometers from central Tokyo. The development and notoriety of this town are due to the construction, in the seventies of the last century, of the Narita International Airport, one of the two large airports serving the vast metropolitan area of Tokyo. In recent decades, the city center, which houses the famous Buddhist temple Naritasan Shinshoji, is increasingly visited by tourists, and in particular by foreign tourists who use the nearby airport and by airline crews passing by. night in the many hotels in the surrounding area. The city of Narita is a great opportunity for a last taste of Japan for those preparing to return home at the end of their trip to Japan, but also for a little taste of Japan for those who have a long stopover at Narita Airport and want to make the most of the time available.
Things to do and things to see in Narita
From the main stations of the city (JR Narita and Keisei Narita), the closest and interesting attraction to visit is the Naritasan Park (Naritasan Koen
), reachable on foot along the characteristic Omotesando street
. Near the airport there is also an aviation museum and several vantage points where you can observe the airplanes taking off and landing.
Narita city center
Omotesando is a picturesque pedestrianized tourist street in the center of Narita. It is just under a kilometer long and begins in the immediate vicinity of the city's JR and Keisei stations, leading up to Naritasan Shinshoji Temple and the surrounding park. The street is characterized by a relaxed atmosphere of "old Japan", with wooden houses, shops and restaurants of all kinds. It is traditionally frequented by many local Japanese tourists who take advantage of it for a leap into the past, but also by many foreign tourists who pass by this city thanks to its proximity to the famous international airport of Narita, and who take advantage of it for the latest purchases of souvenirs to take home. Almost everything closes in the afternoon, in the evening the street turns into a desert.
Omotesando street in Narita
Naritasan Park (Naritasan Koen)
A large park to the right of the main building of the famous Naritasan Shinshoji temple. Inside you will find small waterfalls, ponds, many trees that in some places will make you feel like you are in a forest, and also many varieties of flowers. Inside you can breathe that magical atmosphere typical of Japanese parks. In the north there is a beautiful pagoda belonging to the temple, the Great Peace Pagoda. In the northern part of the park there are also two small museums, the Naritasan Shodo Museum (500¥, 9-16), which mainly exhibits works of Japanese calligraphy, and the Naritasan Reikōkan Museum (300¥, 9-16), a museum about the nearby temple and the city of Narita.
Naritasan Shodo Museum
Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is a large Buddhist temple complex, one of the best known in the Kantō region. It is very popular among the Japanese faithful, especially during the New Year period (hatsumode) when it is visited by thousands of people, but also among many foreign travelers who pass through Narita via the nearby airport and get an authentic taste of traditional Japan at this temple. The temple was founded in 940 and today includes a wide variety of buildings, including two pagodas. One is 25 meters high and is an important historical heritage dating back to 1712, the other is a 58 meters high pagoda and was built in 1984 in the northern part of the nearby Naritasan park, following the particular Tahoto style . Naritasan Shinshoji is a 15-20 minute walk from Narita main stations, to get there just walk along the characteristic Omotesando to the entrance of the temple.
the main atrium of the Shinshoji temple
AEON Mall Narita and AEON Town Naritatomisato
The AEON Mall Narita, just over 2 km from Narita station and 7 km from the airport, has been for several years the reference point for foreign travelers for last-minute shopping or for those with a few hours of stopover, thanks to its proximity to the airport. It is a typical modern Japanese mall, with over 150 shops, a large supermarket, an arcade and several restaurants. Around the mall you will find numerous other large shops and popular restaurant chains, in particular we point out the Humax cinemas with imax screens and a mega shop of Don Quijote perfect for buying curious gadgets and souvenirs to take home. There are direct shuttle buses from both the airport and the station. Alternatively, a new smaller Aeon shopping center has been opened in recent years, the AEON Town Naritatomisato located within walking distance from JR and Keisei stations in downtown Narita.
Near Narita Airport
Museum of Aeronautical Sciences
(admission 500¥, opening hours 10-17, closed on Mondays, always open in August)
A museum dedicated to the world of aviation. The museum's outdoor garden houses several small propeller planes and helicopters. The museum building is spread over five floors, in which you will find numerous life-size replicas of historic aircraft and aircraft components, as well as several simulators. From the third, fourth and fifth floors you will be able to observe the planes taking off and landing from the nearby runway. On the third floor there is an open-air terrace, on the fourth floor there is a panoramic restaurant, while the fifth floor is a reproduction of an airport control tower. This museum is practically attached to the south end of the airport, but the passenger terminals are approximately 5km away, you can easily reach it by taxi or by bus. Within a 10-15 minute walk from this museum, you can reach two hills equipped with benches to enjoy the view of the airport runways. These hills, very popular with the area's elders for killing time and with plane spotters, are named Hikoki-no-Oka and Sanrizuka Sakura-no-oka ( the latter with numerous cherry trees).
the aviation museum near Tokyo Narita Airport
(opening hours 6-23)
Another hill near the airport, with a nice park with lots of cherry trees. It is the easiest observation point to reach both from the city center (5 km) and from the airport terminals (3 km).
a Delta Airlines plane flies over Sakura no Yama Park (credits)
Where to stay in Narita
In the city of Narita
Reasons to spend a night in Narita
- To visit a small Japanese town, especially if you have only visited a metropolis like Tokyo during your trip.
- To arrive at the airport without haste and without anxiety to take the return flight to your country.
- If your flight to Japan arrives in the evening, perhaps it is best to take your time to Tokyo tomorrow and sleep the first night in Narita. You can sleep in one of the hotels in the immediate vicinity of the airport, or come and sleep in Narita city center, where you can get a first glimpse of Japan.
A hotel of the popular business hotel chain APA located right next to Keisei Narita station. There is no more convenient location to catch the train to the airport in the morning. Very small but modern rooms equipped with all comforts, in line with the quality standards of this hotel chain. Inside there are also large public baths, a last chance to relax by taking a Japanese-style bath before leaving the country.
Price range: 5,000-7,000¥.
A large hotel in the center between Narita JR and Keisei stations, just a two minute walk from both. Rooms are okay and common spaces include a pool table. Inside the structure there are some restaurants and a fitness center with weight room, squash court, sauna and whirlpool, the entrance to which costs 1000¥.
Price range: 4,500-7,000¥.
A no-frills business hotel very close to JR Narita Station, while Keisei Station is 500 meters away. The strengths of this hotel are the prices generally among the lowest in the area, the free shuttle to the airport for all guests, and finally an excellent all you can eat restaurant of shabu shabu and sukiyaki just below the hotel. The restaurant is called Shabu Shabu Sasaki.
Price range: 4,000-6,000¥.
You have been traveling in Japan for several days, now you are about to return and are you sad because you have not had the opportunity to stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan? No problem, there is still time to fix this, spending the last night in this quaint ryokan right in front of the entrance to Naritasan park and the Shinshoji Temple. Here you will have the opportunity to sleep in rooms with tatami mats, futons and sliding paper doors, some of which have a view right on the temple. The restaurant also serves traditional Japanese breakfast and kaiseki-style dinner. Finally, a small traditional public bath is available for all guests, in case you forget to try this interesting experience during your trip.
Price range: 20,000-25,000¥.
Near Narita airport
Around Narita airport there are a few hotels so close to the terminals that you can even reach them on foot. If you just want to spend a night near the airport, for example due to a stopover, a very early flight in the morning, or vice versa, if you landed in Narita very late in the evening, you can take a look at the capsule hotel inside the airport or at the Narita Tobu Hotel Airport.
This capsule hotel is the only hotel located right inside Narita airport, in Terminal 2. Like the other capsule hotels belonging to this chain, the interior is characterized by a very futuristic atmosphere. Guests will receive pajamas, towels and a toothbrush upon check-in. Luggage can be left in the large personal lockers available to each guest.
Price range: 4,000-6,000¥.
A large hotel located just 1km from the airport terminal 2, which can be reached very easily via a very frequent free shuttle available to hotel guests. The rooms are modern and spacious. Inside there is also a fitness center with swimming pool and some restaurants. If you are looking for a hotel room (thus excluding the capsule hotel inside the airport) as close to the airport as possible, this is the best choice.
Price range: 7,000-12,000¥.
How to get to Narita town
The main railway stations of the city of Narita are JR Narita station
and Keisei Narita station
, served respectively by the JR company and the private company Keisei Railways. These stations are located very close to each other in the central area of Narita, a stone's throw from the Omotesando road which leads to the Naritasan Shinshoji temple. It may also be useful to check the page dedicated to connections between Tokyo and Narita airport
To or from Tokyo
The best solution to reach Narita Station from Tokyo is to use the Keisei Railways
, which connects Ueno station
(Keisei-Ueno) with Keisei-Narita station (75 minutes, 810¥). The JR
connects Tokyo station with Narita station via the JR Sobu line
(70 minutes, 1170¥). We do not recommend this second alternative because it is more expensive and much less frequent. Keisei trains depart every 20 minutes, JR trains every hour.
To or from Narita airport
Narita Airport is located very close to the city (approximately 8 km). If you want to visit Narita in the few hours before your return flight, you can rest easy, for any problem with the trains you can immediately take a taxi and in 10 minutes you are at the airport. By train it also takes about 10 minutes, with JR or Keisei trains. Keisei offers the most frequent service, with a train every 20 minutes, but also the most expensive (270¥). The JR costs 200-240¥ (depending on the terminal), but there is only one departure per hour.
Map of Narita, Chiba
Guided tours, activities and other things to do
If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Rakuten Travel Experiences
How to use Rakuten Travel Experiences
Rakuten Travel is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience
, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Rakuten Travel you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities
all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Rakuten Travel you can also buy tickets
for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table
in hundreds of restaurants.
Take a look at Rakuten Travel Experiences
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