Things to Do | Visit Chiba | Latest update:2024/01/19
ContentsHistoric Narita: Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple, Omotesando Street, and Naritasan ParkSawara Historic TownscapeSakura Samurai Road & HousesTrain MapRecommended Narita Area Hotels and Hot Springs
Even if you’re a first-time visitor to Japan, you can plan your travel itinerary like a pro by doing a little research about the area around Narita International Airport. This part of Chiba offers numerous worthwhile ways to start or end your Japan trip, and many travelers choose to stay a night here before diving into Tokyo. Others make one last travel memory by stopping by as they pass through before their departing flights. Below are our top recommendations for things to do around Narita Airport, along with information about how to get to these spots from the airport by train.
Just eight kilometers (five miles) and one train station from the airport, you’ll find the historic Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple complex. This venerable temple has over 1,080 years of history, and its hallowed grounds attract over ten-million visitors per year! The temple is easily accessible from the airport, just take the train to JR Narita Station or Keisei Narita Station.
The historic Omotesando Street leads visitors from JR or Keisei Narita stations through the old Monzenmachi temple town, and is lined with traditional shops and restaurants. Favorite activities for visitors include kimono rentals, and a lunch of the local specialty, unagi (freshwater eel).
Various events held here draw crowds throughout the year, including the New Year’s festivities in January, the Taiko Drum Festival in April, the Gion Festival in July, and the Fall Foliage Festival in November. The vast Naritasan Park behind the temple makes for a lovely stroll during any season, as its grounds feature many elements of a classic Japanese garden.
Experience the charm of old Japan firsthand in this preserved “living townscape” of old wooden buildings and family-run shops with long, storied histories. If you’re coming from the airport, JR Sawara Station can be reached by train in about 30 minutes after transferring to the Narita Line at JR Narita Station. Including transfer time, it usually takes about an hour to get there from the airport. Come to simply stroll the quaint riverside streets, stop by a traditional cafe, take a boat ride down the Ono River, or if the timing is right, witness the spectacle of the semi-annual “Grand Festival.”
Sawara is part of Katori City, and one of Katori’s coordinators for international relations, Sam, was kind enough to create a guide to the area! If you’d like to learn about Sawara straight from a local source, please check the article below:
Sakura is a city located about a 10-15 minute train ride from Narita Station, a train trip which usually takes about 30 minutes in total from the airport. Much of its history was defined during the days of the samurai, and parts of this warrior past can still be experienced today. The Old Samurai Houses of Sakura are a popular tourist destination, with the journey there itself taking you through an old samurai path, known as the Hiyodorizaka Slope, which runs through a preserved bamboo forest. The old samurai district is accessible by train, and then about a 15-20 minute walk, via JR Sakura Station or Keisei Sakura Station.
Learn more below:
The three locations introduced above are marked on this map as Narita, Sawara, and Sakura.
Getting from Narita Airport to Tokyo can be a bit of a trek, so many travelers choose to stay a night near the airport at the beginning or end of their Japan trip. This also gives you the option of exploring all the spots we introduced above. Another way to fight off the effects of jet lag, or simply take some time to relax in a quintessentially Japanese way, is to spend some time enjoying a hot spring bath. Please check out the links below to learn more about our recommended Narita-area hotels and hot springs:
To learn more about the five towns and cities in the Narita area, please click the link below:
1 Narita, Narita City
(A 10-minute walk from either Keisei Narita Station, or JR Narita Station)
Katori City, Sawara, I, 1903-1
(A 15-minute walk from Sawara Station on the JR Narita Line)
Kawara-ke: 57 Miyakoujimachi, Sakura City
Tajima-ke: 61 Miyakoujimachi, Sakura City
Takei-ke: 60 Miyakoujimachi, Sakura City
(A 15-minute walk from JR Sakura Station)
5-23 Jonaicho, Sakura City
(A 20-minute walk from JR Sakura Station)