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What to do around Narita Airport | Visit Chiba Guide

Things to Do | Visit Chiba | Latest update:2024/03/18

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.

Historic Narita: Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple, Omotesando Street, and Naritasan Park

Just eight kilometers (five miles) and one train station from the airport, you’ll find the historic Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple complex, also known as “Naritasan” for short. 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.

Sawara Historic Townscape

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.”

The Sawara Grand Festival takes place twice a year; once in July and once in October.

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:

Sawara: Riverside Timeslip | Visit Chiba

Sakura Samurai Road & Houses

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:

Hiyodori-zaka Slope and Old Samurai Residences: Walk in the Footsteps of Samurai | Visit Chiba

Train Map

The three locations introduced above are marked on this map as Narita, Sawara, and Sakura.

Recommended Narita Area Hotels and Hot Springs

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:

Hotels near Narita: Make Narita your easy destination | Visit Chiba

Japan’s Best Hot Spring Experiences Near Narita, Chiba | Visit Chiba

Explore even more...

To learn more about the five towns and cities in the Narita area, please click the link below:

Five Cities and Towns Around Narita Airport | Visit Chiba

Sightseeing Spots

Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple

Established in 940, this is one of the most revered temples in Japan. Visitors can tour the hallowed halls, stroll through the idyllic gardens, and witness sacred rituals here.

1 Narita, Narita City

(A 10-minute walk from either Keisei Narita Station, or JR Narita Station)



  • Handicap parking
  • Handicap toilet
  • Ostomate restroom
  • Elevator
  • Wheelchair rentals
  • Written communication for the hearing impaired
  • Wheelchair ramp
  • Breast-feeding room

Sawara Machinami Koryukan

Sawara made its name in the Edo period as a hub for goods to be prepped and shipped to Edo (current day Tokyo). Much of the original town layout still remains for you to explore, and reserving a guide at the Sawara Machinami Koryukan can give you deeper insight into the history here.

Katori City, Sawara, I, 1903-1

(A 15-minute walk from Sawara Station on the JR Narita Line)



  • Handicap parking
  • Handicap toilet
  • Ostomate restroom
  • Wheelchair rentals
  • Written communication for the hearing impaired
  • Breast-feeding room

Old Samurai Residences in Sakura City

Samurai warriors of the Sakura liege lord, who controlled what is now Sakura City, lived in these three residences: Kawara-ke, Tajima-ke, and Takei-ke. A prior reservation can get you a full tour in English, and nearby is the bamboo forest path (Hiyodori-zaka Slope) which the warriors regularly used.

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)


  • Handicap parking
  • Handicap toilet
  • Ostomate restroom
  • Wheelchair ramp

Hiyodori-zaka Slope

A bamboo forest largely unchanged since the Edo period nearly 300 years ago. It's thought that the samurai warriors of the Sakura liege lord, who controlled what is now Sakura City, used this path for coming and going from their lodgings nearby.

5-23 Jonaicho, Sakura City

(A 20-minute walk from JR Sakura Station)


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