Strolling along the path to Narita-san
Taking 10 minutes from Narita Airport by JR, you can reach JR Narita Station. The way from the station to Narita-san is called the Narita-san Sando (the path to Narita-san). The area around the temple once flourished with ryokan, and for that reason, there were many dining establishments to relax weary travelers. When walking along Narita-san Sando, you may notice a lot of signboards for eel which come from memories of hoping for travelers to work hard. On this path towards Narita-san which still retains vestiges of the active ryokan during the Edo Era, there are numerous restaurants lined up serving rice crackers, dumplings and eel. At Narita-san, which also has many visitors from abroad, there are many restaurants for foreign cuisine scattered about as well. For overseas tourists who don’t like Japanese food, they can still sightsee in the area. They can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the path until they finally reach Narita-san, and it is the ideal place to get a taste of what Japan is like. The 800m path to the temple continues on to the main gates.
Learn about Buddhism at Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple
At Narita-san Shinsho-ji, you can experience shakyo. Shakyo is the work of hand-copying sutras, or the words of the Buddha. It is said that performing shakyo quietly without being disturbed earns the Buddha’s favor, and in recent years, it has become popular as a way to relax. You can get a taste of Buddhism within an atmosphere of serenity. There are also the Goma prayer rituals, a custom that has been taking place daily ever since Narita-san was first opened. This is a prayer service that has continued since the Heian Era when Narita-san was built. Many people come to pray in case of troubles or to achieve their wishes. Within these rituals, there is the fire ceremony. During the ceremony, fires are stoked over which a person’s valuables (wallets, etc.) are held which earns good luck from Fudo Myoo. If you don’t want to do that, you can purchase a Goma charm (there is a charge). Anyone can participate in the Goma prayer rituals which can be applied for at the reception area in the Hon-do hall. Please refer to the Narita-san homepage: http://www.naritasan.or.jp/english/index.html
Going further beyond the Hon-do hall at Narita-san Shinsho-ji, there is a 58m large pagoda that is called the Great Peace Pagoda. The large Narita-san Park stretches out at the bottom of the pagoda. In the lush green park, there is a pond with koi swimming in it and a waterfall that makes the park a calming place for many visitors to relax. You can enjoy that Japanese feeling throughout the four seasons with the plum blossoms in spring and the beautiful fall colors.