TOUR 1

Get a Full Japanese Cultural Experience at Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple

  • Food
  • History & Culture
Travel back in time as you explore the rows of inns, handicraft shops and restaurants leading to Naritasan Shinshoji Temple. Take part in traditional Japanese tea ceremony and savor delicious unagi over rice. This tour can be customized to fit your interests and budget.

Time Required: 3 hours

Minimum Budget: 500 yen

Meeting Time: 9:00 AM (Japan Time)

Guide Language: English

Tour Highlights:

  • Naritasan Shinshoji Temple
  • Omotesando Street

Optional Activities:

  • Sutra Copying Experience
  • Famous Unagi Cuisine Restaurant
  • Kimono Rental
  • Goma Fire Ritual
  • Tea Ceremony

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Tour Highlights

  • Naritasan Shinshoji Temple

    Naritasan Shinshoji Temple

    With a history spanning over a thousand years, Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is a famous and popular destination for Buddhists and tourists alike. Its reputation for granting wishes and bestowing good luck first grew in the Edo Period, after the kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro prayed at the temple for a son who could become his heir, and the temple’s main deity of Ofudo-sama granted his wish in 1688. The characters in the name Shinshoji mean ‘new’ and ‘victory,’ and the temple is considered one of Japan’s most sacred places. Adjacent to the temple lies Naritasan Park, featuring a beautiful walking path, several ponds and a waterfall, and the impressive Great Peace Pagoda.

  • Omotesando Street

    Omotesando Street

    Narita’s Omotesando Street leads up to Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, and is lined with traditional shops where you can snack on hand-grilled rice crackers, taste saké, browse handicrafts, and more. In the Edo Period this was the last kilometer of the long pilgrimage route from the capital, and here tired pilgrims found inns at which to rest as well as numerous places to eat. One food reputed to provide a special energy boost is unagi, a grilled eel dish usually served over rice, and its popularity with visitors to Narita has led it to become a local specialty. Today you can choose from dozens of different unagi restaurants along Omotesando Street, including some at which you can watch the chefs prepare and grill the freshly caught eel.

Optional Activities

  • dummy bg Sutra Copying Experience

    Sutra Copying Experience

    Called shakyo, sutra copying is a form of meditation not unlike the chanting of a sutra. At Narita you can try this unique experience at the Great Peace Pagoda located in Naritasan Park.Select from two different sutras: the ten-character Gohogo sutra (1000 yen, approximately 15 minutes required) or the Heart Sutra (2000 yen, between 1 and 2 hours required). Reservations are not necessary.

  • dummy bg Famous Unagi Cuisine Restaurant

    Famous Unagi Cuisine Restaurant

    Locally caught unagi (freshwater eel) is grilled with a special sauce and served over white rice, and the delicacy’s reputation for being a good source of nutrition and stamina has made it a popular choice among visitors to Narita since the Edo Period. At this famous restaurant the eel is cleaned and prepared in open view, so if you like you can watch the chefs at work. Budget approximately 2500 to 5000 yen for a meal.

  • dummy bg Kimono Rental

    Kimono Rental

    If you’ve ever worn kimono before you know that few other things bring so much authenticity to the Japanese experience. And if you haven’t ever worn a real kimono, the Edo Era atmosphere of Omotesando Street with its many traditional shops is perfect for the occasion. Kimono rental is available Wednesday through Friday, 10am to 3pm, at Machikado Fureaikan, located right off of Omotesando Street. Kimono can be worn by men, women and children, with a range of sizes fitting heights 100–180cm (39–71 inches) best. Cost is 800 yen per adult and 500 yen per child. Machikado Fureaikan is closed from the end of December to early January, mid-August, and during major Narita events.

  • dummy bg Goma Fire Ritual

    Goma Fire Ritual

    A daily tradition held since Naritasan Shinshoji Temple was founded in the 10th century, the Goma Fire ritual, also referred to as the Ogoma Kito prayer, calls upon the temple’s main deity of Ofudo-sama, the God of Fire, to grant worshipper’s wishes and protect them from bad luck. The ritual is held several times per day, lasts 20–30 minutes, and is free. Reservations are not required. Photography during the event is not permitted.

  • dummy bg Tea Ceremony

    Tea Ceremony

    Every Thursday morning, free tea ceremony demonstrations are given with English explanations of the traditional customs and significance of many elements of this art form which dates back to the Heian Era. Held at the Narita Tourist Pavilion, located about halfway along Omotesando Street on the way to Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, this tea ceremony experience lets tourists enjoy hot matcha tea and small wagashi sweets in a tatami room while learning about the traditional Japanese tea ceremony in a relaxed environment. Schedule: Every Thursday from 10:30 to 11:30. Not held in January.

Seasonal Events

Plum Blossom Festival

Plum Blossom Festival

Mid-February – Early March

Ume, known as Japanese apricot or plum, have beautiful blossoms in early spring and are nearly as popular as sakura for flower viewing in Japan. This festival is held in Naritasan Park, where hundreds of ume plum trees of both red and white varieties come into bloom each year. On weekends during the festival there are performances of traditional Japanese music, including tsugaru-shamisen, koto, shakuhachi, and erhu (niko), all held in the western garden below the Great Peace Pagoda. Enjoy a free cup of amazake, see an open-air tea ceremony, and welcome the delicate flowers signaling the start of spring.

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Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair

Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair

28th of every month except January

Countless antiques, dolls, glass art, and character merchandise are on display at the monthly Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair. Stop by to admire collections from bygone days, and you may even find something to strike your fancy.

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Naritasan Flower Festival

Naritasan Flower Festival

Early April

The Flower Festival celebrates the birth of Gautama Buddha, who is said to have been born on April 8 at the foot of the Himalaya some 2500 years ago. On the first day of the festival a large parade is held, led by the music and dance clubs of local schools, and followed by other local clubs, monks, and a statue of the Buddha sitting atop a white elephant. The parade moves from the entrance to Omotesando Street to the plaza below the main hall of Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, where the music, dance and baton clubs give a splendid performance. On the last day of the festival a special Buddhist memorial service is held to celebrate the Buddha’s birth, and anyone can attend.

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Narita Drum Festival

Narita Drum Festival

April

One of the largest drum festivals in Japan, the Narita Drum Festival takes place over two days and features many different performances. The “Pray for Peace” event is guaranteed to thrill with the powerful sound of 800 taiko drummers playing together in the plaza before the main hall of Naritasan Shinshoji Temple. In the Street Concert event, over 20 drum teams perform on stages located throughout Omotesando Street, adding much excitement along the path to the temple from JR and Keisei Narita stations. The darkening sky is filled with sound in another main event, the Night Drum Concert. Finally, for a truly impressive sight, witness the Drum Parade in which dance and drum teams perform in harmony.

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Dedication Dance at the Great Pagoda of Peace Festival

Dedication Dance at the Great Pagoda of Peace Festival

Early May

This dance began as a celebration of the completion of Naritasan Great Peace Pagoda, constructed as a prayer for world peace and happiness for all people. Hundreds of dancers perform along Omotesando Street, in front of the temple’s main hall, and in front of the Great Peace Pagoda.

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Narita Gion Festival

Narita Gion Festival

Early July

At this major summer event, ten huge floats and a sacred mikoshi (portable shrine) are pulled through the streets of Narita over the course of three days, with lots of folk music and dancing. The festival culminates on the last day with the thrilling Sobiki parade, in which all the floats are rushed up the slope of Omotesando Street.

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Goma Ritual and Fire Walking

Goma Ritual and Fire Walking

May, September, December

This Buddhist ritual is conducted by followers to ward off evil and pray that wishes be fulfilled. Prayer sticks (called gomagi) are burned in a consecrated bonfire, and afterwards brave worshippers can try fire walking. Reservations for the fire walking are not necessary, but priority is given to those who purchase prayer sticks (500 yen).

Osame Fudo Fire Festival

Osame Fudo Fire Festival

Late December

At the Osame Fudo Fire Festival a great bonfire is made and all the wooden prayer sticks, votive tablets, and omamori good-luck charms of the past year are burned in this Buddhist goma (homa) ritual. Moving their arms in rhythm with the flames, attendees give thanks for the divine protection granted them over the past year.

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Close-of-Winter (Setsubun) Festival

Close-of-Winter (Setsubun) Festival

February 3

Held the day before the official start of spring, the Close-of-Winter Festival, or Setsubun festival, is a traditional event in which prayers are made for happiness in the coming year. At Naritasan Shinshoji Temple prayers are also made for peace and a plentiful harvest. Although it is traditional on Setsubun to shout, “out with demons, in with good luck!” while throwing beans to drive away evil spirits, at this festival only, “In with good luck!” is said. This is because the compassion and benevolence of Ofudo-sama, the temple’s main deity, is so great that even wicked demons yield to him and become reformed. Soybeans and peanuts are thrown three times during the festival, at 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 4:00 pm.

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Related Information

Official Information

Terms and Conditions

Narita Airport Transit & Stay Program Terms and Conditions
Revised June 2018

  1. This program is for those who have spare time during a layover at Narita Airport or when staying at a hotel in the Narita area.
  2. Tour participants must be eligible to enter Japan. You will need to go through Immigration and Customs in order to join a tour, and we accept no liability for issues that arise therein.
  3. Please ensure you have sufficient time to participate. Tour participants are solely responsible for their schedule and being on time for their flight. All listed times are approximate, and unforeseen delays can occur due to traffic conditions, weather, unexpected problems or other causes. If you have a flight departing on the day of your tour, please ensure that you return to Narita Airport at least two hours before your scheduled departure time.
  4. All tours are intended to guide non-Japanese travelers who are changing planes at Narita Airport (either domestic or international flights) or who are staying in the Narita area.
  5. Guides are volunteers. They may not necessarily have expert knowledge on the tourist spots you are visiting.
  6. Tours are free of charge; however, participants are responsible for all personal expenses, including transportation costs and entrance fees, during the tour. Tipping the tour guides is not necessary.
  7. Please have Japanese yen with you to cover any costs during the tour.
  8. Due to the limited number of volunteer guides available, there is no guarantee that a Volunteer Guided Tour can be provided to all participants desiring one. In other cases, we may ask that you join a tour with other participants.
  9. Booking a tour does not absolutely guarantee that the requested tour can be given. Unforeseen circumstances, including but not limited to bad weather, may require us to cancel the tour or ask that you participate in a different tour.
  10. All the Volunteer Guided Tours are walking tours. Please let us know in advance if you are pregnant or not feeling well. Participation in the tour should be decided at your own responsibility. Should you feel unwell in any way during the tour, please inform the tour guide immediately.
  11. Participation in a Volunteer Guided Tour is limited to once per day.
  12. Please follow the instructions of the guide during the tour.
  13. If you become separated from the guide during the tour, please check the information map and return to the airport reception desk by the scheduled time. Those who have means to contact the reception desk should let them know as soon as possible.
  14. Volunteer guides will accompany you until you are back at the airport, arriving no later than 2pm regardless of tour start time. For participants on Tour 1 (“Get a Full Japanese Cultural Experience at Naritasan Shinshoji Temple”), if your flight leaves after 5pm or does not leave that day, and you wish to have more time in Narita, you may optionally choose to continue exploring on your own past 2pm. If you choose to do so, be confident you can get back to the airport without a guide. Under no circumstances will Narita International Airport Corporation or Narita Airport Transit & Stay Program, including Volunteer Guides, be responsible for missed flights or accidents occurring either during or after a Volunteer Guided Tour.
  15. If you have large suitcases or other bulky luggage, please store them in one of Narita Airport’s coin-operated lockers or at a luggage storage counter at your expense.
  16. Please note that we may take photos during the tour for use in promotional material or posting to our Facebook page or other social media. If you do not wish to appear in any photos, please let us know before leaving on your tour.
  17. You are free to do shopping during guided tours. However, please be mindful of the restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) of over 100 ml in carry-on luggage, and restrictions on bringing agricultural produce into another country. Be sure to keep these things in mind when making purchases, as you are responsible for all purchased items. Weight limits for items that can be carried with you onto the aircraft may differ from airline to airline. An excess baggage fee may be levied if the weight limit is exceeded, so make sure to check with your airline for details.
  18. Narita International Airport Corporation and Narita Airport Transit & Stay Program shall not be responsible or liable for any misunderstandings, accidents, damages, bodily harm or costs incurred for any reason, directly or indirectly, while participating on a Volunteer Guided Tour or Self-Guided Tour with this program, regardless of whether the rules outlined in these Terms and Conditions are followed.