Narita is a city in Chiba Prefecture, roughly 60 kilometers east of central Tokyo. The city is most famous as the site of Tokyo’s international airport, Narita Airport but also one of our favorite pre-flight overnighters in any major city. Just 10 minutes by train or taxi from the airport itself, Narita City offers a quintessential Japanese experience and a side order of great eats as well! Only airport is really Mottainai!!
This city’s history can be traced back over a thousand years to when the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple was founded in 940. And it would most likely have stayed a sleepy temple town if the Japanese government hadn’t decided to build an international airport in the 1960s on the surrounding farmland. Narita is an unusual combo of old-school Japan and the modern airline industry, which makes for a very entertaining visit. From Narita Station make your way to the start of Omotesando Street, the main drag that runs through the town and takes you straight to Naritasan — the famed Buddhist temple. The stores along this quaint “sando” sell the usual Japanese souvenirs from Hello Kitty to samurai swords, senbei crackers and sake, but there are lots of unique emporiums as well. While in the area, it’s a good idea to stop in at the Narita Tourist Pavilion halfway down the street, as it offers several brochures in English that will help you navigate the temple and the town.
Like most Japanese towns, Narita has a fierce pride in the regional food items for sale in many of the shops and restaurants that line the street. Consider trying yokan, tsukemono and the main attraction, broiled eel.
You can’t miss the low wooden table at Kawatoyo, where the eel master plunges his fist into a bucket, drives a nail through the unlucky catch’s head, then quickly skins and slices it into small strips ready to be thrown on the nearby grill. It’s really feeling like traditional Japanese town as you have seen by movie. You will never get bored here and really can spend great time of your “last minuets” of staying in Japan! Interesting? Please check it out!