Narita is famous for its airport, but there is more to do than just whizz off to your famous destination!
Here some of the highlights of things to do near Narita:
1. Sakura Samurai Street
Sakura Samurai Street (佐倉武家屋敷通り) is the biggest remaining Samurai residence in Kanto. There are 5 remaining Samurai Houses and 3 of them are opened public. All houses in this street have the earthworks and living fence for their defense. This view of Samurai street has not changed since Edo Period.
Admission for Samurai Houses: 210 yen, 100 for kids. There is a group discount for over 20 people.
Open: 9:00 to 17:00 (Last entry 16:30)
There is parking.
Address: 57 Miyakoji-machi, Sakura-shi, Chiba, 〒285-0016
TEL: 043-484-6192 FAX: 043-486-9401
These houses on the Sakura samurai street you should not miss!
The house for Samurai who earned 300 Koku.
Kawara house is one of remaining Samurai houses located in Samurai street. It is the oldest houses which built in early 19th century. Kawara House was the house of the highest-rank Samurai in the Edo period. The house remains in a great condition and offers the life of High-rank Samurai at that time.
The Kawara clan moved to Sakura in 1835 and the house was already built at that time.
A Samurai who earned 300 Koku or more was allowed to have:
207 square meters of the land, Udegimon Gate or Nagayamon Gate, 3.6m wide of the entrance, Horizontal Mast for the entrance, guest room and living room, Tatami with the edge at guest room and living room.
The house for a Samurai who earned 150 Koku.
The house was built between 1821 to 1837. It remains a great example of structures and design of Samurai life at that time. Today, it is opened for tourists. You can enter and look around in this amazing Samurai House and get a glimpse of how Samurai used to live.
A Samurai who earned 100 koku or more was allowed to have:
108 square meters of the land, Udegimon Gate or Wood Gate, 3.6m wide of the entrance, No Horizontal Mast, Tatami with the edge for only guest room.
The house for a Samurai who earned 90 koku or more. This house is also opened as a museum.
A Samurai who earned 100 koku was allowed to have:
80 square maters of the land, Wood Gate, A small entrance with only stairs, No Horizontal Mast, Tatami with no edge.
The last lord of Sakura clan, Hotta Masatomo, built his new residence and garden in preparation for his moving back to his former fiefdom, Sakura.
The main part of the residence consists of five single-storied (though partly two-storied) wooden buildings with tiled, hipped roofs, which are connected by corridors. They were completed in 1890. Later on, a bathhouse was added in 1911. The main house buildings, the gatekeeper’s lodge, and the storehouse – which has thick, fireproof walls to protect valuables from theft and natural disasters – remain in good condition, almost as they were when constructed.
The garden, mostly covered with lawn, has trees such as Japanese red pines and crapemyrtles, rocks for decoration, and stone lanterns in some places. It commands an extensive view of Takasaki River and the highlands across the river.
The residence and the garden were designated as Sakura City Cultural Property and place of scenic beauty on March 26, 1997, and also as Chiba Prefecture Cultural Property and Place of Scenic Beauty on March 30, 2001. Furthermore, the five house buildings, the gatekeeper’s lodge, and the storehouse were designated as National Important Cultural Property.
2. Naritasan Shinshoji Temple (成田山新勝寺)
Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is Shingon Buddhist temple located in Narita. It is one of the most famous temple in Kanto region. It has been the sacred spots to regain the protection against disasters and bad luck since established in 940. Especially, during the Edo Period, it was one of the biggest events for Edo people to visit and pray at Shinshoji Temple. Famous Kabuki Actor, Ichikawa Danjuro, prayed for his baby, and after his safe carriage of his baby, he was great believer of Shinshoji Temple and made a great connection between Kabuki and Shinshoji Temple.
History of Shinshoji Temple
The image of Fudomyoo, the main deity of the temple, is belonging to the Chisan Sect of Shingon. This is an extremely valuable image that Kobou Daishi (the founder of SHingon) himself carved, consecrated and conducted a Goma rite upon the direct order of Emperor Saga. The image was enshrined at Takaosan Jingoji Temple in Kyoto for a long period of time. At the time of a revolt by Taira no Masakado in 939, the great monk Kancho carried the image to the Kanto region with him on secret orders from Emperor Suzaku. At Narita, in the Shimousa region, Kancho offered a Goma rite prayer for peace lasting 21 days.
On 14th of February 940, upon the final day of the prayer, the revolt was suppressed. After this, Naritasan was founded and honored with the temple name, Shinshoji.
The Great Main Hall
The great main hall enshrines the image of Fudomyoo, the main deity. Current building is built in 1968. It is the main dojo for the Goma rite that is the most important service in the Temple. The inside of the hall are enshrined the images of Fudomyoo.
Built in 1712. The pagoda is 25m high, and the important cultural property of Japan. Gochianyorai is enshrined inside the pagoda.
Rebuilt in 1831. Enshrined here are the images of Misshakukongo and Naraenkongo on the right and left front sides.
Rebuilt in 1701. It was formerly the Main Hall.
Rebuilt in 1858. This is the old Main Hall. Enshrined here are the images of Shakayorai Buddha in the center, and four images of Bosatsu.
Great Pagoda of Peace
This pagoda was built in 1984.
There is a parking area.
0. at Narita Station.
1. walk north (15 min.)
3. Sakura Castle
Sakura Castle (佐倉城) is a hilltop castle located in Sakura, Chiba. Originally, it was built by Kashima Mikitane in Sengoku period. Later, Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered Doi Toshi Katsu to built strong castle to protect Edo from east. He built current scale of Sakura Castle in 1618. In Meiji period, this castle belonged to Japanese army and all of the buildings were abandoned. However, the moats, dry moats, baileys, and earthworks are preserved in great condition. In April, there are beautiful Cherry Blossom near this castle so it is a popular Hanami area.
There is parking and restroom.
0. at Narita Station.
1. use JR Narita Line to Sakura (14 min.)
2. walk (30 min.)
3. Omotesando Lucky Street (表参道開運通り）
Omotesando Lucky Street is the shopping district around Naritasan Shinshoji Temple. There are many gift shops, restaurants and food stands. Some the building are remaining since Edo period, and entire looks are still preserved as the Edo period. This area had been popular tourist spots since Edo period. Because many people had visited Shinshoji Temple during the Edo period, this was the post town for all the travelers. There are many hotels and inns which still has the exact look or use the same building since that time. There are many gift shops which sale ordinary souvenirs and local food. Especially, this is famous for its Unagi, Japanese eel.
There is a parking area available.
0. at Narita Station
1. walk north (10 min.)