The city that Tokyo’s most well known airport is named after doesn’t really come across as a destination by itself. For most visitors, it is just a transiting point for another flight, or a getting off point to get into Tokyo. I had a chance to visit this city when I had to layover for a night during my visit to Hokkaido. I found that it is an interesting place to visit without the crowds and exuding its own small city charm.

We were put up at one of the airport hotels and we took a bus into Narita. It is a pretty small city by Tokyo standards and the main attractions are the shopping street, Omotesandō (表参道), and Naritasan Temple.

Omotesandō, the man shopping street which has around 150 shops along it.
Omotesandō, the man shopping street which has around 150 shops along it.
There were quite a lot of visitors, and I presume probably half of them were visiting because of long layovers.
There were quite a lot of visitors, and I guess probably half of them were visiting because of long layovers.
One of the many shops that should satisfy the shopaholics.
One of the many shops that should satisfy the shopaholics.

One of the gates leading into Naritasan Temple.

 The main gate leading into Naritasan Temple.

Climbing up the stairs.
Climbing up the stairs and through another gate.
The temple complex itself.
The temple complex itself.
One of the main halls where ceremonies are held.
One of the main halls where ceremonies are held.
There was some sort of prayer ceremony going on.
There was some sort of prayer ceremony going on.
A priest on the drum.
A priest on the drum.
Incense burner at the doorway to the temple hall.
An incense burner at the doorway to the temple hall.
A huge bell hanging from the door frame.
A huge bell hanging from the door frame.

After visiting the temple, we walked back to the bus station. Along the way through Omotesandō we also looked for a restaurant to have lunch and satisfy our hunger pangs. Well, we found this seemingly popular Unagi restaurant along the street. Unagi is Japanese freshwater eel which is marinated and grilled, and usually served with rice.

One of the very popular Unagi restautants. The eels are prepared fresh on the spot.
One of the very popular Unagi restautants. The eels are prepared fresh on the spot. If you don’t like to see your food being killed and prepared, then this may not be the place for you.
I'm not sure what this statue is but I think its Oshin, the long suffering daughter-in-law in Japanese history.
I’m not sure what this statue is but I think its Oshin, the long suffering daughter-in-law in Japanese literature.
A retro post box in Narita.
A retro post box in Narita.

If you have to layover in Narita for a night then the city is worth a short visit. Not too much to occupy your time compared to Tokyo but the small town charm is there, without the hustle and bustle of crowds.

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