Tucked away very near to Narita Airport lies Narita City. Home to the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple. This ancient city is much overlooked for the busier streets of Tokyo. This is a perfect day trip or another way to occupy a long layover.
I decided to work this trip even though I was concerned about the long flight time and drastic time change. I only let thoughts of intrigue fill my mind. The different culture that awaited me. The food, the scenery and the people. I had a great longing to explore.
We arrived at our hotel around 2:30 pm and we planned to take the complimentary shuttle bus to Narita City at 3:15. Quickly clothes were strewn about. Bags half open and shoes that had landed in different places all made my room look as if I had been there for days not twenty minutes. After a quick shower, clothes changed, makeup re-touched, I was out the door. The key to dealing with jet-lag is to keep moving.
We boarded the bus with about 15 other people to be dropped off near the train station in town. Stopping for a coffee but continually moving we made our way to Omotesando street, which would lead us to the Temple. The charming street offers store fronts overflowing with rice crackers, trinkets and handicrafts.
The street winds through the city and we had fun stopping to look at the local souvieners. Without crowds of people the afternoon proved to be relaxing after our long flight. Upon arriving at the Temple grounds we were all astonished at how may beautiful buildings there were to be discovered. The peaceful garden grounds complete the serenity of this large area.
After the blissful afternoon we all began to get hungry and irritable (sure sign of the jet-lag setting in.) We found a noodle restaurant (well of course) that was overflowing with people. Nothing fancy inside but the aroma enticed us to enter. We took our place in line for a table while watching the culinary activity. The bowls of steaming noodles emerged from the open kitchen at record breaking speed.
The town and Temple wasn’t the only attraction. After a good nights sleep we still had about seven hours to explore before our flight home. You can rent a bike at the roadside station Tako or, in our case, we got our bikes from our hotel. After riding along a highway, ..the map we had was not the best, the route took us besides a lazy river. We searched for the rice paddies, and ended up riding through an enchanting forest filled with bamboo. Feeling as if I had been transported back in time this was truly rural Japan.
13 hours – you have to go for this!
“The further you get away from yourself, the more challenging it is. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun” – Benedict Cumberbatch