Day Trip in Naritasan

Our 2017 Philippine vacation had at least 30 hours of layover in Japan, a country that fascinates me for a long time. To make our brief visit to the anime land worthwhile we really did our research thoroughly and worked around from our hectic flight schedule. 
Mt. Fuji from plane
First glimpse of Mt. Fuji


Airport locker in Narita
Airport lockers in Narita International Airport
Coming from Oyama Station heading to Narita Airport; we woke up early to avoid the rush hour of Tokyo's transits. It was a hectic ride; several transfers and relying on transit workers for directions. 
Once we arrived in the airport, we placed our luggage in a locker, had a quick Starbucks breakfast and waited our tour guide from Narita Rainbow Tours in the designated meeting place.


Few hours in Narita Airport and want to do something cultural?


Akane showed on-time, warm greetings were exchanged, she gave us a brief information about our trip was about, and we hopped in to our train heading to Downtown Narita.


Naritasan Omotesando -- a charming shopping spot

Omotesando, Narita
Lines of shops on the way the temple

The road leading to the historic Naritasan Temple (Omotesando) was filled with rows of shops and restaurants, according to our guide that the road has been busy for centuries; the pilgrims would stop by these shops on their way to the temple and later on tourists came as well. 

The side street of Omotesando is decorated with sculptures of Oriental zodiac, i regret that i was not able to take photos at least one of them 😒. Some shops were setting up, some were closed. Akane was enthusiastic introducing us to the shops' products: from rice crackers, bbq eel (the area's specialty), pickled vegetables and interesting kitchen gadgets; she was very informative about which shop offers samples and which one are popular.
We saw a stand that sells dorayaki--- a small pancake filled with red bean! My 🐻 bought one for us to share; for someone who is used to having sweet bean for a treat, this one is has a subtle sweetness into it and i can taste more of the red bean—it’s soo yummy!

red bean dorayaki
Red bean dorayaki



The entrance to the temple was quite busy with both worshippers and tourists; crowds filled the cleansing stations. 
Cleansing station Naritasan  temple
First cleansing station 

As we walked along Akane explained everything from the rituals of the believers and the brief history of some of the buildings. 


She pointed at the thick piles of wood plaques and explained those are the wishes of the devotees, it ranges from finding significant others, luck in employment, financial and health improvement and passing an exam!



Naritasan wishes
devotees's wishes
Three storied Pagoda
Three storied Pagoda

The building that caught my eye was the Three-storied Pagoda  (photo of pagoda), built in 1712 the bright colours of the pagoda were eye catching, we took a closer look, our guide pointed that the pagoda's ceilings were not just painted, it was painstakingly carved, It created a cool 3-D effect! 



three storied Pagoda
Three storied Pagoda's 3-D ceiling


Avoiding the crowd for a little while we walked along the Naritasan garden park, where we fed the healthy inhabitants of the pond---the Kois, it seems that they know what to do when there's human presence nearby, they all swim fast beside the bridge because food will be automatically provided! 





We left the kois satisfied with the crackers, and proceed to climbed the stairs leading to the Great Pagoda of Peace that housed several historical relics, from old calligraphies, several Buddhist statues, a grand altar and a time capsule that was signed by several world leaders during the early 80's. It's scheduled to be opened on 2034. 
Great Main Hall
Great Main Hall


Goma Ritual


Akane informed us its time to go to the Great Main Hall; following the crowd to witness the Goma Ritual. When we reached the door of the Main Hall, we were instructed to keep our phones and any instruments that could take videos and photograph and remove our footwear. 
Respecting the rules of the temple, we joined the crowd who were all kneeled and getting ready for the ceremony; we knelt down, quietly observed to what is happening. 
When the ceremony started, we listened to the solemn chanting of the monks, there's a large drum being being beaten as they chant, wood are being thrown and burnt, and later on there were monks who collected hand bags and purses to wave over the smoke. Must be their way of asking the deities for prosperity and luck.

Being and a fan of great craftsmanship, nature, history and had an opportunity to witnessed locals participating in their sacred ritual, it was a great honour. 


Naritasan compound
Naritasan Compound

As we were heading out the Naritasan compound, I was looking forward to see the shops along Omotesando once more, and planned to take a look inside to some shops that were closed when we arrived earlier. Along the way she showed me more interesting goodies from the other shops.

raw chestnuts
Chestnuts
treats in Omotesando
Treats in Omotesando
Flavoured peanuts
Various flavoured peanuts!

We went to checked a shop that specialised in desserts and tea ceremony treats and also checked out some of the souvenir shops, i was considering grabbing a Daruma doll but  bought myself a kokeshi doll instead and magnet masks for me and my sister. Our tour guide told us to show our transit ticket to the vendor so we can get a discount.
With so much great memories from our day trip, and quite satisfied with our souvenirs; it's time to head back to Narita airport, Akane rode with us going to the airport and we exchange our goodbyes (or till we meet again) when we reached the airport's entrance; the next time i visit Japan for vacation, i will be booking my day trip with Narita Rainbow Tours again.

See more from may Naritasan trip on my Facebook page!




2 comments:

  1. I love day trips, they are so much fun. I think it's exciting to fit all of the sight seeing into one or two days. That building is pretty cool, i love the bright colors too!

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    1. Thanks to your comment Leslie! Have you been to Japan? It's a fun place to be! I really want to go back to Naritasan, especially the Omotesando area. :)

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