This morning I’m back on the Narita Express, heading back towards the airport ready for my departure tomorrow morning. But rather than just stay the night, I thought I might head to Narita early so I can check out some of the sights, namely the Naritasan Temple and Park.
I arrive at the Narita Hilton, and although check in is not until 3pm, my room is ready, which is great because it gives me a chance to drop off my stuff and freshen up. The room is large and looks really nice – and the bed looks super comfy. I can’t wait to stretch out in it tonight. But for now, there’s Narita to explore, so I head downstairs and board the shuttle bus to Narita.
The guide books don’t say much about Narita. I guess many people don’t bother spending time here, rather using it as a transit point for incoming and outgoing flights. And to be honest it’s not really a pretty town, until you get to the temple grounds.
It’s a miserable day today, extremely cold – 7.6 degrees upon arrival at Narita, and just as I board the shuttle bus, it starts to rain and pretty much doesn’t stop for the rest of the afternoon. It’s amazing how rain can make a day feel miserable and set the tone for your first impressions of a place. I recall on my last trip to Japan, arriving in Kyoto in the rain, trailing my luggage behind me, arriving at the hotel like a soaked rat – our hotel and the city itself felt crappy and grey. Yet, I’m sure if I had arrived in the sunshine, I would have got a totally different impression. So I’m really glad I got the opportunity to give Kyoto another go!
The town’s centrepiece is the impressive temple. The temple was founded in the 10th century. A broad variety of temple buildings stand on the spacious grounds of Naritasan, including the temple’s new and former main halls, a three storied pagoda and a huge Tahoto style pagoda, named the Great Pagoda of Peace.
|Look how hard it’s raining!|
On the grounds, is a stunning park – Naritasan Park. The park grounds are at the base of a Calligraphy Museum. At present, the gardens are bathed in autumn colours and there are vibrant splashes of red, orange and yellow all over the place. Kyoto may have had more red koyo (autumn leaves) but Narita wins for orange! The garden incorporates both traditional Japanese and European elements. It’s a shame it’s raining, but I still couldn’t think of a nicer place to spend the afternoon. Though it would have been nice to spend longer here, the rain kind of takes the enjoyment out of it. I take as many photos as I can (not more photos of leaves Michelle, I hear you scream!), but it’s difficult tryinig to hold the umbrella under my chin and take photos which are straight and not get my camera wet. I’m obviously not the multi-tasking pro I thought I was!
Unagi (eel) is the speciality dish of Narita and it would have been great to have a bowl of it with some rice, but I was full and looking forward to dinner tonight. Besides I have tried Unagi before anyway, so there was no challenge there!
There doesn’t seem to be much more to do here in Narita for the limited time I have left this afternoon. If I had another day, there are quite a few things to do around the area, but I’ll leave Narita with the memory of those beautiful colours.
I grab the shuttle bus back to the hotel and settle in for an evening of room service and blogging. I’m going to be sad to leave Japan. I’ve seen so much more of it this time, but it’s just made me realise there’s soooo much of it left to see. One thing is for sure, I will be back – definitely.