You may associate Narita with Tokyo’s international airport, but there is so much more to it than that! Being a little over an hour train ride from Tokyo, we decided to spend our last night in Japan in Narita so that we wouldn’t have to make the trek to the airport the next day. We stayed at the Hilton Narita using points, and received a room upgrade, late check out and free breakfast due to my status. They have a free shuttle that picks you up at the airport if you need it, which is convenient if you are coming from the airport. We have found that Hiltons near airports are usually around 20k points per night, so we save our points for those times we need to be close to the airport.
Narita is most known for the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple. It’s a gorgeous Buddhist temple, located in central Narita. Milana loved learning about the different customs associated with temples and what better way to teach a child than to actually bring them there to see for themselves! When you enter the temple grounds, you will see a large fountain with water. You first purify your hands before entering the temple.
When you walk up the steep steps to the temple, you will start to smell incense. You will see a giant incense burner with some incense next to it that you’re supposed to throw in the burner. You fan the smoke toward you, as it is believed to have healing powers.
The temple is beautiful! Such gorgeous architecture.
You can purchase a small wooden plaque and write your wish or request on it. There were lots of them hanging! We didn’t take part in this, but Milana loved seeing them.
After visiting the temple, we walked around the downtown. It’s such a cute area with lots of shops and restaurants. In fact, the first true souvenir store we found was in Narita! We couldn’t find any in Tokyo.
Have I mentioned that the Japanese really love milk and ice cream? I couldn’t believe the amount of ice cream places all over Japan and the huge line of locals lined up to get some! Same with donuts, they sure love their sweets and dairy! Quite the opposite of what we expected.
We found some street vendors while walking around and Milana tried a few things. She really loved the rice cakes!
And these freshly made dorayaki, which are very similar to pancakes and filled with all sorts of things. The one she was eating had red bean.
The downtown area is super cute and looks nothing like modern Tokyo! We loved walking around and exploring all the different shops. They had these little animal statues all along the street and Milana loved seeing what animal was coming up next!
For dinner, we had ramen at Ramen Bayashi. This restaurant has really cool airplane themed decor, as they seem to cater to the pilots and flight attendants who are in Narita overnight. Milana loves miso ramen and was proud to show off her chopstick skills! The ramen was really good and we also had some of the best fried rice we’ve ever had. The gyoza here is really good too!
As you can see, Narita is a super cute, traditional Japanese city that’s perfect for exploring for at least one day. If you want to be near the airport prior to departing, I definitely recommend Narita and the Hilton we stayed in!