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Travel Guide Asia Japan Honshu Chubu Narita

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Introduction

With a population of about 120,000, Narita is a small city in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. It is located about an hour east of Tokyo by train. The town is most well known as the location of Narita International Airport. This is the closest international airport to Tokyo and a major hub for flights into and out of Japan. The airport receives approximately 82,000 visitors each day, many of whom visit Narita City or travel through there on their way to or from Tokyo.

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Sights and Activities

This is a great city to visit if you only have a few hours to spend while waiting for a flight out of Narita Airport. In only a few short hours you can take in most of what the city has to offer. On the way to the temple grounds, you could explore the shops lining Omotesando Dori, the street which winds away from the train station toward Naritasan Temple. Omotesando is lined with souvenir shops and restaurants. These shops may be a little more pricey than some of those you might find further away from the airport (like those in Asakusa). However, for convenience they cannot be beat.

The main attraction in Narita City is the Naritasan temple complex. The temple grounds contain several temples and beautiful gardens, including a large pond and waterfalls. On the way to the pond, you will see an interesting juxtaposition of European and Japanese style gardens. If you have more time in Narita, you can explore some of the other parks in the city as well. See the city's website for more information.

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Events and Festivals

Traditional Festivals

Japan has countless traditional festivals and holidays. Then when you add the local festivals that number just grows and grows. Here is a list of the few major national traditional festivals.

  • Japanese New Year (January 1) - the most important holiday in Japan. Although there are lots of customs and traditions most of them are done in the private. This is mainly a family holiday and Japan can feel very empty as almost everyone goes home. Travelling in Japan in during this time is difficult because everything is shut down.
  • Seijin No Hi (2nd Monday of January) - the coming of age holiday for Japanese women which 20. Traditionally families will buy any young woman how turned 20 in the last year a kimono. On this day almost all Japanese women will ear a kimono.
  • Hin Festival (March 3) - Also known as doll festival the Hin Matsuri festival is meant for young women. In early february families with daughters put dolls in order to make the women happy and healthy later in life. On Girls Day, on March 3, the dolls are put away until next year.
  • Shichi Go San Festival (Novermber 5) - Boys who are 3 and 5, and girls 3 and 7 are taken to a shinto shrine in traditional Japanese dress. The children are brought there to pray for good luck, good health and wealth.

National Holidays

  • Golden Week - Is quite often referred to as the "Japanese Spring Break." It is a combination of many state holidays, including Showa Day, Greenery Day, Children's Day, and Constitution Memorial Day in order to give a full week off. It takes place during the first full week of May. Everyone gets this week off in Japan so it is very bad time to travel because everything is crowded, expensive and most hotels will be full. There is also a major festival in the southern city of Fukuoka this week, it is called Hakata Dontaku.

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Weather

Narita sees a relatively temperate climate. However, there are definite seasons. Though not as extreme as areas in northern and southern Japan, this region sees cool winters that sometimes include snow as well as hot muggy summers. The summer is generally the rainiest season here and throughout Japan.

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Getting There

By Plane

Narita Airport is one of the main gateways to Japan and has dozens of destinations throughout Japan and to other Asian, European, Australian and North American cities. Check the Narita Airport article for more information.

By Train

The easiest way to get to Narita City both from Tokyo and from the airport is to take JR and Keisei trains. They only take 10 minutes from the airport with the Keisei Limited Express providing the most frequent service.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

For any sites further out, there are city buses.

By Foot

The best way to get around is on foot. The major sites (Omotesando Dori and Naritasan Temple) are within walking distance of the train station.

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Eat and Drink

There are many restaurants, convenience stores and food stalls near the train station and along the main street to the temple, Omotesando Dori. Note that most of the stores along Omotesando are not open in the mornings.

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Sleep

Being close to the airport, there are many hotel options nearby. Several of these are close to the train station. One nice thing about staying near Narita station is that it is far enough from the airport to be fairly quiet.

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Backpackers Fuji668-2, Kamicho Narita, ChibaHostel68
International Guesthouse AzureDaiichi-Hosyo Bldg 3F, 2-6-7 Hiyoshidai, Tomisato-shiHostel59
Narita Airport Hostel326-6 Takada Shibayama Sanmugun Chiba pref.Hostel-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Manga cafes are dotted along the streets of almost every city in Japan. For a very reasonable price (about ¥100 per 15 minutes), you receive a private cubicle with a PC with internet access at blistering Japanese internet speeds. The chairs are incredibly comfortable (making them an excellent place to sleep for the cash-deprived), and you can even order snacks and drinks from the staff.

A number of business hotels have Internet access available if you have your own device, sometimes for free. It is also possible to find Wi-Fi "hot spots" around many large cities in Japan, especially near tech-related businesses and large corporate buildings with unsecured wireless networks. 3G Wireless Data and Pocket Wifi are other options.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Payphones (公衆電話 kōshū denwa) are easily found, particularly near train stations, although with the popularity of mobile phones, public pay phones are not quite as numerous as they once were. Gray and green pay phones accept ¥10 and ¥100 coins and prepaid cards. Be aware that not all places with public telephones have phones that accept coins, so it may be worthwhile to buy a phone card for emergency use. Some of the gray phones, as indicated on the display, can make international calls. Pre-paid cards can be purchased at convenience stores, train station kiosk stores and sometimes in vending machines next to the phone.

Modern Japanese mobile phones (携帯電話 keitai denwa or just keitai) tend to operate on unique cellular standards not always compatible with the rest of the world. 3G phones using the UMTS/WCDMA2100 standard and equipped with a 3G SIM card will most likely work. If your phone is up to spec, double-check with your carrier if they have a roaming agreement with either SoftBank or NTT DoCoMo. Coverage is generally excellent, unless you are heading to some remote mountainous areas. If you have no 3G phone but still have a 3G-compatible SIM card, you can rent a 3G phone in Japan and slot in your card, allowing you to keep your home phone number in Japan. For a longer trip, you can also purchase a phone, but doing this legally requires an Alien Registration Card (or an obliging Japanese friend willing to front for you).

The easier way is to get a prepaid phone. Prepaid phones are sold in most SoftBank and AU stores. If you already have a 3G phone, go with Softbank as it can sell SIMs as opposed to au whose prepaid service is phone-based like most CDMA carriers. Prepaid phones use a "card" with a pass key to "charge" a phone with minutes. These prepaid calling cards, unlike the phone itself, can be found in most convenience stores. A prepaid cell phone is available for as little as ¥5000 plus ¥3000 for a 60-90 day call time package, which will get drained at a rate of ¥100 per minute (¥10 per 6 seconds for AU's prepaid service). Both SoftBank and AU offer prepaid phones.

Post

The Japanese postal service is excellent! Domestic and international mail service is very quick and reliable. The prices for sending letters, postcards and parcels vary depending on where you send if from and to which country you send it too, and of course depends on weight as well, so check this calculation page of Japan Post for more details. Post offices generally are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm on weekdays, closing at weekends and also on national holidays, though a few open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Central post offices are sometimes open until 7:00pm, open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 5:00pm and on Sundays and holidays from 9:00am to 12:30pm. There are post offices in every major city and minor town. Another thing to remember is that the post office is one of the few places in Japan that is guaranteed to have ATMs that take international cards.

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Accommodation in Narita

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Narita searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Narita and areas nearby.

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This is version 11. Last edited at 9:40 on May 2, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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