Konnichiwa, Everyone! Today I would like to introduce you to a hidden gem located near Narita Airport, Naritasan Shinsoji Temple. The temple’s main shrine is dedicated to the powerful deity known as Fudomyo. This god goes by the name of Tangmi in Chinese traditions, Budong Mingwang in Taiwan, Nepal, and Tibet. This temple is highly revered by the Japanese, and visited annually by many. The temple is located in Narita, a city in Chiba Prefecture. There are many buildings dedicated to different deities within the temple, and the main structure is located in the center after climbing a steep flight of stairs. The temple complex is massive and has a huge, open plaza in front of it. The temple premises is very big and consists of two large ponds, a serene waterfall, and a peaceful garden.
The Main Temple
The main temple complex is the biggest among the other buildings on the premises. Inside the temple, there is a shop that sells lucky charms, amulets, and wooden plaques called ema for 500 yen on which people write their wishes or worries. They are later burnt during an hourly ritual carried out by the head monk of the temple which visitors can freely observe. It is said that the ema burnt during the ritual will reach Fudomyo, the temple’s main deity. There is a box filled with plastic bags at the entrance for carrying your shoes since wearing them within the temple is prohibited. Once you enter the temple complex, you’ll notice a huge statue of Fudomyo at the center. There is carpet on the floor inside, which visitors can sit on freely during the ritual. The main ritual is carried out by the head monk while seven disciples chant along with him. During the ritual, visitors can request a copy of the chant written on a small card to chant along. FYI: ONLY available in Japanese!
Towards the end of the ritual, two monks wave sticks covered in white papers to ward off evil spirits – which is COOL!! After the end of the ceremony, visitors can walk around a wooden pillar wrapped in rope while laying hands on it to connect directly with the Fudomyo Diety.
The Hidden Waterfall and Fishpond
After attending the ritual, you can walk through the gardens where there are massive tombstones, engraved statues, and an open space to rest. As you walk down towards the pond, you’ll notice many varieties of Japanese plants and trees surrounding the area. Once you reach the pond, you’ll see many Koi, a variant of carp, and a small pavilion located on the water. There is a narrow, wooden passageway that leads towards the pavilion. You’ll immediately feel at peace once you sit within the pavilion and observe your surroundings. The whole area is very tranquil and picturesque during the autumn, especially because of the leaves turning colors. As you walk towards the hidden waterfall, you will come across a museum and stone bridge which is a popular photo spot. The path to the waterfall can be easily missed, as the sign is only in Japanese. But don’t worry, I’ll tell you how to get there! As soon you cross the stone bridge, you’ll notice two paths, one leading to some stairs and the other leading to the hidden waterfall. Once you reach the waterfall, you’ll see the boulders surrounding a waterfall. The waterfall is about 11 meters (36 ft.) high, and on the top of it, there’s a stone statue of a deity.
There are two major train lines that connect to Naritasan Shinsoji Temple.
1) JR Narita Station operated by JR Railway Company
2) Keisei Narita Station operated by Keisei Railway Company