See The Temple - Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple and Park is definitely worth a visit. It has many fine old buildings, some centuries old, including several ancient gates, a bell tower, prayer wheel, etc.
The temple grounds include a beautiful park which is fun to wander in at any season. It has huge trees, ponds, waterfalls, places to sit and paths to walk. There are several magnificent Wisteria vines, plumb and cherry trees with beautiful spring blossoms, maple trees to offer Autumn color and plenty of ducks, geese and other birds.
To get to the Temple from the center of town, walk straight out of the Keisei Line train station, walk straight past the bus station and turn right. You'll see a Macdonalds straight ahead which is on the main 'town square'. Continue down the main road [pictures from Andrew Weller] (Omotesando), which has a single vehicle lane in the middle, bordered on either side by two red foot traffic lanes. The street [another picture] winds down hill for about a kilometer. Where the road forks, stay right. You'll pass the Narita Tourist Pavilion, (worth a stop -- lots of brochures, maps, exhibits, free green tea, stuff for sale, etc.), just beyond which is the Temple. In the Fall, there are beautiful chrysanthemums (picture). The city also has frequent street festivals (picture).
Here's a slide show of a recent trip from the airport to Narita, lunch at an old noodle shop and a walk around Narita San temple: Narita, Japan
Go Shopping - The streets leading from the center of town to the Temple are lined with all sorts of shops, including convenience stores, a neat hardware store, souvenir stalls, book shops, etc. (Many of these close early -- in the evening -- so get your shopping done before 5:00 pm.)
100 YEN Store. About halfway down Omotesando Street, there is a small 100 yen store. Things to consider: chopsticks, pottery such as rice bowls and sushi plates, package food such as nori and candy, and drinks. There is also a 100 Yen store between the Kensei Train Station and the JR Train Station.
Liquor Stores. You can find some different types of bottles of sake. They make for nice gifts. Expect to pay about 800 yen. However, be aware of the import restrictions of liquor of the country you are traveling to.
General Stores. There are several general stores that also sell gifts on Omotesando Street. There are several that sell sake sets that include a decorative sake bottle (empty) with matching cups. Expect to pay about 1100 yen for a set in the hardware store. They also sell general trinkets but with the exchange rate, these are rather pricey.
Food. If you are into interesting local fare, Omotesando Street is your place. You can buy anything from seahorse skeletons, to eels, to snail in what appears to be snot in a bag. I am afraid I have never been to brave to try these culinary delights. If you feel a little under the weather, you can even buy some leeches to put on your body!
Bakery. There are some nice bakeries in the area. My favorite is on the other side of the JR Train station (not the Keisei Train Station). Go through the JR station and you will see the bakery on the corner towards the right side as you exit the Station.
There is also an Imagawayaki (bean filled pastry) shop on Omotesando road. According to contributor Patrick: "...since it's the only thing they sell, you know it has to be good! They make them fresh and hot, right in front of you in the store window. The cost is 100 yen each."
Ichiban Grocery. If you are looking to buy some basic foods (fruit, drinks, instant noodle soups, etc.), the Ichiban (no 1) grocery store is handily located near the Kensei Train Station. Exit the Station (away from old Narita town), go straight and on the right hand side you will see the grocery store on the corner.
As reported by David Gulick, there is a new "grocery" store across the street from where Daiei (which no longer exists) is shown on the map. It is called Yaoko Marketplace and it is large and is a great place for some foods. There are many prepared foods available and an area at the front called a cafe. The cafe has a microwave and free green tea. The yakitori was good and definitely less expensive than others. My wife liked the bakery items they made too. We picked out yakitori and other items and then the bakery items and paid for everything at the bakery register which is right next to the "cafe".
LaOx, a well known electronics discount chain has a branch in Narita. No bargains, but offers an interesting look at the latest from Japan and does have a large duty-free selection.
Many area hotels have free or low priced shuttle buses to the Aeon Shopping Center. You can also get a bus there from the terminal near the Keisi Line main station. The buses are pink in color and cost 200 Yen, each way. The shopping center itself has dozens of small shops, a big Jusco department store, a large sporting goods store, a large Capcom arcade game center and more. You can also walk to Aeon from downtown Narita. Take a short cut through Narita-san temple.
There are several craft/art/stationery shops. One is next to the cigarette Cabin and one is down near the temple on the left hand side (after you have taken the right hand fork). They both have some beautiful examples of Japanese writing materials and are both inexpensive. Great for souvenirs. Noritake china is a bargain in both of the China shops at the moment as the Yen is so weak.
You can pretty much forget Duty Free shopping at the airport. Prices are high and the selection dismal. You can purchase duty free liquor on arrival at many airports in Asia including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Eat - Narita has a number of Japanese style coffee shops at which you can expect to spend about 350 Yen for a cup of coffee, no refills. These places often have 'morning set' specials during which you can get a cup of coffee along with a light breakfast. There are several rather uninspired places in front of the main Keisei Line station [picture]. There is a Kohikan on Omotesando about 1.5 blocks from the main square. According to B Lapson: "It has a wide selection of excellent coffee, from 300 to 700 yen and, before 11:00 AM you can have a plate of toast, ham, scrambled eggs and potato salad for only 200 yen more, i.e. 500 yen in all. The "Kohikan Blend" is outstanding coffee, far superior to anything at Starbucks, at 400 yen."
There is a Macdonalds, a Mister Donut, and some other fast food places in the center of town. The street leading to the Temple (Omotesando) has many good restaurants, including the world's greatest noodle shop [picture], eel restaurants, tempura shops, and Chinese food places. Many of the restaurants have English menus (but not the noodle shop).
Mike Wagner writes: "If you are looking for probably some of the best sushi in Japan I recomend Edokko Sushi. The main store is on omotesando, but they aren't always happy to have foreigners. The second store will welcome you though. If you know where the little orange bridge is just a stoes throw from the Keisei station you can find it. Cross the bridge heading towards the temple and the store will be on your right. They open for lunch at 11:30 and have a reasonalbly priced luch set, usually for under 1500 yen. It includes the sushi, miso soup, and usually a slice of melon for desert. If you like sushi you will love this place. If you still want more after the lunch set ask for the "shake skin roll" save it for last because it is out of this world. This creation is one that one of their chefs perfected when he was working in New York and brought it back to Japan."
|The Jet Lag Club, located on Omotesando Street, opposite the internet cafe, has happy hour from 8:30 to 9:30 PM and again from Midnight to 1:00 AM. According to Victor Murray: "Jet Lag Club is run by a former Sabena crew member from Belgium and his Japanese wife. Great atmosphere, inexpensive and friendly." You can order food here which will be brought in from nearby restaurants.|
You can get a free cup of tea at the rest house just across from the main temple entrance. The rest house is warm in the winter and cool in the summer and everyone is welcome.
Noodle Shop Ramen Bayashi is the name of a very popular noodle place that caters to foreigners. It is located in old Narita town. Leave the Keisei Train station and turn right outside the station. At the next block to your left, you see a bridge heading towards old Narita town. Go over the bridge, just before you dead end into Omotesando you will see the Noodle Shop Ramen Bayashi on your left. Expect to pay about 850 yen for a bowl of soup and 400 yen for goyaza (kinda like potstickers). They also sell beer. You will frequently find international flight crew personnel at this location. This restaurant now has a location on Omotesando right across from the Kohi-kan coffee shop.
The Easy Coffee Shop. A coffee shop is located across from the Noodle Shop. They advertise that they speak English.
The Bonn (spelling?) is a fixed price menu restaurant that is a little harder to find but well worth it. For about 1300 yen you get all the food you can eat. It serves goyaza, french fries, salad, noodles, terryaki chicken, etc. You can even watch them cook it. The restaurant is located of Omotesando just past the main Temple entrance. Leave the Keisei Train station and turn right outside the station. At the next block to your left, you see a bridge heading towards old Narita town. Go over the bridge. When the street dead ends, turn right. This is Omotesando. The sign will say Omotesando St. Keep walking by all the shops, the tourist Pavilion, the entrance to the temple on the left, some more shops, a major street to the right (Denshamichi Street) and then make a left turn into the side street called Higashisando Street (on a yellow sign). If you pass a large parking lot on your left, you went too far. Go back and turn into the Higashisando Street. The restaurant is at the end of the parking lot with an outside spiral case going up to the second level where the restaurant is located. Come early as it fills up fast.
The New World Indian Restaurant. If you are tired of local fare, try some Indian food. This restaurant is located halfway on Omotesando.