Explore a 1,000-year-old Buddhist temple complex and attend a fire ritual performed in honor of an important Buddhist deity.
Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is a large Buddhist temple complex, a place where prayers and rituals are performed daily. The sacred site dates back to the 10th century and is home to several buildings including a three-story pagoda, prayer halls and elaborately carved gates.
The temple was erected in A.D. 960 and is dedicated to Fudo Myouou, the god of fire. See the large statue of the deity around which the temple was built. It is believed to have been carved by Kobo Daishi, the monk who founded the Shingon Buddhist sect.
Attend one of the fire rituals that are performed several times a day in the Great Main Hall. The lively event consists of drums, chants and flames as prayers are offered to the fire god.
Devote at least 1 hour to touring the complex. Admire the three-story painted pagoda in the main square that was built in 1712. Study the carved reliefs on the walls of Shakado Hall. Enjoy great views of Narita from the top floor of the five-story Great Peace Pagoda and stop by Komyodo Hall, built in 1701. View the fierce-looking statues of Naraenkongo and Misshakukongo, two guardians of Buddha that stand either side of the Niomon Gate.
While you are at the temple complex, see what the future may have in store for you. There are vending machines that dispense omikuji's, fortunes written on strips of paper, or you can consult one of the soothsayers outside the temple grounds.
After you have finished your tour, relax in Naritasan Park, the green expanse on the temple’s doorstep.
Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is open daily and admission is free. Many visitors choose to visit the majestic site straight from Narita International Airport, which is just 5 miles (8 kilometers) to the east. Trains run from the airport to Narita Station, a short walk from the temple.