Japan / Temples & Shrines

Day 1: 「成田市」 Visiting a temple in Narita

Sandals left at the Narita temple (成田山新勝寺) by Buddhist pilgrims and monks

My afternoon was spent admiring my very first Buddhist temple in Japan: 成田山新勝寺(Narita-san shinsho-ji) or Mount Narita temple of the New Victory. The town of Narita is obviously most well-known for its international airport however, this jewel set in the middle of a splendid mountain makes you forget instantaneously that you are 30 mins away from a high-paced bustling downtown area.

When I say ‘jewel’ I’m not joking. The most striking feature of the temple’s complex is the Sanjuutou or Three-storied Pagoda highly detailed and painted in such vivid colours that one has to wonder how the pigments are maintained.

「三重塔」 Three-storied Pagoda in Narita, Chiba-ken

I especially loved when we lost our way a little bit and wandered into the mountain’s forest. It was a beautiful and peaceful place filled with little brooks, a waterfall and gorgeous paths winding around the natural flora of the mountain. I could really tell that I was not in a Canadian mountain, the flora was so exquisitely different from the one I was used to seeing.

Natural boulders used as a staircase in Narita

For my first day in Japan, I have to admit that it will be difficult to beat it. In a single afternoon, I got to see so many beautiful landscapes, worthy of the best photography or travel magazines you can imagine. I am only surprised that I had never heard of this temple before going to Japan. Indeed, it goes unnoticed, overshadowed by more prominent ones like Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion) in Kyoto. My only wish is that this beautiful temple will find fame in Western travel guides about Japan.

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