A must-go place for sightseeing in Narita: Naritasan Shinshoji that attracts over 10 million annual visitors!
Naritasan Shinshoji is a popular spot that you should definitely visit if you are using Narita Airport. Here are some facts that you might want to know before visiting there!
Daihonzan Naritasan Shinshoji (or “Shinshoji”) is a temple that attracts many visitors and is easily accessible from Narita Airport. It is the head of the 70 Naritasan temples in Japan. Each of its enshrinement halls is said to bring different benefits, such as bringing good luck, warding off bad luck, career success, commercial success, and a good romantic relationship. Every year, over 10 million people visit there. Particularly, it gets crowded with a total of about three million people during the time of people’s first visit of the year. Surprisingly, at Shinshoji, a Goma prayer ritual has been conducted every single day ever since it was founded over 1000 years ago in 940.
A Goma prayer is a Buddhist ritual in which a special type of firewood called “gomagi” is burned in front of the principal object of worship to pray for one’s success by purifying the person’s wishes. The Daihondo Hall, where the Goma prayer ritual takes place, has a solemn atmosphere. When you step inside, the purity in the air makes your senses awaken. You can apply for it at various spots on the precinct of Shinshoji, so why not try it when you visit there?
Shinshoji also has many other halls and a pagoda besides the Daihondo Hall, many of which have been designated as Japan’s Important Cultural Property. You should definitely see them if you are interested in Japan’s temples and shrines.
The Niomon Gate enshrines two Kongorikishi, the guardian deities of the Buddhist temple.
Ungyo Misshaku Kongo statue (left) and Agyo Naraen Kongo statue (right)
Daihondo Hall. This is the central hall where the most important Goma prayers are held.
The three-story pagoda, built in 1712, is an important cultural property.
It is beautiful that even the back of the roof is finely decorated.
Okunoin. Vairocana is enshrined behind the doors, and the doors are opened during a religious festival called “Naritasan Gion-e” held annually from 7th to 9th, July.
This is “Shusse Inari Shrine.”It is said to bring prosperity in business, good fortune, and protection against fire.
Among this temple complex, the oldest existing one is the Yakushido Hall, which was once the main hall. Built in 1655 during the beginning of the Edo period, it is the oldest existing hall at Shinshoji.
Yakushido Hall. This was once the main hall.
Furthermore, the temple also features a large park with over 100 years of history, which stretches for about 165,000 ㎡. The park reflects the Buddhist idea of “respecting the lives of all living things.” With so much nature, not only does it make you feel relaxed, but it also makes you forget that you are in a temple precinct.
In the park, you can enjoy the scenery of each season.
Shinshoji is a temple that attracts many visitors and tourists from all around Japan and is one of the places where you can immerse yourself in Japanese Buddhist culture and history. We highly recommend that you visit there if you ever use Narita Airport.
■DATA Naritasan Shinshoji Address: Narita 1, Narita City, Chiba Prefecture Visiting hours: Open all day (Goma prayer reception hours: 8:00-16:00) TEL: 0476-22-2111 Official website: https://www.naritasan.or.jp/english/ (Information as of December 2023)