It might be surprising, but Narita City is an interesting place for tourism and history, and it is easily reachable from Tokyo by the Keisei and JR train lines. In Narita City, the Keisei station and the JR station are located next to each other and serve as a useful landmark for heading toward the center of the city. There, you will find the main shopping street, Omotesando, leading to the Naritasan complex and park.
Visitors quickly fall for the charm of the wooden buildings lining Omotesando Street, whose architecture is a reminder of the Edo period (1603–1868). Small, traditional shops offer various typical Japanese delicacies, such as the famous rice crackers sembei, Japanese pickles tsukemono, and unagi eel dishes served at the restaurants Kawatoyo Narita and Surugaya.
At night, you can have dinner in a fine Japanese izakaya pubs, such as Tsukada Nojo and Month of house Narita Ekimae, or enjoy a delicious noodle soup at Ramen Bayashi. The only shadow on this idyllic historical landscape is the car traffic.
Over the horizon, after a curve in the road, stands the great temple complex Naritasan Shinsho-ji. The temple is strongly linked to Kabuki theatre and offers a pleasant walk from buildings to pagodas. Some of the displayed paintings are still ablaze with colors. Down the temple premises, the Naritasan Park allows visitors to continue the tour among green scenery. With its three little ponds, the Japanese garden is the ideal resting place, in a calm atmosphere near the koi carps. A calligraphy museum can also be found nearby.
Close to the airport, Narita City is indeed a good place for a visit. It is easy for travelers to take advantage of a few hours on a stopover and enjoy the place without being in a hurry. Moreover, spending the last night before an early morning flight in downtown Narita is the perfect occasion for a wonderful change of scenery. Most of the hotels are located close to the two train stations, at the entrance of the city, and offer rather affordable accommodations.
Narita City is also home to a training facility for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
How to get to Narita City
With JR Trains -- ~75 minutes from Tokyo Station (1.200¥ / ~US$ 11.20 or covered by the JR Pass) or ~15 minutes from Narita Airport (240¥ / ~US$ 2.20) by JR Sobu-Narita Line, stop at Narita
With Keisei Trains -- ~70 minutes from Keisei-Ueno (840¥ / ~US$ 7.80) or ~10 minutes from Narita Airport (260¥ / ~US$ 2.40) by the main Keisei Line, stop at Keisei-Narita
Location reachable with the JRP : order your Japan Rail Pass (from ~US$ 281)
Get your Japanese Yens free of charge
How long / when to visit
Allow half a day to visit downtown Narita