Naritasan Park

The grounds around the Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple form a beautiful park with many walking paths for quiet meditation. Creeks flow down the hillside, around picturesque rock outcroppings, to a koi filled pond. You can even purchase fish food to feed the many multicolored koi while enjoying your own lunch in a shoreline kiosk.

Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple

On our last day in Japan we were in the city of Narita, which is located about an hour and a half west of Tokyo by train. Our flight from Narita Airport back to SFO wasn’t until late in the evening. So, we decided to check out the Naritasan Shinsho-Ji Buddhist temple, monastery and library complex during the day. We were totally unprepared for the amazing structures, grounds and experience of this busy religious site! We even stumbled upon a public prayer with resident monks providing burnt prayer offerings and blessings of personal items for the congregation! Unfortunately, we could not photograph or film anything inside the temples. But, if you think the exterior is impressive, it’s nothing compared to the spectacular colors, artistry, craftsmanship, detail and spirituality of the interiors! Not to mention the mesmerizing chants of the monks during prayer!

The main Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple was built on a hillside in the year 940 around a sacred object – a statue of the Buddhist deity, Fudo Myoo. The statue was said to have been carved by the famous monk, Kobo Daishi, who founded the Shingon Sect of Buddhism. Fudo Myoo is one of the five lords of light and guards the Law of Buddhism, driving away evil with a rather threatening appearance. He is often symbolized by a sword, which is a repeating image seen around the temple complex.