Floyd and I had a long enough layover in Narita, Japan, this time that we decided to leave the airport and do a little exploring.
On the advice of a helpful person at the information desk, we decided to visit a nearby temple with some scenic gardens out back. We took a short subway ride to a quiet little street that we were told many tourists enjoy walking down.
There were lots of interesting little shops along the street, and we went into a few to browse, though we didn't end up buying anything.
Sounds like a fun club! Can we join?
Finally we got to our destination. We enjoyed walking around and taking pictures of all the elaborate buildings (yes, there were quite a few).
Behind the buildings we found the gardens we had been told about. They were even larger than the temple complex, and much more beautiful.
It was strange to find such an idyllic area in the middle of a bustling city. The trees were tall and thick enough that we couldn't see past them, and we could easily have thought we were out in the countryside somewhere.
Floyd and I spent a peaceful hour or so wandering down one meandering pathway after another, enjoying the trees and flowers, koi ponds and occasional cute pagodas. And then we realized that our route didn't seem to be looping around back toward the entrance the way we had thought it would. We started to get a little stressed as we searched for the way out, keeping an eye on the time and wondering how close we could cut it before we missed our flight back to Taiwan.
With signs like the one above, can you blame us for getting lost?! And even after we eventually found our way back to the temple area, we realized that we weren't sure exactly where in the complex we were, or where the exit was. It took quite a bit of stressful speed-walk exploring before we finally found our way out!
Of course, then we still had to walk all the way back up the street to the subway and take a train back to the airport. After we reclaimed our luggage from storage, we realized that we were in the wrong terminal, because our next flight departed from a different area than the one we had arrived in.
To make a long story short, we did get to our gate in time to get on the flight - but barely. Boy, was it stressful! But, at least we got to see Narita. And we made a memory!