Japan: images and observations
Narita and a nearby village (Kibara?)

My family and I visited Japan in October 2017; these pages record my impressions, both photographically and verbally.

On these pages I have concentrated on what I found particularly interesting, surprising, or different in Japan to Australia, where I live.

There is too much to be placed on a single Internet page, so the material has been divided among several pages.

Before our visit to Japan, Narita was a place we had to go because that was where the Tokyo airport that we flew in to was. It turned out to be interesting in its own right, not least because of Shinsho-ji (Buddhist temple).

This page started 2017/11/08, substantially completed 2018/01/04, last edited 2021/03/07
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©


A Japanese Village, Kibara?

I have not been able to find out the name of this village with any certainty yet, but it could be Kibara.

On our last night in Japan Ken, Claire, Adelaide, Denece and I stayed in an AirBnB place in a small village near Narita airport. Julia, Shayne, Anna and Beth were flying out of Tokyo's other airport, Hamida; they stayed in Tokyo that night.

This was our only experience with country Japan.

Our hosts were Scott and Norico. Scott, originally from the USA, picked us up at the railway station the evening of our arrival and, after the night and morning in Kibara, took us on a tour of Narita before dropping us off at Narita International Airport the following day.

This photo, taken around sunrise on 2017/10/28, shows the country around our accommodation; flat valley floor surrounded by forested hills.

Ken, Claire, Adie, Denece and I had this house to ourselves on the night of 27th/28th October. The host's house was next door.

At the back of the house was a forest of trees and bamboo on a hillside – more on that later.

Photo taken 2017/10/28

The entrance to a Shinto shrine within easy walking distance of our house.

There was a Buddhist temple next door to this shrine. (Buddhists and Shinto seem to get along very smoothly in Japan, in fact the two seem to be blended to some extent.)

Photo taken 2017/10/28

The forest beside the valley was as dense as tropical rain forest in Australia. This photo shows that creepers and trees compete for access to the sunlight available at the forest edge.

There was a mix of trees, bamboo and creepers.

Photo taken 2017/10/28

Solar panels
A small installation of solar panels near our house. As discussed elsewhere in these pages, Japan is one of the leading countries in the world in solar power, second only to China.

We saw many of these from trains as we travelled around. This was one of several within easy walking distance of our AirBnB accommodation; it was probably about 40 kW.

Photo taken 2017/10/28


This bamboo forest with several rows of trees was right behind our house.

What was even more interesting than the forest was the lie of the land; from bottom to top there was first a steep section – on the right, middle distance – then a relatively flat section – in the centre of the photo, with the rows of trees – then at the top another steep section – the dark area on the left.

Photo taken 2017/10/28

It was apparent that at some time in the past there had been a land-slip. This type of land slip is not uncommon when steep land has been cleared of deep-rooted plants (that would otherwise stabilise the soil) and then subject to a particularly wet period; the ground gets saturated and the water can lubricate a bulk slip of a spoon-shaped mass of soil and subsoil.

This land-slip may well be relevant to the lack of terraced hillsides in Japan and the retention of forest on all of the slopes other than the very gentle ones.

This photo shows the steep, upper bank better (dark slope on the right). There is another house above, one of the retaining walls associated with that house is right on the edge of the land-slip.

This type of land-slip (or slump-earth flow) is shown schematically in Figure 1 of a page by the US Geological Survey.

Photo taken 2017/10/28

Shinsho-ji (Buddhist temple), Narita
Naritasan Shinshoji Temple

Buddhist temple
This Buddhist temple in Narita is said to be one of the biggest in Japan, it has a history going back over 1000 years.

Ken, with Adie on his back, and our host, Scott are on the left.

Photo taken 2017/10/28

Temple grounds
What apears to be a burial ground within the temple grounds.

Photo taken 2017/10/28

Temple buildings
Some of the main buildings of Shinsho-ji, the building in the centre seems to be the main temple. We went into it at, I think, 3pm to see a service.

Photo taken 2017/10/28

The interior of the main temple

The monks are aware of the impact of surprise. The services started with chanting and after maybe a quarter of an hour someone struck the big drum, hard. If anyone was dozing it certainly would have woken them quickly; I literally felt the shock-wave pass through my body.

Photo taken 2017/10/28

Temple building
One of the stranger buildings in Shinsho-ji; why it is elevated above the ground I don't know.

Photo taken 2017/10/28

Temple garden
Some of the gardens in the temple grounds

Photo taken 2017/10/28

Temple grounds
More of the temple grounds. How much time and effort must be put into trimming shrubs in Japanese gardens?

Photo taken 2017/10/28

Narita city centre

Like so many Japanese cities, Narita is a great place to just walk and see the sights, or eat a meal. I didn't do photographic justice to the city centre; perhaps I was running low on enthusiasm on the last part of the last day?

I note that the Japanese weather was true to form on our last day, raining again (I don't think it rained in the morning). Lucky we had those umbrellas.

By the way, it happened that I lost my umbrella at the temple. I left it outside when I entered and it wasn't there when I left.

I had previously lost an umbrella by leaving it on a train. It is fortunate that they are available for only around $6.

Photo taken 2017/10/28