Narita is a city located in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. It is the site of Narita International Airport, the main international airport serving the Greater Tokyo Area.
The area around present-day Narita has been inhabited since the Japanese Paleolithic period. Archaeologists have found stone tools dating to some 30,000 years ago on the site of Narita Airport. Numerous shell middens from the Jomon-era, and hundreds of burial tumuli from the Kofun-era have been found in numerous locations around Narita. Place names in the vicinity of Narita appear in the Nara-era Manyoshu (although the name “Narita” does not appear in written records until 1408). As Narita is located roughly equidistant from the Pacific Ocean and Tokyo Bay, around a number of small rivers, it was a natural political and commercial center for the region, and gained importance as a pilgrimage destination with the foundation of the noted Buddhist temple of Shinsho-ji in 940 AD. During the Heian-era, the area was a center for the revolt of Taira Masakado. During the Edo-era, the area continued to prosper as part of the tenryo within Shimosa Province under direct control of the Tokugawa shogunate.
After the Meiji Restoration, the area was organized as a town under Inba District on April 1, 1889. Portions of the town were destroyed by Allied air raids in February and May, 1945. On March 31, 1954, Narita gained city status through merger with the neighboring villages of Habu, Nakago, Kuzumi, Toyosumi, Toyama, and Kozu. Growth in the area began in earnest in 1966, when Prime Minister Eisaku Sato laid out the plan for Narita International Airport. The development of the airport and accompanying access to central Tokyo led to widespread residential, commercial and industrial development in the city. However, construction of the airport was widely opposed, and violent demonstrations occurred through the end of the 1960s and early 1970s, which delayed the opening of the airport until May 20, 1978.