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Nagoya Guide - The Best Things To Do, Food To Try, And Trip Itinerary

Nagoya Guide - The Best Things To Do, Food To Try, And Trip Itinerary

Nagoya 2019.02.18 Bookmark

Nagoya is one of Japan's largest and most famous cities. This guide introduces what to do, where to go, and what to eat, from spots like Nagoya Castle, Tokugawa Garden, and local cuisine. We also introduce a 1-day travel itinerary.

Translated by Amanda

Written by タグチ

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Nagoya, a Travel-Friendly City

Nagoya is Japan's third largest city after Tokyo and Osaka. It is located in the center of Japan, is the capital of Aichi Prefecture, and is the home to the headquarters of Toyota Motor Corporation.

The vicinity of Nagoya Station, the city's major railway station, has a modern look with its many skyscrapers, which were constructed during recent development. The close proximity between different travel destinations makes it easy to see multiple sightseeing spots in just one day.

This article lists some of the best places to visit, a model travel plan, and transportation information that you can refer to for your trip.

Table of Contents:

1. The Newly-Restored Palace at Nagoya Castle
2. Tokugawa Garden and Tokugawa Art Museum - Go Back in Time to the Samurai Era
3. Experience Toyota's Technology and History
4. See Nagoya TV Tower and Gaze at Nature
5. Visit the Future at Oasis 21
6. Gourmet, Fashion and Subcultures at Osu Shopping Street
7. Atsuta Shrine, a Spiritual Spot Amidst Nature
8. The World's Biggest Planetarium at Nagoya City Science Museum
9. Family-Friendly LEGOLAND JAPAN and SCMaglev and Railway Park
10. Experience Old Japan at Endoji Shopping Street and Shikemichia
11. Must-try Food In Nagoya!
12. Recommended Sightseeing Itinerary in Nagoya
13. Access from Major Cities to Nagoya

1. The Newly-Restored Palace at Nagoya Castle

名古屋

The symbolic Nagoya Castle is a well-known place in Nagoya. Make sure to look for the shiny golden statue, Shachihoko, the castle's guardien deity, on top of the castle's tower (tenshukaku(*1)).

The main castle tower is closed for reconstruction until 2022. However, other areas, like Honmanru Palace, which retains its 400-year-old design, and Kinshachi Yokocho, a street serving up local Nagoya cuisine that was completed in 2018, are very enjoyable and popular.

Honmaru Palace was the residence of the Owari Han(*2), a feudal domain that once governed the region. The audience chamber has been carefully restored and features extravagant Fusumae(*3) applied with gold paper, creating a gorgeous, luxurious sight. The beauty of Japanese painting and sculpture, art disciplines that prospered in during the time, will be reflected right before your eyes.

*1: Tenshukaku: The tallest structure of a castle. This is also serves as the symbol of the castle.
*2: Han: The estate of a feudal lord during Edo Period. Hanshu refers to the owner of the estate.
*3: Fusumae: Paintings on sliding door panels.

Nagoya Castle

Address: Aichi, Nagoya, Naka, Honmaru 1-1 Google Map
Access: 5-minute walk from Shiyakusho Station (Nagoya Municipal Subway Line)
Official Homepage: https://www.nagoyajo.city.nagoya.jp/13_english/index.html

2. Tokugawa Garden and Tokugawa Art Museum - Go Back in Time to the Samurai Era

徳川園

The Tokugawa Clan ruled Japan for 250 years around 400 years ago, helping put an end to a warring period in the country. The Owari-Tokugawa Family is a direct descendant of the clan that played a vital role in Nagoya's development. Tokugawa Garden was originally a grand garden, or Daimyo Teien(*4), which continues to be maintained today.

The garden is a fusion of natural and man-made landscapes, with rocks and streams scattered across the park, representing the natural scenery of Nagoya. You can also find restaurants and cafes remodeled from Meiji Period buildings. Some places offer seats where you can enjoy your meal with a view.

The Tokugawa Art Museum is on the same premises as the garden. The museum exhibits various articles inherited by the Owari-Tokugawa Family. You can find armor, helmets and katana swords, and even national treasures like the Genji Monogatari Emaki (*5).

*4: Daimyo Teien: A grand garden constructed at the residence of the feudal lord. The garden has rocks, ponds, and a bridge for guests to view.
*5: Genji Monogatari Emaki: A picture scroll of a scene based off the novel, Genji Monogatari, that was written in the Heian Period.

Tokugawa Garden

Address: Aichi, Nagoya, Higashi, Tokugawacho 1001 Google Map
Access: 15-minute walk from Ozone Station (JR Chuo Main Line, Nagoya Railroad Meitetsu Seto Line, Nagoya Municipal Subway Meijo Line)
Official Homepage: https://www.tokugawaen.aichi.jp/english/index.html

3. Experience Toyota's Technology and History

歴史的名所からハイテクミュージアムまで。名古屋で行くべき10のオススメスポット

Picture courtesy of Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology

The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology is a unique place to visit in Nagoya.

The museum building was originally built in 1918 and used to be a red brick factory. At the museum, you will find exhibits of inventions of Toyota's founder Sakichi Toyoda, like automatic looms. In fact, the company's roots actually lie in weaving machinery. Sakichi Toyoda's eldest son, Kiichiro Toyoda, inherited his father's spirit for manufacturing and helped create what Toyota Motor Corporation is today.

Toyota Motor Corporation has succeeded in producing high-performance domestic cars sold around the world. Guests can visit the Automobile Pavilion to view exhibits of Toyota cars from different eras, and learn about the manufacturing process.

Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology

Address: Aichi, Nagoya, Nishi, Noritakeshinmachi 4-1-35 Google Map
Access: 3-minute walk from Sako Station (Nagoya Railroad Meitetsu Nagoya Main Line)
Official Homepage: http://www.tcmit.org/english/

4. See Nagoya TV Tower and Gaze at Nature

名古屋テレビ塔

Nagoya TV Tower is located at the center of the bustling shopping street of Sakae in Nagoya.

The tower is in the corner of Hisaya Odori Park, which runs north-south in the middle of the street. The 100-meter tall Nagoya TV Tower is actually the first consolidated radio tower in Japan. The sky balcony provides a sweeping view of the city.

During weekends and national holidays, visitors can access the sky balcony by climbing all the way up using the railed staircase, providing good exercise. However, as the staircase is open to the outside, it is not recommended for people who are afraid of heights.

There are cafes and souvenir shops at the bottom of the tower where visitors can relax. The park area is also nice to stroll around in. *Operations will be closed starting from January 7, 2019 for renovation work and are planned to resume in July 2020.

Nagoya TV Tower

Address: Aichi, Nagoya, Naka, Nishiki 3-6-15 Google Map
Access: 3-minute walk from Hisaya-odori Station (Nagoya Municipal Subway Sakura-dori Line)
Official Homepage: http://www.nagoya-tv-tower.co.jp/

5. Visit the Future at Oasis 21

オアシス21夜景

Oasis 21 is an impressive building with a massive elliptical shaped roof. It is located to the eastern side of Nagoya TV Tower. You can find shops and a bus terminal at the basement and a green lawn at the top, creating a space that is like an urban oasis. There is also a tourist information office inside.

The unique elliptical shaped roof is called the Spaceship-Aqua. Water flows on its glass surface, which visitors can walk on top of. At night, the area is illuminated with LED lights. It is fun to admire the magical night view of the city and to take photos here.

Oasis 21

Address: Aichi, Nagoya, Higashi, Higashi Sakura 1-11-11 Google Map
Access: Directly connected to Sakae Station (Nagoya Municipal Subway Higashiyama Line and Meijo Line)
Official Homepage: https://www.sakaepark.co.jp/en/

6. Gourmet, Fashion and Subcultures at Osu Shopping Street

大須商店街夜

Osu Kannon is a temple that was relocated to its current site by the first fuedal lord of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu. Built around Osu Kannon is Osu Shopping Street, a shopping district where you can find all kinds of shops selling all sorts of items, from food to entertainment.

Many shops here specialize in boutique brands, vintage clothing, or avant-garde fashion items, making it an ideal shopping destination for finding unique apparel.

Moreover, restaurants serving cuisines from countries all over the world such as Brazil, Turkey, and Taiwan are here. You can also find traditional Japanese confectioneries and picture-worthy sweets. Some must-try delicacies include Nagoya’s signature confectionery, Uiro(*5) from Osu Uiro, and sweet roasted Tianjin chestnuts from Imaisohonke.

Similar to Akihabara in Tokyo and Osaka’s Nipponbashi, Osu Shopping Street is also known as an "electric town" and has many shops relating to Japanese subcultures. This is the place to go if you are looking for maid cafes, anime, and figurines.

*5: Uiro: Traditional Japanese confectionery made from rice flour and sugar. It has a chewy texture.

Osu Shopping Street

Address: Aichi, Nagoya, Naka, Osu Google Map
Access: Osu Kannon Station (Nagoya Municipal Subway Tsurumai Line)
Official Homepage: http://inbound.nagoya-osu.com/en/

7. Atsuta Shrine, a Spiritual Spot Amidst Nature

熱田神宮本殿

Picture courtesy of Atsuta Shrine

Atsuta Shrine, also known as Atsuta-san by locals, is a shrine with 1,900 years of history. This shrine houses one of Japan's sanshu no jingi(*7): the Kusanagi Sword. We recommend picking up a map at the entrance of the shrine, as the shrine yard is large.

Here you will find several smaller Shinto shrines, a treasure repository, and shops selling kishimen noodles, a signature Nagoya dish. Visitors can enjoy a different side of Nagoya while walking through the row of trees thought to be over one thousand years old.

*7: Sanshu no jingi: The three sacred treasures of Japan are believed to have been gifted by the emperor's ancestors and Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess. The treasure consists of a sword, a mirror, and a jewel. These items were handed down to the succeeding emperor as a proof of succession to the throne. Today, the sword is at Atsuta Shrine, the mirror is at Ise Grand Shrine and the jewel is at the Imperial Palace.

Atsuta Shrine

Address: Aichi, Nagoya, Atsuta, Jingu 1-1-1 Google Map
Access: 3-minute walk from Jingu-mae Station (Meitetsu Line)
Official Homepage: https://www.atsutajingu.or.jp/en/intro/

8. The World's Biggest Planetarium at Nagoya City Science Museum

プラネタリウム

The Nagoya City Science Museum is famous for having the world's biggest planetarium. The museum is a fun learning facility where you can study about the earth and science. The planetarium is in the Guinness Book of Records for its diameter of 35 meters. It features a screening of a highly realistic starry sky and introduces interesting facts about the universe.

Visitors can also see an artificial tornado, electrical discharge, and visit the Deep Freezing Lab for a simulation of the polar regions at negative 30 degrees celsius. These are entertaining ways for both children and adults to learn science.

Nagoya City Science Museum

Address: Aichi, Nagoya, Naka, Sakae 2-17-1, Shirakawa Garden Google Map
Access: 5-minute walk from Fushimi Station (Nagoya Municipal Subway Higashiyama Line and Tsurumai Line)
Official Homepage: http://www.ncsm.city.nagoya.jp/en/index.html

9. Family-Friendly LEGOLAND JAPAN and SCMaglev and Railway Park

名古屋

Picture courtesy of SCMaglev and Railway Park

Nagoya also has attractions ideal for families. Take the Aonami Line from Nagoya Station to Kinjo-futo Station for 24 minutes (350 yen). Here you will find LEGOLAND JAPAN, Japan's first Legoland park, and SCMaglev and Railway Park, a museum introducing Japan's high-speed railway.

LEGOLAND JAPAN's replica of Nagoya's cityscape at Lego Town and lego block-shaped snacks allow visitors to enjoy the imaginative world of lego. SEA LIFE Nagoya is an aquarium and a hotel that is connected to the park.

The SCMaglev and Railway Park is a museum operated by the Central Japan Railway Company, JR Tokai. Visitors here can see actual bullet trains and electric trains. The train driving simulator and linear simulation of a train running at 500 kilometers per hour is sure to be exciting for children of all ages.

LEGOLAND JAPAN

Address: Aichi, Nagoya, Minato, Kinjofuto 2-2-1 Google Map
Access: 5-minute walk from Kinjo-futo Station (Aonami Line)
Official Homepage: https://www.legoland.jp/en/

SCMaglev and Railway Park

Address: Aichi, Nagoya, Minato, Kinjofuto 3-2-2 Google Map
Access: 2-minute walk from Kinjo-futo Station (Aonami Line)
Official Homepage: http://museum.jr-central.co.jp/en/

10. Experience Old Japan at Endoji Shopping Street and Shikemichi

名古屋

Endoji Shopping Street

名古屋

The Streets Of Shikemichi

Endoji Shopping Street and Shikemichi are historical shopping districts with traditional townscapes. This area is a 10 to 15-minute walk from Nagoya Station.

Endoji Shopping Street is filled with old shops and is often used for filming movies. It is particularly popular for having an interesting theater and a bouldering center.

Shikemichi has historical houses and warehouses with distinctive black colored walls which have survived severe damage from the war. In recent years, these buildings have been remodeled into cafes and restaurants. However, Shikemichi is also a residential neighborhood, so please be polite as you explore the area.

Endoji Shopping Street

Address: Aichi, Nagoya, Nishi, Nagono Google Map

Shikemichi

Address: Aichi, Nagoya, Nishi, Nagono 1-36-36 Google Map

Must-try Food In Nagoya!

Unique Miso Dishes: Miso Katsu and Misonikomi Udon

味噌カツ

Miso Katsu

Nagoya has a unique food culture compared to other areas in Japan. In particular, Nagoya is known for dishes which use red miso, such as miso katsu, and misonikomi udon.

Different than other types of miso, red miso is made from a larger quantity of soybeans fermented over a longer period of time.

Although it has a deep color, it has a mild taste. It is suitable for recipes such as stews and miso soup, as it is capable of retaining its flavor even after cooking.

Miso katsu is a deep-fried pork cutlet dish covered in red miso sauce. It is a common dish, found at almost every restaurant and cafe in Nagoya. There are also specialty shops such as Yabaton, a popular miso katsu chain conveniently located in Nagoya Station and Chubu Centrair International Airport.

味噌煮込みうどん

Misonikomi udon is a popular stew type of dish with thick noodles, vegetables, and chicken in red miso paste. It is served piping hot. The chewy noodles and strong miso flavor pair deliciously together. Yamamotoya Sohonke is a long-established store with many locations in the city.

Indulge in Hitsumabushi in Different Ways

ひつまぶし

Eel is a popular Japanese food. Hitsumabushi is a local cuisine of Nagoya. It is a rice dish topped with sliced grilled eel brushed with sauce. People in Nagoya have an original way of enjoying this dish.

Hitsumabushi is served in a similar way as unadon (eel rice bowl) and unaju (broiled eel served over rice in a lacquered box). However, it comes with condiments like spring onions and wasabi, and a serving of dashi. Adjust the flavors by adding on condiments, and the dashi can be used to enjoy the eel as ochazuke (rice with tea). With so many different ways to enjoy hitsumabushi, it is hard to tire of this interesting dish.

Atsuta Horaiken Main Store, a reputable restaurant famous for their hitsumabushi, is in front of Atsuta Shrine is

Pasta with a Hearty Sauce: Ankake Spaghetti

あんんかけスパ

Ankake Spaghetti is a signature Nagoya dish that is features a unique take on Italian cuisine.

After being boiled, the spaghetti is fried with oil and topped with a thick tomato sauce. This filling dish is full of flavor. You can also pick different toppings for the spaghetti like sausages, vegetables, and fried fish.

Nagoya's Sweets: Ogura Toast

名古屋

Ogura toast is toast topped with sweet red adzuki beans. Many cafes in Nagoya offer morning service, during which you can enjoy breakfast. Order a drink and you will receive complimentary items such as toast and eggs. A classic menu item is ogura toast.

Other classic Nagoya dishes include tebasaki, deep-fried chicken wings with sweet and spicy sauce, kishimen, broad and flat noodles served in dashi-flavored shoyu (soy sauce) soup, and Taiwan Ramen, noodles with ground pork, stir-fried with garlic and red peppers. Nagoya is a city filled with an abundance of gourmet food to choose from.

Recommended Sightseeing Itinerary in Nagoya

名古屋

Me-guru, Picture courtesy of Nagoya Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Me-guru Nagoya Sightseeing Route Bus is a convenient way to visit many popular tourist spots in Nagoya. A one-day pass costs 500 yen.

Places such as Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, Shikemichi, Nagoya Castle, Tokugawa Garden, Nagoya TV Tower and Oasis 21 are all included on the bus route. One-day passes are available for purchase on Me-guru busses.

You can board the bus at Nagoya Station Bus Terminal Bus Stop No. 11 at Nagoya Station.

One Day Sightseeing Course With Me-guru Sightseeing Bus

Breakfast
Enjoy morning service at a cafe in Nagoya Station's underground shopping center.
Morning
Learn about the Toyota company at Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology.
Lunch
Take a walk around Shikemichi and have lunch at a restaurant inside the renovated traditional Japanese houses.
Afternoon
Visit Nagoya Castle and explore Tokugawa Garden.
Night
Take a commemorative photo at Oasis 21 and view the cityscape at night.
Dinner
From Sakae Station, visit the bustling shopping district and have your fill of local cuisine, like misonikomi udon.

The places introduced in this article will allow you to enjoy a comprehensive tour of Nagoya in one day. If you are visiting for two to three days, you can see the city at a more relaxed pace and try more regional specialties.

Me-guru Nagoya Sightseeing Route Bus https://www.nagoya-info.jp/routebus/

Access from Major Cities to Nagoya

Tokyo to Nagoya

新幹線

The most convenient way to get from Tokyo to Nagoya is by bullet train. Take the Nozomi bullet train from Tokyo Station and you will arrive at Nagoya Station in approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes (reserved seating for 11,290 yen).

There are also flights between Haneda Airport and Chubu Centrair International Airport. However, it takes about an hour to travel from Chubu Centrair International Airport to Nagoya Station by train. A more efficient and inexpensive option is taking a night express bus from Tokyo and arriving at Nagoya the next morning.

From Osaka to Nagoya

There are many ways to get from Osaka to Nagoya. If you take the Nozomi bullet train from Shin Osaka Station, you can arrive at Nagoya in approximately 50 minutes (reserved seating for 6,760 yen).

For private railway transport, the limited express Urban Liner connects Osaka-Namba Station and Kintetsu-Nagoya Station. This takes about 2 hours (4,260 yen).

There are also many express bus services operating between Nagoya and Osaka. It takes around 3 hours to arrive in Nagoya.

Travel to Nagoya!

Nagoya developed as a city around Nagoya Castle more than 400 years ago. Today, it is known for its manufacturing and helps supports Japan's development.

The history and culture of Nagoya can be experienced at the sightseeing spots introduced in this article. We believe that you will make many new discoveries exploring this fascinating city!

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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