Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Nagoya Day Tour - Famous Places And Excellent Local Food
Written by Hirakawa
Nagoya is the largest city in central Japan and boasts many fabulous places to visit, including Nagoya Castle and the futuristic Oasis 21. We introduce a day tour of Nagoya recommended especially to first-time visitors who may have a hard time deciding where to go.
Nagoya - A Major City in Central Japan
Nagoya is the largest city in Aichi Prefecture. It is one of the major travel destinations in central Japan (Chubu Region), as the city can be reached easily via Centrair (Chubu International Airport), and also by Shinkansen and highway buses.
Nagoya is as exciting as Tokyo or Osaka in regards to sightseeing, shopping, and dining. This article introduces a one-day tour of Nagoya, covering the prominent places to visit. The city has a well developed subway network so first-time visitors need not to worry about how to get from one place to another.
Donichi Eco Kippu, a one-day ticket good usable on the subway and buses.
A wise way to move around in Nagoya is by using convenient one-day tickets. For this article, MATCHA chose a ticket issued by the City of Nagoya Transportation Bureau.
Donichi Eco Kippu (or Weekend Eco Ticket; adults 600 yen, children 300 yen), which allows unlimited rides on the subway and bus, can be purchased on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and every month on the 8th. There is also a 24-hour subway ticket, allowing unlimited rides for a day (adults 740 yen, children 370 yen).
- 7:00 - A Nagoya-Style Breakfast at Komeda's Coffee
- 9:00 - Nagoya Castle, the City's Icon
- 10:20 - Atsuta Jingu - A Sacred Place Surrounded by a Forest
- 11:50 - Lunch at Yabaton
- 12:55 - Osu Shopping District: Shopping and Local Cuisine
- 14:40 - Sakae District: A Shopper's Heaven
- 17:30 - Oasis 21 - A Spaceship in the Metropolis
- 18:40 - Sekai no Yamachan: Tasty Chicken Wings for a Treat
7:00 - A Nagoya-Style Breakfast at Komeda's Coffee
Many visitors to Japan lament that there are few eateries open in the early morning hours. But in Nagoya, that is not the case, as cafes in this city serve morning sets.
Morning sets are a breakfast menu, complete with a drink. The cafes in the area offer various types of morning sets.
Komeda's Coffee main store. Picture courtesy of KOMEDA Holdings Co., Ltd.
Komeda's Coffee is a famous chain store. The Nagoya-based company was established in 1968, and has branched out to all around Japan. Most of the Komeda's Coffee stores in the vicinity of Nagoya Station open at 7:00.
Morning set: toast and hard-boiled egg. Picture courtesy of KOMEDA Holdings Co., Ltd.
Komeda's morning set consists of a drink, toast, and a warm hard-boiled egg. Instead of an egg, customers can also choose egg paste or Ogura-an, the latter being a Nagoya specialty. The morning set ends at 11:00.
A set of toast and Ogura-an (sweet adzuki bean paste). Picture courtesy of KOMEDA Holdings Co., Ltd.
Komeda offers a wide variety of dishes, such as sandwiches, salads, and confectionery.
Shiro Noir (650 yen with tax*) is a very popular original menu. Soft-serve ice cream is placed on top of a warm Danish pastry, which is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Top it off with syrup, and it becomes even tastier.
Komeda's Coffee stores can be found all around Nagoya, from Nagoya Station to the Sakae district. These cafes are the ideal place to take a break during a sightseeing tour of the city.
* Please note that the price differs depending on the store.
Morning set service: From the opening hours to 11:00.
Official website: http://www.komeda.co.jp/index_en.php
9:00 - Nagoya Castle, the City's Icon
Nearest Station: Shiyakusho Station (Meijo Subway Line)
Picture courtesy of Nagoya Castle
Our tour starts at Nagoya Castle, the symbol of the city. The castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1868). It's distinctive feature is the golden shachihoko placed on top of the tower keep. The shachihoko is a mythical animal, with a head of a tiger and the body of a fish, guarding the castle. Two shachihokos are placed at both ends of the roof.
The tower keep is currently closed, and scheduled to reopen in 2022. So let's take a look at the Hommaru Palace near the keep.
Picture courtesy of Nagoya Castle
Hommaru Palace was the residence of the ruler of the province in the Edo Period, and was also used as the headquarters of the entire feudal domain. The current building was reconstructed meticulously, employing techniques of the time the castle was first built.
The paintings on the walls and fusuma (sliding doors) are the highlights of the palace. They were restored by referring to the original paintings which survived the air raids of 1945. Be sure to appreciate the intricate sculpting on the ceiling and the ranma (the carved wooden panel above the sliding doors), as well.
© 2009 Nagoya Omotenashi Busho-Tai Secretariat
During the castle tour, look for a Sengoku busho (army general of the Warring States Period in the 14th to 15th century). Members of the Nagoya Omotenashi Busho-Tai ® will be on site to greet the tourists.
There will also be a procession of the warriors and a twice-a-day martial arts demonstration on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
Picture courtesy of JAPAN Property Management Inc.
After visiting the castle, drop by Kinshachi Yokocho, an alley lined with restaurants.
This area consists of the Yoshinao Zone, which features twelve stores serving Nagoya specialties, and Muneharu Zone, with seven stores on the east-gate side.
10:20 Atsuta Jingu - A Sacred Place Surrounded by a Forest
* From Shiyakusho Station, take the Meijo Subway Line to Jingu Nishi Station.
Picture courtesy of Atsuta Jingu
Our next stop is also a historic site. Atsuta Jingu is a shrine with more than 1,900 years of history, displaying Kusanagi no Tsurugi, one of Japan's three sacred treasures. The legend goes that Amaterasu Omikami, the deity depicted in Japanese mythology as the ancestor of the Japanese Imperial Family, brought these treasures to ancient Japan.
Picture courtesy of Atsuta Jingu
The sacred tree on the shrine grounds, which is said to be more than one thousand years old, exudes a mystic atmosphere, adding to the serene atmosphere of the site.
There are smaller shrines on the grounds, such as the Hakken-gu, visited by the samurai in the Warring States Period to pray before battles, and Kamichikama Jinja, where students come to pray for successful entrance examinations.
The Homotsukan (treasure hall) houses over 6,000 items including swords, Japanese mirrors, ancient documents, and masks worn by performers of Bugaku, a traditional ceremonial dance. There are national treasures and important cultural assets on display. The exhibitions change every month.
Address: Nagoya, Atsuta, Jingu 1-1-1 Google Map
Three minute walk from Jingumae Station (Meitetsu Railway).
Seven minute walk from Jingu Nishi Station (Meijo Subway Line).
Eight minute walk from JR Atsuta Station.
Official Site: https://www.atsutajingu.or.jp/en/intro/
11:50 - Lunch at Yabaton
* From Jingu Nishi Station, take the Meijo Subway Line to Yaba-cho Station.
Yabaton main store with its mascot, Buchan. Picture courtesy of Yabaton
Several Japanese dishes originated in Nagoya. Misokatsu, a tonkatsu (pork cutlet) topped with thick miso sauce, is such an example. Yabaton, which specializes in misokatsu, created this menu.
Teppan tonkatsu and kushikatsu. Picture courtesy of Yabaton
Teppan Tonkatsu (1,404 yen with tax) is a popular menu. It consists of crispy tonkatsu laid on top of cabbage, and served on a hot platter with a generous helping of miso sauce. This dish can be ordered as a set menu, which comes with rice and miso soup.
Kushikatsu, the prototype of misokatsu, is another popular dish since the opening of Yabaton. Customers can choose the type of pork, which can be either loin or fillet.
Yabaton, Yaba-cho Main Store
12:55 - Osu Shopping District: Shopping and Local Cuisine
* Three minute walk from Yabaton.
After a short walk from Yabaton, the entrance to the Osu Shopping District will come into view. The district consists of nine shopping streets with more than 1,200 stores, including apparel and accessories stores, eateries, and confectionery.
There are stores serving confectionery and snacks, and also a 100-yen store handling cute items. The main office of KOMEHYO, a recycled-goods shop that handles high-end fashion brands, cameras, and watches, is also located in Osu.
The eateries are open until the late hours, but please keep in mind that most confectionery stores close around 19:00.
At the roots of the Osu district stands the temple known as Osu Kannon. This temple was relocated to its current grounds in 1612 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, from a village which is now located in Gifu. After the relocation, a settlement formed around the temple.
A statue of the Kannon, the bodhisattva of mercy, is enshrined in the main hall of the temple. This is one of the three main Kannon statues in Japan. Fairs are held on the 18th and 28th every month, and street stalls line up on the temple grounds from 6:00 to 18:00.
Osu Shopping District
14:40 - Sakae District: A Shopper's Heaven
* Take a short walk from Osu Shopping District, or ride the Meijo Subway Line from Kamimaezu Station to Sakae Station.
After visiting the Osu Shopping District, head back to Yabaton, and cross the street. Now you are in the Sakae district, where department stores and famous fashion brand shops are gathered.
Sky-Boat, a Ferris wheel rising to 52 meters, is the symbol of the area. It stands by Sunshine Sakae, a shopping mall which also houses the theater of pop idol group SKE 48. Don Quijote, a famous discount store, is located across the street. At night, neon signs light up the area filled with pedestrians.
Fashion brand stores such as Onitsuka Tiger, Nike, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes, are lined up along the street. Yodobashi Camera, a large electrical appliance store, is also located in Sakae.
Address: Nagoya, Naka, Sakae Google Map
17:30 - Oasis 21- A Spaceship in the Metropolis
The glass roof of Oasis 21 is another landmark of Sakae. Many people gather in the evening to take photographs here.
Nagoya TV Tower, located nearby, is currently closed due to renovations and scheduled to reopen in 2020. Those who hope take photographs of both Oasis 21 and the tower should drop by while it is still light.
The oval roof, also known as Spaceship-Aqua, is an eye-catching structure. A pathway surrounds the pool of water on the roof, allowing the visitors to view Nagoya from fourteen meters above the ground.
This facility consists of a bus terminal and various restaurants. It is also connected to Central Park, a shopping mall on the basement floor, which leads to the main train stations in the area.
18:40 - Sekai no Yamachan - Tasty Chicken Wings for a Treat
Picture on the right: Twenty servings (100 pieces) of chicken wings. Picture courtesy of Sekai no Yamachan Kinsan-otsu Store
Tebasaki (chicken wings) is a Nagoya specialty, so the last stop of our tour is Sekai no Yamachan, a restaurant serving Maboroshi no Tebasaki. There are more than thirty Yamachan stores in Nagoya. The brand itself is well known also in Thai, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.
MATCHA visited the Kinsan-otsu store, which is located at a five minute walking distance from Oasis 21.
Picture courtesy of Sekai no Yamachan Kinsan-otsu Store
Maboroshi no Tebasaki is served with a secret sauce seasoned with pepper, which has been handed down from the opening of the store. There are five pieces in one serving, and while some people may think it's too much, believe us that the wings will be gone in an instant.
Kurotebasaki is another popular menu, with three pieces in one serving.
Picture courtesy of Sekai no Yamachan Kinsan-otsu Store
Yamachan offers many other dishes besides tebasaki. Their menus are available in English, Thai, Traditional Chinese, and Korean.
Sekai no Yamachan Kinsan-otsu Store
Address: Nagoya, Naka, Nishiki 3-15-1 Google Map
Access: Two minute walk from Exit 2 of Sakae Station (Higashiyama and Meijo Subway Lines) or Exit 3 of Hisaya-odori Station (Sakura-dori and Meijo Subway Lines).
Official website: http://www.yamachan.co.jp/english/index.php
Enjoy a Casual One-day Tour of Nagoya!
And that brings us to the end of our laid-back one-day tour, filled with historic spots, shopping, picturesque landmarks, and delicious food. If there is a particular spot that caught your eye, do visit and spend some time there.
Nagoya has a dependable transportation system, so even first-time visitors should feel at ease. Do visit the vibrant city of Nagoya!