Nagoya Travel Information
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Introduction || History || Climate || Attractions || Museums || Annual Events || Itineraries || Dining || Transportation || Map Of Nagoya
Introduction
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Nagoya is located at the heart of central Japan, some 1,5 hours by train south of Tokyo. Some of the scenic areas of the region include Nobi Plain, and the Omo River valley. As the nucleus of this central area, Nagoya, with its population of more than 2.15 million, is one of Japan's major cities, and an important industrial and cultural center. The main sight in town is undoubtedly the Nagoya Castle, famous for the golden dolphins adorning its rooftop, was constructed in 1612 and a new castle town formed. Nagoya is actively preparing for a future in which lifestyle, technology, and culture work together to create a harmonious environment.

The nearby Shikemichi quarter is well worth a visit. Its history dates back to the days of commodities merchants of the 18th century. Old warehouses, private homes, temples and shrines remain to this day.Downtown Nagoya is bustling and busy. It's a good place for shopping but it often leaves the visitor out of breath. The Hisaya Odori Park is the place to head for then. It consists of a series of parks in the downtown area and it's great for relaxing a bit.

Osu is perfect for shopping or to visit one of the many museums in the area. The last sight not to be missed is the Atsuta Shrine. One of the three major shrines in Japan along with Ise and Meiji. Atsuta Shrine houses the Kusanagi (grass-mowing) Sword, one of the three Sacred Treasures of the Imperial Family.Sakae is a busy shopping area, and recently has added a new Apple store, for those in need of a little free internet.

This is a city almost unique in China, and has been recently voted the prettiest and cleanest city in the country. Xiamen is certainly amongst the most pleasant places in China, with a fine mix of city, cultural and beach attractions. Located on the south coast in Fujian Province, Xiamen is built on an island almost opposite Taiwan.

Nagoya, Japan's fourth-largest city, isn't a traditional tourist destination, but it has a number of worthwhile sights, some good restaurants and places to shop. In spirit, this major industrial centre, the capital of Aichi-ken, feels like a scaled-down, less breakneck-paced Tokyo. The English-language signs dotted throughout the city make it easy to get around. Some of the most interesting restaurants, shops and nightspots can be found in the Sakae entertainment district. Nagoya is also a convenient hub for day trips in central Honshū.

Living up to what is expected of Japan’s fourth largest city, Nagoya offers travelers a wide range of accommodations from penthouse suites to communal rooms, with just enough in between to satisfy everyone else. The main business and tourist areas offer accommodations for a variety of pocketbooks, with the Nagoya Station and Fushimi areas offering the greatest number and diversity of hotels. However, be aare that in Japan room prices are determined more by the number of people staying in the room rather than by the number of beds. Another thing to remember is that although the number of visitors to Nagoya does not approach that of Tokyo, the city is the hub of Japan’s third major commercial and industrial region--so it is prudent to reserve accommodation in advance.

At the top of the scale is the Takashimaya, the city’s top department store, and some of Nagoya's finest restaurants. And it offers a view of the city that only a structure of its magnitude can provide. Next on the list is the long-standing favorite in the Fushimi area, the Hotel Century Hyatt Nagoya, which offers only doubles and suites. These three hotels are all conveniently located near to all the local attractions. Rooms start from about JPY25,000 and range upwards of JYP100,000 for those considerably more well-heeled.

In Nagoya, like in any other big city, you will get what you pay for, granted in a smaller portion. As in the rest of Japan, space is at a premium, rendering rooms slightly smaller than their Western counterparts, but the services that you will receive from the hotel staff more than make up for the lack of space. As the Japanese word for guest is a highly revered term, you will never be confused as to who is being served.

Stepping down one notch to the medium-priced hotels, you may find them lacking in the lavish amenities of their cousins, but services only slightly change. The Nagoya Sakae Tokyu Inn are included in this middle-of-the-road group and begin around JPY11,000 for a single. Slightly cheaper, but with an excellent range of services and facilities, is the Nagoya Station Hotel. These hotels do not offer many amenities nor do they have English-speaking staff, but they are clean and safe. Most business hotels also have a restaurant that serves the three essential meals that all travelers need. And breakfast usually gives you the option of eating bacon and eggs or trying local or Asian cuisine.

On the distant end of the spectrum are the youth hostels. Like any city in the world, Nagoya also has its variety of these cheap and convenient places to stay. Designed for the traveler on a limited budget, or those just looking for a bit more adventure, youth hostels are a favorite with college-age tourists. Ranging in price from JPY2,000 to around JPY4,000, hostels offer clean though Spartan, adequate sleeping space. Although the staff may not be much good at speaking English, or any other foreign language for that matter, many of the patrons will be more than willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. Nagoya features hostels near the main train stations as well as near points of interest for foreign travelers.

All visitors to Japan should experience at least one night in a ryokan, or traditional inn. Ryokans can be large, modern concrete structures with banqueting halls, shopping facilities and enormous baths or they can be small, ancient wooden buildings with baths that are just big enough to accommodate a few people at a time. If you are short of time and traveling on a limited budget, you could try Gizan Ryokan

Most descriptions of Nagoya fail to capture the atmosphere of the place. Always mentioned are its wide thoroughfares and world-class industries. Also noted is that it is centrally located and serves as a crossroads for the nation. And, despite being the fourth largest city in Japan in terms of population, as well as the nucleus of the third largest metropolitan area in the nation, it has a reputation for being conservative and provincial and, as a result, is often the butt of jokes in the media.

Residents here, however, know Nagoya as a pleasant place to live, with many of the conveniences and advantages of a major city, while offering relatively easy and quick access to the countryside. Forests, mountains and beaches are all within an hour or two's travel either by public transportation or private vehicle. While it may lack some of the glamor of other major cities in Japan, Nagoya offers the international visitor an excellent look at both modern and traditional Japan.

The region where Nagoya is located is known as an industrial powerhouse, supplying the world with automobiles, machinery, aerospace parts and a wide variety of other products. This is illustrated in the fact that the Port of Nagoya, while not the largest in Japan, perennially handles the largest volume of international cargo of any port in the nation.

That does not mean, however, that the city is a barren industrial wasteland. Right in the middle of the city is one of Japan's oldest and most important shrines, Atsuta Jingu, surrounded by 1,000-year-old evergreens. The city also boasts Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens, one of the largest zoos in Asia, which easily requires at least a day to explore completely. Even the city's main shopping district is graced with several tree-lined boulevards.

Many of the city's dynamic business and shopping areas are located downtown, concentrated along the axes of the Higashiyama and Meijo subway lines, with Nagoya Station and Sakae forming a nucleus for the city. Nagoya Station is served by the Shinkansen, Japan Railways, and the Meitetsu and Kintetsu railroad lines, as well as the Higashiyama and Sakura-dori subway lines. The station's most conspicuous landmark is the brand-new, 64-story JR Central Towers building, the largest building in Japan, which houses a Takashimaya Department Store and the Nagoya Marriott Associa Hotel. Numerous hotels, department stores, movie theaters, business offices and underground shopping malls also dot the area. Nearby are the Nagoya Nagoya International Center and the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. Development of the business and shopping district of Sakae took off when the city's first subway line was completed between it and Nagoya Station in 1957. In the decades since, Sakae has been the city's premier shopping spot with the "big 3-M"

Nagoya is very historical place. Located in the central Japan. Very easy to go to Tokyo or Osaka. Only a couple of hours away by train.
Nagoya has a great food such as tebasaki, misonikomi, misokatsu, kishimen, hitsumabushi, uirou and more. Nagoya isn't big compare to Tokyo or Osaka but people are nice, easy to see the city, easy to go shopping, pretty much everything is in the center of nagoya.Summer is very humid but in the buildings are just fine. You might feel a little bit cold in the subway.

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History
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Pre-20th-Century History

Nagoya rose to power as a castle town in Japan's feudal age. Three of Japan's great historical heroes, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, were born here or nearby; Tokugawa Ieyasu built the castle Nagoya-jō from 1610 to 1614 for one of his sons.

Modern History

Not much of the past remains. During WWII, the city was mostly destroyed by US aerial bombing, which also ruined most of Nagoya-jō. In the decades afterward, Nagoya became a leading example of Japan's phoenixlike rise from the ashes, establishing itself as a high-technology centre in automobiles, aviation, machine tools, fine ceramics and robotics manufacture, as well as a major production centre for Japan's furniture and textile industries.

Recent History

Nagoya continues to claim an idiosyncratic position among Japanese cities, being both an industrial powerhouse and a relatively pleasant, open city. March 2000 saw the opening of Nagoya station, known locally as Meieki, a city in itself with shops, restaurants, hotels and observation decks in two gleaming towers. It's the city's most useful landmark

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Climate
Temperature (average ° C)
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From April to October Nagoya is usually fairly warm or hot, but from November all the way to March a definite chill creeps in, with temperatures regularly falling below 10°C (50°F).

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Attractions
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Nagoya Castle . Trumpeted as a famous landmark, particularly the two golden carp on the roof, but in truth recently rebuilt in concrete. The inside is an interesting enough museum (no flash photography on 1st floor), observation deck, and the gardens surrounding it, nothing special. ¥500 for entry. To get there by subway, take the Meijo line and get off at Shiyakusho station. If you've seen other Japanese castles, you can safely give it a miss.

Kanazawa Castle

When Buddhist monks controlled the region, this was the site of their "military temple." Destroyed by a huge fire in 1881, the castle was nestled between the Saikawa and Asano rivers. It is significant because the Maeda family occupied it for fourteen generations when it was the headquarters of the Kaga clan, beginning with the first ruler, Lord Toshiie Maeda, who started ruling in 1583. The vestiges of the castle that survive include the moat, the imposing stone walls and the Ishikawa Gate. Admission is free.

Myoryu-ji Temple

Commonly known as Ninja-dera, it is interesting to note that it was ingeniously built [in 1643] around a central well. One story about Myoryu-ji that explains the unusual architecture is that the lords used it en route to visit the geisha in the western precincts. Flight from the 22 rooms was possible because of the 29 staircases! Do not overlook the trick doors, the washi paper-lined steps (so that unwelcome "guests" could be heard), and the ritual suicide (seppuku) chamber, the one room lacking a staircase.

Shima Geisha House

The local government designated the Higashi area as an entertainment quarter in 1820. Several of the buildings are now restaurants or inns, but because of preservation efforts one can get an idea of feudal times by strolling down the street. Notice the characteristic latticework on the facing of the old geisha houses. The Shima Geisha House's interior is open to the visitors. The two-story house includes a tearoom, private reception rooms and a courtyard garden.

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Uhoin Temple

In the midst of a commercial city center is the pretty Uhoin temple. Born in Kanazawa in 1889, Saisei Muro, the novelist-poet, was adopted by the priest and grew up here. He helped to rebuild the temple which was devastated by a flood in 1922. Some of his personal effects are displayed. Do not overlook the stone marker on the grounds which was put in place during a famine in 1827. The inscription tells us that the temple would provide refuge for hungry or neglected children.

Port of Nagoya Garden Pier

A uniquely-designed Port Building with a 57-meter-tall observatory and museum, cruises allow visitors to view firsthand the harbor that perennially handles the greatest volume of international cargo of any port in Japan. Within walking distance are a modern aquarium, a moored Antarctic exploration ship open as a museum, and an amusement park, as well as various shopping and dining facilities. Various events, including semiannual fireworks displays, are also held here.

Nagoya TV Tower

Located in the very center of the city and standing 180 meters tall, this tower is one of the city’s most visible modern landmarks and features observation decks that provide spectacular views of central Japan. Built in 1954, this tower was the first multipurpose television transmission tower in Japan and continues today to transmit TV programs for a number of different broadcasting companies. It also houses coffee and souvenir shops.

Port of Nagoya Aquarium

One of the newest and largest aquariums in Japan, this one divides its aquatic life into five different ecosystems representative of the Pacific Ocean. Also involved in scientific research, including the breeding of sea turtles and other aquatic life, the aquarium’s natural exhibits are heavily supported with multimedia displays. The underwater tunnel and the penguin exhibit are especially popular. The aquarium is located at the port’s Garden Pier along with many other attractions.

Atsuta Jinja

If you have already seen the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and the Ise Shrines in Mie, a visit to Atsuta Jinja will complete your tour of the three most sacred sites in Japan. An ancient, Japanese prince's sword (kusanagi) is housed here. The shrine itself is modest, but the approach lined with cypress trees merits a visit in itself. Other national treasures are on display at an on-site museum.

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Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Landmark Nature Area;3-70 Higashiyama-Motomachi Nagoya, 464-0804;Nearest Train: Higashiyama Koen Station;Phone: +81 52 782 2111;Fax: +81 52 782 2140; A sprawling sanctuary with one of the largest zoos in Asia, botanical gardens, and an amusement park, established before World War II, the zoo has an impressive pedigree. Traditional favorites include lions, tigers and bears as well as elephants and giraffes. Also popular are a koala exhibit and tiny medaka tropical fish that flew on the space shuttle with one of Japan’s astronauts. The recently built Higashiyama Sky Tower, with observation decks and a restaurant 100 meters off the ground, offers a panoramic view of the area.

Yamashiro Onsen (White Mountain)-White Mountain Hot Springs

Ranpu no Yado Noroshi
Misaki-Machi, Suzu-shi, Ishikawa-ken 927-14

Phone: +81 76 886 2136

Situated 300km from Nagoya, Yamashiro Onsen meaning "White Mountain" is renown for the picturesque hot springs that flow into ornate cedar bathtubs. The property of the Nagai family for nearly four centuries, Yamashiro Onsen is currently owned by the Goldman Sachs Group. For years the moss garden and delicate teahouse made it a favorite among Japan's imperial family. JR and Meitetsu Highway Buses offer transportation between Nagoya and Kanazawa. Although it is a trek from the major metropolitan Areas of Japan, it is well worth the trip.

International Design Center Nagoya-Displaying Unlimited Creativity

3-18-1-Sakae, Nagoya, 460-0008

Nearest Train: Sakae Station

Phone: +81 52 265 2100; Fax: +81 52 265 210

Design City is one of the nicknames Nagoya has assumed for itself; a moniker not too implausible considering all the industry concentrated in the area. That does not mean, however, that this multifaceted facility focuses on the more mundane aspects of design. With a multiple-purpose hall, gallery, library, and a museum with a permanent exhibit, all with state-of-the-art multimedia facilities, this center covers every conceivable aspect of the creativity of the human mind. Regular exhibitions, international seminars and events are also held here.

Atsuta Shrine

Jingūmae station. This shrine houses the sacred Kusanagi no mitsurugi sword, one of the three Imperial regalia of Japan — but unfortunately nobody but the emperor and a few high priests get to see it. There are some 4,400 other artifacts on the grounds though and the shrine hosts some 70 festivals every year. One of the three major shrines in Japan along with Ise and Meiji. Atsuta Shrine houses the Kusanagi (grass-mowing) Sword, one of the three Sacred Treasures of the Imperial Family. Numerous annual traditional festivals and special religious ceremonies are held here. The Nohgakuden (Noh drama theater) on the grounds of the shrine stages Japanese Noh dramas and other traditional performing arts nearly every weekend.

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Nittaiji Temple ,

1-1 Hohocho, Chikusa-ku, tel. 052-751-2121, [4]. Among the 165,000 square meters of temple grounds is the 15 meter Gandala-style Taian Pagoda, which houses relics of the Buddha that were presented to Japan by the king of Thailand. Nittaiji Temple is brand new as temples go, completed in 1904 (and rebuilt in 1984). But the significance of the site is momentous, if often overlooked. It houses some of the bones of the Buddha Shakyamuni that found its way to Thailand, parts of which were donated by the king of that country to be enshrined in Nagoya, for which purpose Nittaiji ("Japan-Thai Temple") was constructed. Do not miss the gold-leaf tablet inscribed by a more recent king of Thailand to commemorate the rebuilding of the temple in the 1980s.

Shirakawa Park. Beautiful trees, Nagoya Science and Modern Art Museums. South of Fushimi subway station.

Nadya Park-Modern landmark

3-18-1 Sakae, Nagoya, 460-0008

Nearest Train: Sakae Station

Phone: +81 52 265 2199; Fax: +81 52 265 219

One of the largest and more distinctive buildings in the city, Nadya Park is actually a complex of two towers designed by a young American architect and opened in 1996. The building houses the International Design Center Nagoya and various businesses as well as a variety of shops, including Loft, Kinokuniya Book Store and an LL Bean outlet. The huge, 50-meter-high atrium filled with natural light joins the two towers and is a popular meeting spot. Centrally located, but slightly off the main thoroughfares of the city, it is also serving to energize the neighborhood around it.

Heiwa Park- Peace and Solemnity

Heiwakoen, Nagoya, 464-0022

Nearest Train: Higashiyama Koen Station; Phone: +81 52 202 1146

Covering a 1.5 square kilometer area in the hills in the eastern part of the city, Heiwa Park was established during the city’s reconstruction after the war when almost 200,000 graves in the downtown area were relocated here. Although the cemetery with its landmark statue of Kannon (goddess of mercy) is the most conspicuous feature of the park, there is a large wooded area with quiet walking trails and several small ponds. This is a popular picnic spot for city residents. The park’s 1,000 flowering sakura (cherry trees) are also an attraction in early spring.

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Japan Monkey Park- Specialized Zoo & Research Center

2-1 Kanrin, Inuyama, Nagasaki, 484-0081

Nearest Train: Inuyama-yuen Station; Phone: +81 56 861 087

Another must for the nature lover. Spend a day studying some of our closest relatives on the evolutionary family tree. From huge gorillas to tiny primates no longer than your little finger, you can see a thousand different ones from a hundred different species from all around the world at this specialized zoo and research center. One particularly fun exhibit is the chimpanzee enclosure where the natural showoffs try to attract the attention of visitors. Also included is an amusement park, making it a great full-day visit for the whole family.

Inuyama Castle- Japan's "oldest" castle

65-2 Kitakoken, Inuyama, Nagasaki-shi, Aichi Prefecture 484-0081

Nearest Train: Inuyama Yuen Station; Phone: +81 56 861 1711

While not one of the largest castles you will find in Japan, it is acknowledged as having the oldest existing donjon, built more that 450 years ago. It has also been designated a National Treasure. Erected on a small hill overlooking the Kiso River, it offers a panoramic view of Nobi Plain with Mt. Kiso Ontake and Mt. Ena visible in the distance. Unlike many other castles, Nagoya Castle included, which have been either restored or completely rebuilt, this is one place where you can see some of the real Japan of yore.

Hisaya-oodori Park.

Nice trees and fountains, Nagoya TV Tower observation deck. Sakae or Hisaya-oodori subway exits. Made up of many smaller parks, Hisaya-odori Park, the swath of green running through Sakae is very popular as a place to stroll or sit and relax in the middle of the hectic city. There are monuments commemorating Nagoya's sister city relationships with Los Angeles, Mexico City, Sydney, and Nanjing in the "River Park" area. Different festive events take place here throughout the year. The first multi-purpose television transmission tower built in Japan in 1954 is also located in the park. This 180-meter high tower in Central Park has long been a city landmark. From the observation deck on clear days there are spectacular views of Central Japan Alps to the north and Ise Bay to the south.

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Museums
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Kakamigahara Aerospace Museum- High Tech Museum

5-1 Shimogiri-cho Kakamigahara-shi Nagasaki-shi, 504-0924

Nearest Train: Shuttle Bus from Meitetsu Kakamigahara Hikojimae

Phone: +81 58 386 8500

This is a new museum that highlights the region’s extensive history in the manufacture of aircraft and rockets. A large facility, it has a numerous indoor and outdoor exhibits of actual aircraft either manufactured or utilized in Japan that you can walk up to, touch and look in. There are also various simulators where you can experience flight in planes and helicopters without ever leaving the ground. Exhibits are aimed at the enthusiast as well as children.

Meji Mura Museum

Relocated to this large open-air museum are many interesting buildings from the Meiji period of Japan, when the country was first opened up to the rest of the world in the late 19th century. Here you will find a multitude of examples of interesting architecture including the original Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, built by the American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts

1-1-1 Kanayama-cho, Naka-ku (next to Kanayama station), 052-684-0786,. Closed Mondays, Tuesday through Friday 10am to 7pm, Saturday, Sunday, Holidays 10am to 5 pm. Like any world-class art museum, the MFA in Boston has far more in its archives than it can reasonably display. This sister institution is one way to make the most of the extensive collection. Student / Adult admission: ¥300/400 for the general collection, ¥900/1200 for special exhibits.

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Takahama Tile Art Museum-Roofing Tile Museum

9-6-18 Aoki-cho Takayama, 444-1325

Nearest Train: Takahamako Station

Phone: +81 566 52 3366

This unusual museum is dedicated to the humble roofing tile, because of the industrial history of the city as a roofing tile producer. Although the subject may be unassuming, one of the more interesting aspects is the onigawara (ornamental tile pieces found on ridge ends and eaves of roofs) often shaped like the faces of ogres to serve as charms to ward off evil spirits and to protect the building. In addition to examples of tiles going back more than a millennium, there are also photographic exhibits of architecture from around the world that utilize the roofing tile. Admission: JPY200

Little World Museum of Man- Anthropology Made Fun

90-48 Narusawa, Imai, Inuyama, 484-0005

Nearest Train: Bus from Inuyama or Meitetsu Nagoya

Phone: +81 56 862 5611;Fax: +8156 861 209

The theme of this large, open-air museum is anthropology, and it allows the visitor to literally walk into the lives of different peoples from around the world. Thirty-three actual homes built in traditional styles from 22 different countries have been transported and rebuilt here on a hilly, forested area north of Nagoya. The museum also features exhibits related to daily life of different cultures around the globe, as well as restaurants offering equally individual fare. There are also occasional shows by small circuses and other ethnic folk performers.

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Annual Events
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The festival Atsuta Matsuri, held in early June at Atsuta-jingū, features displays of martial arts, sumō matches and fireworks. Street vendors peddle their wares by the light of thousands of lanterns. On the first Saturday and Sunday in June, the Tennō Matsuri takes place in Deki-machi. Large karakuri (mechanical puppets) are paraded on floats in the precincts of Susano-o-jinja Shrine. The Nagoya Basho sumō tournament takes place at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium from the first to the third Sunday of July. Nonreserved seats are available from the box office on the day of the bout from 08:30 . Arrive early in the afternoon and you can walk unchallenged to the very front of the arena to watch the lower-ranked wrestlers up close. It's a great photo opportunity. The gymnasium is in the grounds of Nagoya-jō. The Minato Matsuri, held around 20 July at Nagoya port, features a street parade with more than 1500 dancers, and a water-logging contest that dates back to the Edo period (1600-1867). Nagoya Matsuri, held in mid-October in Hisaya-ōdōri-kōen (aka Central Park, north of the TV Tower), is the big event of the year. It includes costume parades, processions of floats with karakuri puppets, folk dancing, music and a parade of decorated cars. In late October to late November, the Kiku-no-hana Taikai (Chrysanthemum Exhibition) sets the grounds of Nagoya-jō awash in colour; a separate ningyō (doll) exhibit incorporates the flowers into scenes from Japanese history and legend.

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Itineraries
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Nagoya is not all about industry, transport and trade, however. It has a thriving cultural scene and a vibrant nightlife, and there is a wealth of museums in the city, including some excellent art museums.

Nagoya is a big automotive industry center, and it shows. Trains and subways are less convenient than in Tokyo or Kansai, but more expensive. For those travelling with a JR Rail Pass, note that the train network doesn't have many stations in the city and you'll probably find yourself using the bus or subway alot, something your pass won't cover.

In addition, it also has something to offer nature lovers, in particular the Fujimae-higata wetland area near the port, which is Japan's largest stopover site for migratory birds and hence a great site for bird spotting. There are also plenty of green spaces in Nagoya, and the city is working to become even greener. While Japan's environmental record is poor in many places, Nagoya has initiated a number of comprehensive green projects with the stated ambition of becoming Japan's eco-capital of the future.

Nagoya is an industrial powerhouse - it anchors a region that would rank among the world's top 10 economies if considered independently - and that means that a day here is bound to be busy.

I prefer to start out the day quietly, at Atsuta Jingu. Hidden among 1000-year-old cypress trees, it's one of the most sacred shrines in all of Japan's native Shintō religion. It's said to house a sacred sword, one of the three regalia that were, according to legend, handed down to the imperial family by the sun goddess Amaterasu Ōmikami.

I love strolling Nagoya-jō, a full-scale reproduction of the early 17th century castle built by shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. The interior houses a worthy historical museum, and there's always something going on in the castle grounds: from flower shows to tea ceremonies or sumo tournaments.

With all that tradition out of the way, I might spend the afternoon checking out the factories of one of the industrial giants that make this region famous: Toyota, Noritake and even Asahi Beer all have a large presence here. Only-in-Japan offerings include a miso factory or workshops for Arimatsu shibori (tie-dye) work.

In the afternoon, Nagoya lives to shop, as you'll see in the dozen-plus department stores around the Meieki district (around Nagoya Station) or across the town centre in Sakae. My first stop is the International Design Centre Nagoya, with a design museum and cool shops. Intimate and sprawling Ōsu Kannon district brims with shops selling vintage clothing (including kimono), and the latest in electronics and music.

Night time is for food, drink and music. My favourite Nagoya speciality is miso-nikomi udon (udon noodles in miso broth), but I'm a fan of other local dishes too: kōchin chicken, miso-katsu (breaded, fried pork cutlet with miso sauce), and barbecued eel served over rice. After dinner, I love bopping around Sakae, inside and among the hundreds of bars, music and dance clubs, spread out like a neon maze - horizontal, vertical and every other which way.

Getting Around

Express buses run from Nagoya airport to Meitetsu bus station, which is just southeast of JR Nagoya station. A taxi ride from the city to the airport takes around 30mins.

Nagoya has an excellent subway system with four lines, all clearly signposted in English and Japanese. There is an extensive city bus system, but the subway is easier to use for those who don't know much Japanese. If you plan to do a lot of travel by subway or bus, you can save money with a one-day pass, available at subway stations. The one-day 'Ikomai Pass' includes all transport plus free or discounted admission to selected attractions.

By subway

There are 4 main subway lines:

  • The red Sakuradōri Line curves southwest from Nagoya Station.
  • The purple Meijō Line runs in a loop around the eastern side of the city, connecting Sakae and Kanayama; the Meikō Line spur branches from Kanayama to Nagoya Port.
  • The yellow Higashiyama Line connects Nagoya, Fushimi, Sakae, and Fujigaoka.
  • The blue Tsurumai Line connects Fushimi and Osu Kannon, then goes south.

Subways run every several minutes between about 05:30 until about 00:30. Fares range from ¥200 to ¥320. One day passes can be bought for ¥600 (bus), ¥740 (subway), and ¥850 (bus & subway).

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Dining
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Eat

Nagoya is big on miso, a sauce made from fermented soybeans and grain. You should not leave the city without trying misokatsu , fried pork cutlet with a rich, red miso sauce on it.

The other Nagoya classic is shrimp tempura, particularly when wrapped up in rice and dried seaweed and turned into a handy portable package known as a tenmusu

The city is also known for uiro, basically red bean jelly, a substance a little firmer than gelatin, with a subtle flavour.

Nagoya's noodle specialty is kishimen, a flat, broad noodle served in a miso or soy sauce broth. Available in most restauran-gai in shopping centres or close to major railway stations.

Budget

Café de Metro, 1F Kanayama station (North Exit). Serves up basic curry and donburi dishes (including a decent misokatsu) for ¥480 with coffee/tea, or ¥680 with miso soup and pickles.

Mid-range

  • Kanran aka Marche du Soleil, map on the website. European style restaurant, near Osu Kannon subway station. Plenty of vegetarian options on the (available in English) menu - the organic vegetable sticks and vegetable pizza are good choices. Staff are friendly and speak a usable amount of English.

  • Yamamotoya Sōhonke , 25-9 Meieki, B1F Horinouchi Bldg (on Sakura-dori not far from Exit 6 of the Nagoya subway station). The home of the classic Nagoya miso dish nikomi udon, consisting of thick, chewy, handmade udon noodles served in boiling hot miso sauce/stock. Fairly pricy at ¥1200 for a basic bowl and rather difficult to eat — diners are provided with bibs to protect themselves from soup spray — but the effort is worth it.
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Drink

Around Nagoya station, there are a lot of places for cheap drinking. Sakae is the big nightlife district, in a loose triangle formed by the Sakae, Yaba-cho and Osu Kannon stations. Sakae has a large red light district as well, but as with most of Japan, there's no sense of danger so don't worry about drifting around. There are countless izakayas around Kanayama station, both cheap chains and more upscale places.

If the bar and club scene is not for you, try Nagoya Friends [6] and their bimonthly international parties. Always a dynamic mix of foreigners and Japanese. At the party it's all you can drink and eat (~¥3000).

Bars

  • Hard Rock Cafe, close to Hilton. Serves the usual mix of rock music and American food.
  • Misfits , behind the post office in Imaike, usually live music on Saturdays.
  • Shooter's , close to Fushimi station. An American sports bar that attracts a mixed crowd with live music on Sundays.
  • The Red Rock, located directly behind the Chunichi Building in Sakae. An Australian pub experience.

Nightclubs

Nagoya has some of the best clubs in Japan, possibly second only to Tokyo. A lot of the DJs who play Tokyo also pass through Nagoya.

  • ID club - the most popular and well-known club in Nagoya. Offers a variety of musical choices on 5 floors. In Sakae.
  • Club Mago In Shin-Sakae on the basement level of the Flex-building. Great for house, techno, electro-clash, progressive house. 2500-3000 cover.
  • Radix- one of the bigger clubs in Nagoya, a lot of big house, jungle and dub Djs play here. Expect to pay from ¥2000-3000, usually with a free drink included.
  • Club Daughter has something happening almost every night, so you'll never be stuck for something to do. It's a small place though. To western clubbers, it may seem more like a basement party than a club, and if you're going out on a Monday or a Tuesday, you may find it pretty empty. Fridays and Saturdays, though, the place is normally packed. Drinks are about ¥600 each, entry varies, check on the site.
  • Club JB's is another good Nagoya club. Right around the corner from Club Daughter.
  • J-Max ] in Fushimi attracts foreigners and Japanese alike for your weekend dance event. Entry fee is usually ¥2000-3000, with a couple of drinks included.
  • The Underground, Shin-Sakae. Has two floors for one price, upstairs is hip-hop at maximum volume levels, while downstairs more dance music is played. Always a happy crowd without annoying bouncers, ladies pay 1500 and guys 2000 with 2 drinks included. Foreigners welcome.

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Transportation
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Nagoya was completely rebuilt after WWII, on a grid with wide avenues. On the western edge of the city centre, Nagoya station, known locally as Meieki, is a city in itself with shops, restaurants, hotels and observation decks in two gleaming 50-plus-storey towers, and is the city's most useful landmark. Several train lines converge here: shinkansen platforms are on the west side of the station, while on the east side you'll find the private Meitetsu and Kintetsu lines as well as the subway and bus stations. From the east exit, the Sakura-dōri line runs towards the TV tower, in the centre of the park-like Hisaya-ōdōri. South of the TV tower is the Sakae entertainment district. The castle, Nagoya-jō, is just north of the city centre. Nagoya's major sights can be knocked off in a day or two.

Nagoya is a major shinkansen stop between Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima. Ise is connected to Nagoya by the private Kintetsu line. Tokkyū (limited express trains) run to Ise and other trains run to Nara on the Kintetsu line. Other lines have trains to the Japan Alps, Takayama and Gifu. Direct trains run to Inuyama from Nagoya every 30mins.

JR and Meitetsu highway buses run between Nagoya and Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo. JR and Meitetsu also run overnight buses to Hiroshima, Kōchi, Fukuoka and Nagasaki. Taiheiyo ferries run between Nagoya and Tomakomai (Hokkaidō, 40hrs) via Sendai (21hrs) every second evening

Getting to Nagoya by Plane

Nagoya airport is linked by air with most of Japan's major cities. If you're coming from Tokyo, however, the shinkansen (high-speed train, or 'bullet' train) is much quicker than flying: the shinkansen takes 2hrs, whereas the bus ride from the airport to Nagoya's city centre takes 30mins.

Chubu Centrair International Airport, Japan's third major international gateway, is located on an artificial island 30 minutes south from the centre of town. Facilities include two hotels and an onsen spa with views of the runways. Centrair opened in 2005, and this airport replaces the existing Nagoya airport, also taking over its IATA code NGO.

The best way of connecting between Centrair Airport and central Nagoya is the Meitetsu Airport Line. Limited expresses take just 28 minutes (¥980 plus a usually-optional ¥350 for a reserved seat) to cover the distance to the city. Note that Meitetsu trains are not free for JR Railpass riders.

Not arriving via Centrair Airport

If you happen to arrive in Japan at Osaka's Kansai Airport, Nagoya can be reached in no less than two hours by taking the Haruka limited express train to Shin-Osaka station, then changing to the Tokaido Shinkansen.

A small number of air flights operate daily from Tokyo's Narita Airport to Centrair Airport, for the benefit of international passengers. Otherwise, Nagoya is no less than three hours away by taking the Narita Express limited express train to Tokyo station, then changing to the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Getting to Nagoya by Train

Thru Nozomi trains from western Japan reach Nagoya from Okayama (1 hr 40 mins, ¥10980), Hiroshima (2 hrs 20 mins, ¥13830) and Hakata station in Fukuoka (3 hrs 20 mins, ¥18030). It is slightly longer via the Hikari service (change trains at Himeji or Shin-Kobe stations).

Nagoya also serves as the terminal point for the hourly Wide View Shinano, a limited express train that runs from the mountain resort towns of Nagano and Matsumoto. Nagoya is reached in 3 hours and 2 hours, respectively. With the exception of Nozomi trains, all rides above are at no charge with the Japan Rail Pass.

Nagoya is located along the Tokaido Shinkansen route between Tokyo and Osaka.

  • A one-way ride from Tokyo is about 1 hour, 40 minutes via Nozomi (¥10780) and between 1 3/4 and 2 hours via Hikari (¥10580).
  • From Kyoto, Nagoya is reachable in 36 minutes via Nozomi (¥5640) and between 36 and 55 minutes via Hikari or Kodama (¥5440).
  • From the Shin-Osaka station in Osaka, Nagoya is 53 minutes away via Nozomi (¥6380) and between 53 and 70 minutes away via Hikari or Kodama (¥6180).

By bus

A cheaper method of reaching Nagoya is by bus. Day and night services run to Nagoya from most parts of the country, particularly from Kanto. For example, a night service from Tokyo to Nagoya on JR Kanto Bus costs ¥6420 one way (discounted trips ¥5000 each way), while daytime services cost ¥5100 one way. The trip takes roughly 6 hours to complete. 123bus has nightly bus service to Nagoya from Tokyo. With online booking service available in English.

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Map of Nagoya

 

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