22 Must-Go Places in Nagoya, An Underrated Food and Sightseeing Destination
If you want to branch out your Japan travels beyond Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, then try Nagoya, the country's fourth-largest city! The capital of Aichi Prefecture, it has a rich history and distinctive food culture. It is home to one of Japan's foremost shrines, the Atsuta Jingu, and it has been the center of Japan's famous car industry. Its close ties with the old Tokugawa dynasty left behind the majestic Nagoya Castle and other architectural legacies. Here are 22 places you should stop by on your visit!
Apr 18 2016 (Jan 29 2020)
1. Nagoya Castle
Nagoya Castle has been a symbol of Nagoya over 400 years. Built as a home for a son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the military ruler who established the Edo period, it shows the prosperity that the Tokugawa family commanded. After the original buildings burned down in 1945, the two keeps were reconstructed in 1959. Make sure to go through the exhibitions inside and to have a pleasant stroll through the garden!
Address: 1-1 Honmaru, Naka-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
2. Atsuta-Jingu Shrine
Atsuta Shrine, with a history said to span over 1900 years, is the oldest landmark in Nagoya. Located south of Nagoya station, the plot of about 20 hectares is covered with thick forests. Some camphor trees there are estimated at over 1000 years old. Atsuta is ranked as one of the country's foremost shrines, and the architecture symbolizing its high-status is impressive. It’s a good place to enjoy a pleasant walk at the center of the city.
Address: 1-1-1 Jingu, Atsuta-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
3. Shirotori Garden
The Shirotori Garden, within a 10-minute walk of Atsuta Shrine, is the biggest Japanese garden in Nagoya. The garden, of around 3.7 hectares, is located inside of Shirotori Park. It was carefully designed with a modern aesthetic, with the help of artisans from other regions like Kanazawa. Visitors can enjoy tea-time in a traditional tea room or a modern restaurant as well.
Address: 2-5 Atsutanishi-machi, Atsuta-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
If Japanese gardens are you thing, you might enjoy our list of 11 must-see gardens all throughout Japan:
4. Osu Kannon & Osu Shopping District [City Center]
Osu Kannon, not far from Nagoya Station, is counted as one of the biggest Kannon statues in Japan. The history of the temple dates back to 1333. The temple is known for a flea market held on its grounds on the 18th and 28th of every month, as well as its neighboring shopping district, the “Osu Shopping Arcade.” The area, located between two subway stations, is a jumble of around 1200 shops and restaurants.
HP: www.osu-kannon.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 2-21-47 Osu, Naka-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
5. Nagoya City Science Museum [City Center]
The science museum in Nagoya offers many attractive hands-on exhibitions: the world's biggest planetarium, with a diameter of 35m, a -30 degree room to experience auroras, a 9 meter-high twister for tornados, towering Tesla coils for electric discharge, and so on. The comprehensive exhibitions can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages.
Address: 2-17-1 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
6. TOYOTA Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology [City Center]
The museum, run by companies of the Toyota group, offers very comprehensive exhibitions of the copmany's history and the spirit behind its modern development. Their displays vary from textile manufacturing to robotics, and they are available in English as well. If you are interested in industry and manufacturing, or want to know more about what is perhaps the region's most iconic company, this place is a must-go!
Address: 1-35, Noritake Shinmachi 4-chome, Nishi-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
If you're looking for more family-friendly attractions like the Toyota Museum or the science museum, check out our list of 15 Nagoya sights that kids would enjoy:
7. Toyota Automobile Museum [Nagakute-city]
If you are a fan of automobiles, you should visit the Toyota Automobile Museum in Nagakute, about 50 minutes from Nagoya Station by public transportation. This museum's theme is the history of the automobile since its birth. About 160 vehicles from around the world and from various time periods are showcased together.
Address: 41-100 Yokomichi, Nagakute-city, Aichi (Google Map)
8. Tokugawa-en Garden [Central Area]
This Japanese garden belonged to the Owari-Tokugawa family, one of the ruling Tokugawa clan's three main branches. Their former residence was located here, and the original garden encompassed 44 hectares. The current garden is laid out in the typical Daimyo garden style, with a pond offering various landscapes.
Address: 1001 Tokugawa-cho, Higashi-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
9. Tokugawa Art Museum [Central Area]
This museum adjacent to the Tokugawa-en Garden has a magnificent collection of the household belongings donated by the descendants of Owari-Tokugawa family. The collection boasts more than ten thousand pieces of furniture, household goods, and clothes. The comprehensive display helps you to imagine the Tokugawa's way of life.
Address: 1017 Tokugawa-cho, Higashi-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
10. SCMAGLEV and Railway Park [Port Area]
This museum run by JR Central displays about 40 retired trains, including a maglev, bullet trains, and steam locomotives. The museum aims for better understanding of trains' history and mechanics. Popular attractions are the train simulators, the train crew simulator, and one of the largest train dioramas in Japan. The educational exhibitions can be enjoyed by all ages! An English audio guide is available.
Address: 3-2-2 Knjo-futo, Minato-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
11. Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium [Port Area]
Nagoya Aquarium is one of the largest and best aquariums in Japan. While its rivaling Kaiyukan in Osaka is more for dates, Nagoya Aquarium is more educational and focused on large sea animals. It consists of two buildings. One features large creatures such as orca, beluga wales and dolphins, and their shows. Another does smaller creatures and highlights "Sardine Tornado" display which hundreds of sardines spiraling in unison.
HP: www.nagoyaaqua.jp/aqua/othe/engl/index.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-3 Minato-machi, Minato-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
12. Higashiyama Zoo & Botanical Gardens [East]
Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens covering 60 hectares is a pleasant place for a day out. The zoo exhibits approximately 500 species. The botanical garden features around 7000 varieties of plant, a large greenhouse, and scenic walking path. Among the animals in the zoo, Shabani, a western lowland gorilla from Sydney, is popular for his handsome looks.
Address: 3-70, Higashiyama-motomachi, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya (Google Map)
13. Arimatsu Townscape
Arimatsu was a town built on the Tokaido highway for a break in 1608. The highlights are picturesque townscape with ten old wooden houses from the Edo period lined up and Arimatsu Shibori. Arimatsu Shibori is a kind of traditional tie-dyeing method. You can visit Arimatsu-Narumi Shibori Kaikan or shops dotted along the street to see the beautiful works closely.
Address: Arimatsu, Midori-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
14. JR Central Towers
JR Central Towers above Nagoya station was the tallest landmark in Nagoya until its neighboring Midland Square surpassed it in 2007. Two towers are complex of office, hotel, and merchandize area including Takashimaya department store on the lower floors. Both tower have restaurants and lounges with a view run by Takashimaya and Marriott hotel on the top floor respectively.
Address: Meieki, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
15. Midland Square Sky Promnade
Midland Square is the tallest building in Nagoya nearby Nagoya station. The 247m tall building offers a semi- open-air observation deck named Sky Promenade on the top floors. It offers almost 360 degree panoramic views over Nagoya. You can dine at restaurants overlooking impressive views on the upper floor of 41F and 42F as well.
Address: 4-7-1 Meieki, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya-city, Aichi (Google Map)
16. Oasis 21 [Sakae]
Located in Sakae, one of the busiest downtown in Nagoya, Oasis 21 is a must-go modern landmark. It combines parks, a bus terminal, and commercial complex. You can relax at the green field, enjoy strolling around the walking path with a view on the glass roof, or marveled by beautiful night illumination.
HP: www.sakaepark.co.jp/cn/ (中文)
Address: 1-11-1 Higashisakura, Higashi-ku, Nagoya-city[ (Google Map)
17. Inuyama-jo Castle [Inuyama]
Inuyama castle locates in Inuyama, the neighboring town to Nagoya. It takes around 40 minutes by Meitetsu express train from Nagoya. The castle's history dates back to 1537 and the architectural style of the main building is the Japan’s oldest of its kind. The town of Inuyama has lots to see as well as Nagoya. If you stay in Nagoya more than two nights, you should consider to add this attractive place on your list-to-go.
HP: inuyama-castle.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 65-2 Inuyama Kitakoken, Inuyama-city, Aichi (Google Map)
Incidentally, if you have a bit of time and don't mind going far from the Nagoya city center - even farther than Inuyama - then you should check out our article of things to do throughout Aichi Prefecture:
18. Meijimura [Inuyama]www.inuyama-kon.com
Meijimura is an architecture-themed park specialized in those from the Meiji period. Their magnificent collection consists of all kinds of buildings built after the late 20th century including residence, shops, churches, even industrial heritages. It takes about 1 to 1 and a half hour by express train or car from Nagoya.
HP: www.meijimura.com/chinese/ (中文)
Address: 1,Uchiyama, Inuyama-city, Aichi (Google Map)
19. Urakuen [Inuyama]
At the east of Inuyama Castle, there is a Japanese garden named Urakuen. Uraku was a brother of Oda Nobunaga, a dictator during the late Sengoku period, and one of the disciplines of Sen-no Rikyu, the master of tea ceremony. The highlight of the garden is Jo-an, one of Japan's most excellent teahouses. You can enjoy strolling at the beautiful garden, two other teahouses and his residence.
HP: www.m-inuyama-h.co.jp/urakuen/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1 Gomonsaki, Inuyama-city, Aichi (Google Map)
20. Tokoname Pottery Footpath [Tokoname]
Tokoname, the production site of Tokoname pottery, is a nice place for short stop before or after Nagoya visit with very convenient access. It's only one express-train-stop to the Centrair Airport. Within walk distance, workshops and galleries scattered around. INAX Museums with intriguing collections of potteries is also worth visiting.
HP: www.tokoname-kankou.net/taiwan/ (中文)
21. Coffee Shop Breakfasts
One of specialties in Nagoya is unique food culture. Coffee shops are one of best places to experience local's love for food in unique style. If you go to a coffee shop in the morning, you will be astonished by its breakfast deals by means of volume for its relatively cheap price or combination of meals. You cannot leave Nagoya without trying their famous Ogura toast.
22. Izakaya or Tebasaki Specialized Restaurants
Tebasaki is chicken wingtips and means deep-fried wingtips with spicy flavor in Nagoya. It's a must try, if you love chicken and a drink. There are countless restaurants including izakawa which offer Tebasaki plates in the town. Though other Nagoya’s specialties such as Kishimen or Miso-katsu cannot be accepted by some visitors, Tebasaki should work well, maybe.
For more on Nagoya, check out:
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.