Nagoya is Japan’s third most populated metropolitan area. It is the capital of Aichi Prefecture and the principal city of the Nobi plain, one of Honshu’s three large plains and industrial centers. As one of the country’s major transport hubs, situated halfway between east and west along the main transport lines running from Tokyo via Kyoto and Osaka to Hiroshima and further west, Nagoya also has Japan’s leading port for international trade as well as its own state-of-the-art airport Centrair, half-an-hour from the city center.
Nagoya doesn’t feature heavily on foreign tourists’ itineraries, not being as varied and metropolitan as Tokyo and not having the traditional allure of Kyoto and mainly being an industrial city, people usually opt to skip it. If you would still find yourself in Nagoya, for for example the Sumo Grand Tournament of July, or because you are crazy about cars and are visiting the nearby Toyota plant for a free tour, there are plenty of interesting places to see in Nagoya. The province of Aichi also boasts many amazing destinations, so chances are you will pass through Nagoya when visiting, for example, Takayama or the pearl divers in Ise.
Nagoya is not only about industry, transport, and trade. For those more interested in samurai history, the Tokugawa Museum provides a wealth of in-depth information and fascinating exhibits on the most famous of Nagoya families. Arcade shopping center Osu-Kannon in the heart of the city is a bustling area with a splendid temple at its heart alongside some seemingly endless covered arcades – one of the most interesting shopping areas in Japan. The Atsuta-jingu shrine has a history that dates all the way back to 1900 years ago. The famous treasure hall has some very interesting items on display.
Nagoya is famous for its porcelain and ceramic, so a visit to the Noritake Garden should definitely be included in your itinerary. It is not only a charming area, but you can also try your hands on painting your own china. If you don’t have the chance to see a castle elsewhere on your trip to Japan you should check out the recently renovated Nagoya Castle. In the middle of August, it is a must-visit, as this is the time when the yearly Nagoya Castle Summer Festival is held. Especially the evenings are dreamily beautiful with the light-ups.
Every region in Japan has its own distinctive cuisine, and Nagoya is no different. You can’t leave the city without having tried their dark red version of miso, with an extra-strong flavor compared to Tokyo-style white miso. Misokatsu, a fried port cutlet covered in a thick red miso sauce, is surely a dish you won’t easily forget! For those who like slightly more accessible flavors, everybody loves Nagoya-style tebasaki spicy chicken wings from Yamachan.
Nagoya also offers many excellent day trip options with the castle at Inuyama, historical village Meiji Mura, and the large Nagashima Spaland amusement park being just three of the options.