Nagoya is the birthplace of Japanese pinball. For many of you, that’s probably reason enough to visit the city where pachinko was created. But if by some small chance it’s not enough, you may also care to know that Nagoya is where art meets technology, where tradition meets progression, where city meets small town… Nagoya is Tokyo – if Tokyo had time to catch its breath.
Nagoya is the place to try different things. Go traditional and try some Shabu Shabu, or go urban and hit up the International Design Centre. Culturally, there’s the Ran no Yakata Orchid Garden to explore, or learn a little something in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (perhaps learn what Boston thinks of the name?). Like a well-oiled robot, Nagoya will get you everything you want before you even knew you wanted it.
Nagoya’s Top 10
10. Ran no Yakata Orchid Gardens Who knew there were over 250 species of orchid? Obviously the gardener at this beautifully relaxing slice of nature.
5. Toyota Commemorative Museum Yes, the name makes it sound like Toyota is dead, but it’s way more interesting than that.
9. International Design Centre Conceptualism at its best, which means really cool stuff like in the movies!
4. Noritake Garden Observe the art of porcelain making or take the opportunity to glaze your own dish.
8. Ōsu Kannon Temple Cast your mind back to 1333. Drawing a blank? This temple will help you out.
3. Tokugawa Art Museum A must-see for art-lovers, or anyone who wants to try but just doesn’t get it.
7. Port Building Amazing views of the city, as well as the Maritime Museum and the Antarctic exploration ship outside.
2. Nagoya Castle Discover armour and treasure. Just like a pirate! Only… Japanese.
6. Nagoya Public Aquarium Not just a hit with the kids – jump in and enjoy (that was a pun, not advice!).
1. Atsuta-jingū Houses over 4,000 objects and was built in the 3rd century. It’s chills-down-the-spine stuff.
- Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology – Exhibits Toyota group history from textiles to automotive to manufacturing.
- Nagoya Castle – Concrete replica of original castle, home of Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga.
- Arako Jannon Temple – Oldest building in Nagoya, constructed in the Heian Period (8th century).
- Nittaiji Temple – Buddhist relics presented to Japan by the king of Thailand in 1904.
- Shiroyama Hachimangu – Shinto shrine around the Suemori Castle ruins features the sacred Marital Tree worshipped as a symbol for happy marriage.
Nagoya Art & Culture
- Nagoya Sumo Tournament – One of six annual grand sumo tournaments, each lasting 15 days.
- Osu Summer Festival – Annual event around the shopping streets of Osu Kannon temple with parades and live street performances.
- Tokugawa Art Museum – Private museum with priceless art, furnishings and heirloom collection of the Owari branch, part of the Tokugawa clan.
- Atsuta Shrine – One of three Japanese imperial shrines that houses the sacred Kusanagi no Tsurugi sword.
- Hisaya Odori Park – On weekend afternoons and evenings, watch local musicians perform different styles of music.
- Osu Shopping Arcade – Small stores selling traditional crafts to trendy clothing shops in old-style shopping arcades.
- Sakae District – Department stores, restaurants and nightlife until the early morning hours.
- Mondo Lounge – Second-hand bookstore and cafe lounge.
- Bic Camera – Five massive camera and electronics levels for any technology lovers.
- Osu Market – Large and small electronic shops dot the area; check out the cafe in the basement.
Gay & Lesbian Nagoya
- NLGR+ Gay & Lesbian Festival in Nagoya – The biggest gay and lesbian event in Nagoya each year on June 4 to 5.
- METRO Club – Club hosts an international gay and lesbian dance in Sakae, Nagoya, on the second Saturday of each month.
- Shu Bar – Open to all ages and nationalities, and the friendly bartenders speak English.
- CoRoFoG – Small, comfortable Swedish massage shop for men; gay managed.
- Pancrace – Sauna with a young crowd, no entry for those over 40 years old.
- Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens – A small park. Visit during spring and fall, when temperatures are lower.
- Togokusan Fruit Park – Come in February or March to experience plum-blossom viewing and cherry-blossom viewing in April.
- Nagoya TV Tower – Oldest TV tower in Japan, with two main observation decks at different heights, a restaurant and gallery at the foot.
- Shirakawa Park – Beautiful tree-lined walking path, perfect for sitting under the shade on a hot day and eating lunch around relaxing scenic views.
- Meijo Park – One of the city's largest green spaces with a view of Nagoya Castle; showers and lockers are available.
- Learn futsal from players at a futsal club.
- Watch the Chunichi Dragons play baseball at the Nagoya Dome.
- Take a judo lesson at the Associacao Calasans de Judo (ACJ) dojo.
- See how Japanese play soccer at the Toyota Stadium,
- Ice skating at the Oust Skating Rink is open all year round.
The year begins with Seijin Shiki,which sees a number of festivities popping up around the city every January.
Ever wanted to see a giant penis worshipped by a whole city? You’re in luck! February brings the Tagata Fertility Festival,which includes a procession of a giant wooden phallus.
Atsuta Festival is held in June. Martial arts performers line the streets before paper lanterns are lit and fireworks light up the sky.
Nagoya Castle Summer Festival marks the beginning of July and, like all good things, gets going after dark!
New Year’s Eve, or Omisoka,is an exciting time in Nagoya. Don’t forget to eat the traditional noodle dish, toshikoshi-soba, during the day. Yum!
When To Go
June and July can be very hot and quite wet. But if you don’t mind the heat, Nagoya looks great in summer.
January is freezing. If you don’t need your nipples to cut glass, there’s really no need to visit early in the year.
The best time to visit is around October and November. The leaves change, flowers are blooming and you might just make it in time for the beautiful cherry blossoms.
Trains run regularly over longer distances, such as to and from the airport.
Taxis are available throughout the city. A trip to the airport costs around ¥13,000.
One of the most important urban areas and commercial ports in all of Japan, Nagoya is a wonderful city to discover. The city of 2 million people is at the heart of a metro region that has close to 8 million people and is the capital of Aichi Prefecture. Nagoya contains some of the most recognizable landmarks in the country, primarily in the form of Nagoya Castle and Atsuta Shrine. The original town of Nagoya was built around the castle in the early 17th century at the behest of the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. Since that time, the city has become a major industrial, economic and cultural hub in Japan.
Atsuta Shrine dates back much further than Nagoya Castle, namely to the late 1st century. The paramount Shinto shrine receives on average, more than 9 million annual visitors. Other fine attractions in Nagoya include the excellent Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
Attractions & Activities
Restaurant & Nightlife
Nagoya has a four seasons climate, with a wide temperature disparity between winter and summer.
- Winter (December to February) 0-12°C
- Spring (March to May) 3-24°C
- Summer (June to September) 18-32°C
- Fall (October to November) 8-23°C