Nagoya (名古屋市) may not be one of the first cities you think of when you visit Japan. Nevertheless, this third largest city in the country, located in the prefecture of Aichi, has a lot to offer. Not only the largest port of Japan can be found here, also large companies like Toyota and Mitsubishi are located here.
In addition, this city is very centrally located in Japan and from here you can visit a number of special places. Read about the history, the main sights, transport and other tips about this prosperous city.
History of Nagoya
Already at the time of the Tokugawa dynasty (1603-1868) Nagoya was one of the most prosperous cities in Japan. The famous castle was built around 1612 to protect the city from invaders from Osaka.
But the history of Nagoya also has a dark period. Over the centuries, the city was ravaged several times by floods. A Dutchman, Johannis de Rijke (1842-1913) had to be involved in order to develop a good water drainage system (from 1887 to 1912) around the city. For his contribution to the city it was even decided to build a statue of Johannis de Rijke in Nagoya. This statue can still be visited today.
In 1889 Nagoya received the official title of city. At that time it had only 150,000 inhabitants. In 1891 it was badly hit by an earthquake and many houses were destroyed.
The 20th century is a period of explosive growth, interspersed with the well-known dark period between 1940 and 1950. Nagoya was also severely damaged by the many bombardments from the Second World War. But soon after, the city grew considerably and is nowadays known as the most important city of the car industry and the textile industry. About 9 million people live in and around Nagoya.
Accommodation in Nagoya
Together with Tokyo and Osaka, Nagoya is one of the country’s most important financial cities. That is why you will find many different expensive hotels here, but fortunately also a number of cheaper hostels.
I stayed a total of 2 nights in Nagoya. Depending on what you want to do in this city, one full day in Nagoya is in my opinion more than enough. Close to the station I stayed in Hostel Wasabi Nagoya Ekimae. The interesting thing about this hostel is that you have your own cubicle/bed with your own computer! I haven’t seen that anywhere else.
The nicest district of Nagoya is Sakae. This district is located 2 kilometers east of Nagoya Station and has many shopping malls and restaurants. Nearby is the TV tower and the ultramodern bus station of the city.
Top 7 attractions in Nagoya
Nagoya has some nice sights that are worth seeing.
1: Castle of Nagoya
This castle was built in 1612 by order of the then ruler of Japan, Ieyasu Tokugawa, to prevent attacks from Osaka. Unfortunately, a large part of the castle was destroyed during the bombardments during the Second World War. As a result, it has lost much of its historical value.
Also the coat of arms of Nagoya, the golden dolphin on the roof of the castle were lost. Nevertheless, there are still a few watchtowers standing from the time of the Samurai. For more information visit the website of Nagoya Castle.
2: The television tower of Nagoya
The Nagoya TV Tower was built in 1954. At that time it belonged to one of the largest towers in Japan. The Nagoya TV Tower is 180 meters high and looks like a reduced version of the Eiffel Tower. The tower stands in Hisayi Odori Park. Unfortunately, a renovation is currently underway, so the tower cannot be visited until July 2020.
For another view of the city, visit the Central Towers. These two towers are located next to Nagoya Station and on the 51st floor you have a view over the city.
3: Toyota Automobile Museum
Together with Volkswagen, Toyota belongs to the largest car brand in the world. In and around Nagoya, this car brand has established factories and the head office. Nice to spend a few hours in the Toyota Automobile Museum. It is located in the town of Nagakute and many historic cars can be admired here. This museum is open daily from 9.30 am to 5 pm.
4: Nagoya City Science Museum
This special museum is located in the heart of Nagoya. It is recognizable by the large round ball that appears above the entrance. The museum has one of the largest planetariums in the world. This museum is the place to be for scientific experiments. The Nagoya City Science Museum is open daily (except on Mondays) from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission to the museum and planetarium costs 800 yen.
5: Osu Kannon Tempel
The Osu Kannon Temple is the most popular temple in the city. This sanctuary has existed since the 13th century, but was only moved to its present location in the 17th century. Unfortunately, the temple was destroyed several times by floods and the current temple dates from the 20th century. The most important god that is worshipped is the Kannon, goddess of grace.
Want to know more about the Goddess of Grace, Cannon? Then read the article: Sensoji Temple Tokyo? 5 historical facts you should know
6: Scmaglev and Railway Park
Japan is the land of fast trains, but I’m sure you knew that. The Scmaglev is the fastest train (magnet) in the world and on 21 April 2015 the world speed record of 603 kilometres per hour was broken at a test location. Around 2027 this train should actually run between Tokyo and Nagoya. Want to know more about this super fast train? Then go to the Scmaglev and Railway Park south of Nagoya.
7: The Nakasendo Trail: From Magome to Tsumago
The walk from Magome to Tsumago is located in the Kiso Valley in the province of Nagano. Nevertheless, these places can be reached faster from Nagoya (1.5 hours) than from Nagano (2.5 hours). A beautiful walk to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and to feel like living in traditional Japan again.
Want to read more about this hike? Read the article Nakasendo Trail, Japan: Walk the Road of the Samurai
Nagoya is easy to reach from Tokyo with the Shinkansen. In about 2 hours you are there and from Kyoto it is about 30 minutes by Shinkansen.
Nagoya has an underground metro that makes it easy to reach everything. Since 2004 it is even possible to visit the city’s port by metro. In total there are 6 metro lines.
What did you think of the city of Nagoya? Feel free to leave a message below!