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Nagoya

Travel Guide

Places to visit in Nagoya
with your Japan Rail Pass



Nagoya at night

Welcome to Nagoya

Beautiful Nagoya is Japan’s fourth largest city just after Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka, with a population of almost 9 million people. The city is perhaps best known for its huge automotive industry. Large industries such as Honda, Mitsubishi and Toyota are located here. As if that wasn’t enough, the city is said to be home to Japan’s special samurai and ninja culture.

white castle sunset

NAGOYA CASTLE

Nagoya Castle is like something out of a Studio Ghibli cartoon. With its curved roof and unique architecture, the castle looks just like in the Japanese fairy tales. The green traditional roofs are decorated with golden shachihoko – a mythical Japanese animal with a head like a tiger and a body like a carp. Legend has it that shachihoko can make the rain fall and is a common feature on important Japanese buildings to protect against fire and conflagration. The castle is hard to miss as all of Nagoya seems to revolve around its mystery. Wander around the beautiful castle gardens, explore the castle and finally stop for a cup of tea in the quaint tea house.

old tempel

ATSUTA JINGU

Atsuta Jingu is one of Japan’s largest and most famous temples for the worship of the natural spiritual Shinto religion. About 9 million people visit here every year to worship the sun goddess Amaterasu and the sacred sword Kusanagi. Don’t miss a visit to the associated museum where you can see ancient weapons, paintings and clothing from Japan at the time. Stroll around the sanctuary in the wooded park, enjoying the surroundings and the amazing architecture. After your spiritual worship, or tourist visits, don’t miss to try the temple’s version of Kishimen noodles, a true local Nagoya specialty.

entrance orange tempel

OSU KANNON

The Osu Kannon temple was already built in the 12th century but has undergone both reconstructions and relocations during its lifetime, as it has been damaged several times by serious floods. However, nothing is visible. The temple stands proudly in all its splendor, ready for the worship of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Despite its historical spirituality, the temple is not housed alone.

Right next door is a large shopping area, a library with 15,000 classic Japanese texts and a flea market that is open twice a month. These two polar opposites make the temple a little extra interesting and definitely worth a visit.

toyota logo museum

TOYOTA KAIKAN MUSEUM

For those of you who are interested in cars, a visit to the Toyota Kaikan museum is in order. The car brand Toyota was founded in Nagoya and still has its headquarters and many of its production facilities in the city. At the museum, Toyota displays its new car models and technological inventions. In addition, regular robot shows are held where robots talk and even dance. If you have a great interest in cars, you can book in on a factory tour that is held every day. The tour takes about 2.5 hours and is completely free, but remember that you must book it in advance. The museum is located about an hour east of central Nagoya and is most easily reached by train or car.

old machine sewing

TOYOTA TECHNO MUSEUM

If you haven’t had enough of cars, head to the Toyota Techno Museum, also known as the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. The museum is located right in the center of Nagoya and is very easy to reach. Housed in an old textile building, the exciting museum introduces the fascinating history of Toyota. Once upon a time, the company was a manufacturer of textile machines, and then made a complete turnaround and built a large automotive technology and car production empire. This museum is fascinating, whether you are a car fan or not.

Ninja samurai mask

THE TOKUGAWA ART MUSEUM

At the Tokugawa Art Museum are treasures from the famous Japanese family Owari-Tokugawa who lived during Japan’s Edo period. The museum exhibits an impressive collection of the family’s art treasures such as samurai armor, swords, kitchen utensils, masks, maps and texts. Next to the museum is a beautiful Japanese landscape garden with an associated rippling pond. In addition, there is a beautiful hiking trail, tea house and a garden with flowering irises and peonies. The museum is an exciting destination for Japanese culture and history and is definitely worth a visit.

sculture buildings

NAGOYA CITY SCIENCE MUSEUM

If you are interested in astronomy, a visit to the Nagoya City Science museum is a must. This awesome planetarium is one of the world’s largest and is designed like a giant globe. The exhibition varies month by month depending on current astronomical phenomena. Here, for example, you can enjoy a very realistic starry sky, or visit an aurora room that stays at minus 30 degrees. This is an experience for the whole family, and even though the tours are only given in Japanese, it’s exciting to check out the stars, planets and other natural phenomena projected on the museum’s massive cinema screens. Here you can also participate in various interactive experiments and learn about the mystery of nature.

orca swimming

PORT OF NAGOYA AQUARIUM

In Nagoya’s famous harbor area is the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium. The aquarium houses Japan’s largest outdoor tank, and is also said to be one of the country’s best. The massive complex consists of two large buildings. In the northern building, the story of the sea’s most powerful and most famous animal, the whale, is introduced. In the southern building, over 500 different sea animals live in their “natural” habitat, such as killer whales, dolphins, turtles and penguins. This is truly an exciting adventure for the whole family not to be missed! 

Old tower building

MIRAI TOWER

The Miraitornet (Chubu Electric Power MIRAI TOWER), which stretches 100 meters above the ground, was constructed with the aim of attracting tourists and improving the city’s TV broadcasts. For those who are not afraid of heights, a ride up the tower may be in order. Here you can enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view of the beautiful city.

The tower, which is no longer active, is a very popular destination for wedding couples who like to get married with the city as a view. In addition, it is a landmark like no other, which Nagoya residents are very proud of. The tower also houses a cozy restaurant, hotel, café and bar.

Riverside lake building

HIGASHIYAMA ZOO & BOTANICAL GARDENS

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens is one of Nagoya’s top tourist destinations. There are more than 450 different animal species and over 7,000 types of plants here. Higashishima is perhaps best known for the gorilla Shabani, who delights in captivating visitors with her incredibly graceful beauty. In addition to the gorilla Shabani, there are red pandas, giraffes, lions and Japanese rice fish. This park is as big as it gets and you may need two days to experience everything it has to offer. In addition to special animals, there is also a beautiful Japanese cherry garden and a magnificent greenhouse.

old kina

NORITAKE GARDEN

Noritake is from the beginning a Japanese porcelain company that has become world-renowned for its unique handcrafted products. Opened to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Noritake, the Noritake Garden is where Noritake ceramics are produced, sold and held. Here, as a visitor, you are allowed to try the art of craftsmanship, take a peek into the Noritake museum or buy the most beautiful porcelain to take home to your kitchen cabinet. Don’t miss wandering around the lush garden and painting or creating your very own souvenir to take home. The Noritake garden is pleasant to visit whether you want to shop, create or just enjoy the creative spirit that seems to permeate the area. 

legoland figures

LEGOLAND JAPAN

Here at Legoland Japan Resort, located in Nagoya, there are over 10,000 Lego models and 40 attractions in the form of carousels, shows and interactive experiences. This is a theme park for the whole family that offers a fantastic adventure with Lego pieces and experiences around every corner. If the children haven’t had enough of playing, you can also sleep over a few nights at the park’s associated hotel. After a visit here, the children will be satisfied and happy, even if you learn to look square for the rest of the day.

Lake in tempel area

TSURUMA PARK

Tsuruma Park is Nagoya’s first municipal park that opened already at the beginning of the 20th century. Here there are a number of different gardens with flower beds that will amaze your eyes. Wander through the western garden and enjoy the roses lining up wherever you go. Then continue on to the Japanese Garden with its beautiful ponds and impressive 750 Japanese cherry trees. Take advantage of going here in the spring when the Japanese trees bloom in pink. This is truly a place of relaxation, zen and calm.

train museum

SCMAGLEV & RAILWAY PARK

Nagoya is not only known for its large automobile industry. There is also a museum here that is only for trains. At SCMagley and Railway Park, the trains are lined up to show the visitor the progress made in Japan’s impressive train industry.

Here you can find everything from historic steam locomotives, to bullet trains and the newly produced magnetic and levitating trains called maglev. As many as 39 retired train cars are open for visitors to inspect and play in.

The museum is suitable for both children and adults, and if you are lucky, you may be allowed to play train conductor for a while. As if that wasn’t enough, the museum has one of Japan’s largest miniature parks where small trains run through Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo.

old car museum

TOYOTA AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM

The Japanese can’t seem to get enough of their own excellence when it comes to cars. At the Toyota Automobile Museum, the exhibition focuses exclusively on Japanese, European and American cars from the late 1800s to the 1960s. Here, the world’s automotive history is gathered under one roof. Old, stylish cars such as the 1930s Bentley 4.5 or Bugatti 57C are nicely polished in the showroom. If you’re lucky, you might be allowed to test drive one of these tried-and-true greats.

Anything else to know before arrival?

Don’t worry, we got you covered with the most important information below.

Nagoya’s international airport is called Chubu Centrair International Airport (NGO) and is located about 45 km from Nagoya.

Adress : 1 Chome-1 Centrair, Tokoname, Aichi 479-0881, Japan.

Phone: +81 569-38-1195

You don’t have to worry about holding tight to your valuables or walking around with larger sums of cash. Japanese are a very loyal and well-behaved people with very few thieves and the like. Watching younger children ride the subway by themselves home from school alone is not an uncommon sight to see in Japan. Of course, there are everywhere, but Japan has very few of them.

Order a JR pass if you plan to move to other cities. If you are only going to be in Osaka, you can do well to pay for your transport at a time. But most visitors take a week in Tokyo and then move on to Kyoto, Osaka and other popular cities. These train distances are quite expensive without JR passes, we therefeore recommend getting one before your departure to Japan. Getjrpass.com is an official ravel agent and seller of these Japan Rail Passes with no middle man.

The metro is well-functioning and cheap – a recommended means of transport. Tickets are very easily purchased by machine on site before entering or via pre-loaded Suica card. Most distances are combined with JR lines and Metro lines to reach your destination in the city.

Suica card – a fantastic IC card that can be preloaded with money to easily blip beverage machines, subway and other machines for a cashless and fast payment. Alternative to the card is Icoca Card & Pasmo Card.

Taxis are everywhere, but are quite expensive. The metro is so functional that Taxi is not needed.

The city has lots of beautiful parks. Enjoy good food and take it easy, enjoy your visit to Japan.

Japan uses Japanese Yen – JPY.

We recommend a smaller exchange before the trip at Forex or another currency exchanger to be able to pay for transport from the airport if you have decided to activate your Japan Rail Pass at a later date, for food and drink on site upon arrival and so on.

Safe ATMs for cash withdrawals can be found around the city. You don’t have to worry about walking around with larger amounts of cash as the country is very safe. Of course there are jerks in the country, but Japan has extremely few of them.

7-eleven usually has a very good exchange rate at their machines. When withdrawing larger sums such as thousands of euros, it can differ up to hundreds of euros against what you get at Forex if you exchange before the trip. We therefore recommend only bringing a smaller amount and withdrawing more cash on site.

Do not exchange at the airport. Visit a bank or 7-eleven in town.

Tips are not appreciated by the staff and can sometimes be considered disparaging.

If you want to tip, ask the staff beforehand if it is okay. Most likely, you will get a no, as tips are not part of their everyday life.

Looking for another city?

Visit out other travel guides and explore the fantastic country of Japan. We add new destinations weekly and please, feel free to suggest new destinations to the travel guide if you’ve been in Japan before. We appreciate all the suggestions!

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