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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 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 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 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 trying the temple’s version of Kishimen noodles, a true local Nagoya specialty.

entrance orange tempel


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 opposites make the temple a little extra interesting and worth a visit.

toyota logo 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


If you haven’t had enough 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


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, a tea house, and a garden with flowering irises and peonies. The museum is an exciting destination for Japanese culture and history and is worth a visit.

sculture buildings


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


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


The Miraitornet (Chubu Electric Power MIRAI TOWER), which stretches 100 meters above the ground, was constructed to attract tourists and improve 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 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 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


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 is Nagoya’s first municipal park which opened already at the beginning of the 20th century. Here there are several 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


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 visitors 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


The Japanese can’t seem to get enough of their 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

Two to three days are typically enough to explore Nagoya and its main attractions. This allows you to visit key sights like the Nagoya Castle, the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, and Atsuta Shrine. On top of this, you can enjoy local cuisine, like the famous Nagoya Cochin chicken and hitsumabushi (grilled eel), making a short stay in Nagoya both enriching and enjoyable.

The best month to visit Nagoya is October. During this time, the weather is mild and pleasant, perfect for exploring the city comfortably. October also offers the chance to see the autumn leaves beginning to change color, adding a beautiful backdrop to Nagoya’s parks and historical sites.

The Shinkansen ride from Tokyo to Nagoya takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, offering a quick way to travel between these two cities. For those planning multiple train journeys in Japan, purchasing a Japan Rail Pass before your trip can be a great option. Getjrpass is an official reseller of JR Passes, and we provide international shipping options, making it convenient to have your pass ready before you arrive in Japan.

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