Nagoya, the fourth-most populous city in Japan, has long been an agricultural and economic center due to its strategic location along the fertile Nobi Plain. This large city assures a convenient expedition with its network of modern streets and world-class attractions. Nagoya has become an epicenter for any interest that its rich heritage and culture continuously appeal to every generation of travelers. Explore this region like no other, stay in quaint budget hotels or unique capsule hotels, and indulge in its unique food scene. Its strong and distinctive culinary tradition sets it apart from its neighbors – Kyoto and Osaka. This region is as wide as its flavors and specialties. Ready for a food crawl? Discover these must-try food in Nagoya.
1. Miso oden – Nagoya's take on Odens
Odens are Japanese one-pot dishes widely known as an everyday staple across different regions and households. The ingredients used and added to this traditional dish commonly vary–that is why no two odens are the same. In the Nagoya region, there is a unique oden called miso oden. Nagoya’s popular hatcho miso, a culinary paste made only from soybeans and salt, is integrated into their odens to create the hearty and full-bodied miso oden.
The preparation involved in this Nagoya specialty is similar to regular odens but the ingredients spell the difference. For the locals, the thick soup is best paired with potatoes, pork belly, boiled eggs, and udon noodles. One of the best restaurants in Nagoya that serve this dish is Doteyaki Shimamasa, a long-established Japanese restaurant offering authentic Nagoya gourmet. Start your food crawl at Doteyaki Shimamasa with a miso oden.
Address: 2-1-19 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi 460-0008
Website: Doteyaki Shimamasa
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 5pm - 10pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
2. Ogura toast – perfect for a Japanese-themed breakfast
Looking for a Nagoya-style breakfast? Ogura toast is everything you need to jump-start your day. This intriguing dish is a thickly sliced toasted bread topped with sweet red bean paste and, occasionally, butter and fresh whipped cream. It is a Japanese breakfast staple that originated in Nagoya around 1921 during the period when European influence was prevalent in the region.
The Japanese toasted bread used for preparing ogura toast in the traditional way is called the shokupan, which is thicker than the standard Western toast. On the other hand, ogura is a form of jam or sweet filling made from red beans. The result is a sweet and flavorful dish that is easy on the stomach.
Ogura toast has become a famous food in Nagoya that is widely served in cafes. Ogura toast langue de chats, French cookie versions of this specialty, are ideal souvenirs to take home. Try it first at Coffee Shop KAKO–just make sure to catch their morning menu to taste the famed ogura toast.
Coffee Shop KAKO
Address: 5-chome-16-17 Meieki Nakamura Ward Nagoya Aichi
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 7pm; Sat - Sun: 7am - 5pm
3. Doteni – sweet and exotic stew
Another hatcho miso-inspired specialty from Nagoya is doteni. It is a rich dish of stewed beef tendon and intestines, eggs, and daikon radish using miso broth. The slowly simmered exotic animal parts create a soft sweet flavor that fully incorporates with the miso sauce. This dish can also be enjoyed at Doteyaki Shimamasa, so ordering a feast of Nagoya gourmet dishes will be a wise choice.
Doteni is a trademark of the region that many households have developed their family recipe. A well-loved dish for many generations, it is finished off with chopped scallions when served until today. This dish is best enjoyed with Japanese beer or sake under cold weather. If you’re into sweet and exotic meat dishes, then doteni is a must-try!
Address: 2-1-19 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi 460-0008
Website: Doteyaki Shimamasa
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 5pm - 10pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
You might be interested in these Airbnbs!
4. Miso katsu – Nagoya’s no. 1 specialty
The popular Tonkatsu dish, which is deep fried pork cutlets served with shredded cabbage and rice, can be found all over Japan. But what makes Nagoya’s version unique is the thick miso sauce used instead of the traditional tonkatsu sauce. This results in a rich and earthy flavour with a tinge of sweetness that complements the flavor of the crispy deep fried pork cutlet.
To taste this no. 1 local speciality, head to Misokatsu Yabaton - Yabacho Restaurant which has been around for almost 70 years! The winning factor of a perfect plate of miso katsu lies in its traditional miso sauce, which is made from natural soybean miso that takes 18 months to ferment.
Misokatsu Yabaton - Yabacho Restaurant (みそかつ 矢場とん 矢場町本店)
Address: 3-6-18 Osu, Naka-ku, Nagoya-city
Price: from 12.60 USD
Opening Hours: 11am - 9pm daily
Access: 5 minutes’ walk from Yaba-cho station of Subway Meijo Line or Kamimaezu station of Subway Tsurumai Line
Contact: +81 52-252-8810
5. Ebi furai – a popular side dish with Japanese bentos
Ebi furai, or shrimp fritters, are almost always found in Nagoya’s bentos (Japanese lunch boxes). They are a great accompaniment to almost any main dish, such as the spaghetti, misonikomi and oyakodon. For an unforgettable taste of the ebi furai platter, check out Misokatsu Yabaton - Yabacho Restaurant, also great for its miso katsu. Kill two birds with one stone just by visiting one restaurant (see restaurant information above)!
People in Nagoya love the miso taste. Besides the miso katsu, you will also be able to seek comfort in the misonikomi, which is noodles in miso broth. The Nagoya-style noodles use the salty red miso paste known as haccho-miso, made only from beans without using koji rice malt. Another unique feature of this dish is its serving style: the dish is boiled and served piping hot in a small earthen pot.
For an authentic taste of the misonikomi, you can check out Yamamotoya ookute for its selection of noodles in miso broth with different toppings such as egg, mushroom and chicken. It is a traditional eatery that has maintained its traditional flavour since 1925.
Yamamotoya ookute (山本屋 大久手店)
Address: 5-9-2, Okute, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya-shi
Price: from 8.70 USD
Opening Hours: 11am - 10pm. Closed every Monday. If Monday is a national holiday, it will be closed on Tuesday too.
Access: 3 minutes’ walk from Exit 1 Fukiage Station on Subway Sakuradori line
Did you know that the Aichi Prefecture is the top eel-producing region in Japan? Since Nagoya is the prefecture’s capital, you must try the special Hitsumabushi - grilled eel on rice - when in the city!
In Nagoya, the eel is slit open along the belly and grilled as a whole fish. There is also a special local way to enjoy this dish. The eel dish is first divided into four portions. Put the first portion into your bowl and enjoy as it is. For the second helping, add your preferred condiments like wasabi, nori dried laver, or mitsuba trefoil. Then, enjoy the third portion in the same manner as the second portion, with the addition of green tea or broth poured over it. Finally, savour the remaining portion in any of the three methods you like the most!
Indulge in an authentic Hitsumabushi meal at Atsuta Horaiken, which was originally founded in 1873 at Atsuta Jingu Shrine. In fact, the name “Hitsumabushi” was coined at Atsuta Horaiken and is now a registered trademark of this ancient traditional restaurant.
あつた蓬莱軒 Atsuta Horaiken
Address: 503 Godo-cho, Atsuta-ku, Nagoya-city
Price: from 35 USD
Opening Hours: Lunch - 11.30am - 2pm. Dinner - 4.30pm - 8.30pm Closed every Wednesday, 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month except for national holidays.
Access: 7 minutes’ walk from exit No.4 of Tenma-cho station, Subway Meijo line
Contact: +81 52-671-8686
Nagoya: Private and Personalized Eat Like a Local Tour
Duration: 3 hour
8. Oyakodon – a cute “parent and child” rice bowl dish
Oyakodon, which literally means “parent and child” rice bowl dish, is a cute reflection of the fact that both chicken and egg are used in the dish. It may be a simple dish, but it is very popular among locals because of its simplicity and rich flavour.
For a delicious bowl of wholesome Oyakodon with tender and succulent chicken thigh meat simmered in a sweet soy-sauce, with egg topping on a fragrant bowl of Japanese rice, you should check out Tetsuemon.
Address: Nagoya umaimon street, 1-1-4, Meieki, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya-city
Price: from 8.60 USD
Opening Hours: 11am - 11pm daily
Access: 1-minute walk from JR Nagoya Station
Contact: +81 52-589-1255
9. Ankake spaghetti – pan fried spaghetti topped with Chinese-inspired sauce
Spaghetti may be a common dish in Western countries and might be considered offbeat in the places to eat in Nagoya. But wait, skip that thought and try Ankake spaghetti which is the region’s take on the traditional spaghetti we know. The thick spaghetti noodles are pan fried and topped with the sticky spicy sauce inspired by Chinese cooking. Common toppings to the spaghetti include Vienna sausages, Ebi Furai (shrimp fritters), onions, and green peppers. Check out the original Ankake spaghetti at Spaghetti House Sole, where the dish was first created.
そーれ Spaghetti House Sole
Address: 103 Aishin Plaza Building 4-9-10 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya-city
Price: from 8.30 USD
Opening Hours: Lunch - 11am - 3pm. Dinner - 5pm - midnight. Closed every Sunday and only open for lunch on public holidays
Access: 3 minutes’ walk from Sakae station of Subway Higashiyama and Meijo Line
Contact: +81 52-265-3990
10. Kishimen – an age-old local specialty since the early Edo Period
Kishimen is a broad and flat type of noodles common in Nagoya, a local specialty since the early Edo Period. The broth is seasoned with a touch of sweet sake, using a stronger soybean sauce compared to the normal soy sauce produced with soy and wheat. Popular toppings for the dish include steamed fish cake, deep fried bean curd and spinach. Dried bonito flakes are sprinkled on the dish before serving.
A great place to taste this dish is the Miya Kishimen - Jingu Restaurant (宮きしめん 神宮店). Located beside the Minamishinike pond on the grounds of Atsuta Jingu Shrine, enjoy your delectable meal with a view.
Miya Kishimen - Jingu Restaurant (宮きしめん 神宮店)
Address: Atsuta Jingu Shrine, 1-1-1, Jingu, Atsuta-ku, Nagoya-city
Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm daily
Access: 5 minutes’ walk from Jingumae station of Meitetsu line; 8 minutes’ walk from JR Atsuta station.
Contact: +81 52-682-6340
An alternative to onigiri, tenmusu is a convenient food for eating on the go. It may look like just a small and ordinary rice ball but take a closer look at this local delight, and you will see the tip of the shrimp fritter sticking out from the rice ball. The ocean flavour of the shrimp and dried laver brings just the right amount of saltiness to enhance the taste of the rice ball, without the need for salt.
Try them at the popular Senju - Nagoya-Famous Temmusu where you can eat in the store during lunch time from 12pm to 2pm. Caution: Once you start popping a couple of tenmusu into your mouth, you may get addicted to this yummy snack!
Senju - Nagoya-Famous Temmusu (めいぶつ天むす 千寿)
Address: 4-10-82 Osu, Naka-ku, Nagoya-city
Price: from 7.40 USD for a pack of 5 tenmusu
Opening Hours: 8.30am - 6pm. Closed every Tuesday and Wednesday
Access: 3 minutes’ walk from Kamimaezu station of Subway Meijo line
Contact: +81 52-262-0466
Nagoya: Traditional Japanese Cuisine Cooking Class with Local
Duration: 4 hours
12. Tebasaki – the Japanese-style fried chicken everyone loves
Still undecided on what to eat in Nagoya? Try Tebasaki if you’re a big fan of chicken wings. It is a Japanese-style fried chicken wingtip. These spicy wingtips go very well with beer or sake. Traditionally, wingtips are not usually used in cooking because they have very little meat. However, in Nagoya, they have become a hit with locals because of the creative way to double fry them for a crisp finish. This delicacy has become so popular that you can also find Tebasaki-flavoured ice cream and snacks now. Head to the famous Izakaya restaurant, Sekai no Yama-chan - Sasashima Restaurant, for a really tasty version of the tebasaki!
世界の山ちゃん Sekai no Yama-chan - Sasashima Restaurant
Address: 4-24-24, Meieki, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya-city
Price: from 19.50 USD
Opening Hours: 5pm - 12.15am on weekdays, 5pm - 11.15pm on Sundays and national holidays
Access: 7 minutes’ walk from central entrance of Meitetu Nagoya station
Contact: +81 52-571-2106
13. Nagoya-style breakfast – enjoy your morning in a Japanese-style café
Coffee shops are everywhere in Nagoya and they have become an important part of life where locals go to relax and gather with family and friends. As part of excellent “morning service”, the coffee shops offer free breakfast deals, usually consisting of toast, hard-boiled egg and salad with just a cup of coffee purchased. Sounds like an awesome deal, doesn’t it?
To enjoy this incredible “morning service”, visit Shirakabe Cafe Hanagoyomi with a wide variety of items on the menu at affordable prices.
Shirakabe Cafe Hanagoyomi (白壁カフェ 花ごよみ）
Address: Abania Chikara-machi 1F, 4-72, Chikara-machi, Higashi-ku, Nagoya-city
Opening Hours: 7:30am - 11pm; Morning (breakfast special) 7:30am - 10am; Lunch 11am - 2pm. Closed year end and new year holidays.
Access: 10 minutes’ walk from Takaoka Station of Subway Sakuradori Line
Contact: +81 52-931-2346
14. Goheimochi – a simple yet tasty dish originating from the village
Made from mashed Uruchi rice, the goheimochi is a local specialty of Mikawa district. The delicacy comes in a variety of shapes and flavours, but the most popular one is a large oval-shaped piece which is skewered and grilled with sweet and thick miso paste, the favourite local sauce. Head to the oku-Mikawa area where you can have your fill from the 25 shops selling different varieties of the fluffy and yummy rice cake!
Uiro is a chewy Japanese steamed dessert made of rice flour and a little sugar. Its texture may be similar to mochi, but feels softer like jelly.Traditional flavours include the yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit), matcha (Japanese green tea), sweet bean paste and chestnut paste. Best enjoyed over a relaxing matcha session with your loved ones, you can purchase this tasty dessert from one of the many Toraya Uiro stores in Nagoya.
虎屋ういろ Toraya Uiro
Address: refer to list of outlets on company website
Price: from 4.90 USD
Opening Hours: store hours vary
Are you ready to feast in Nagoya?
In addition to these must-try food recommended above, there are many more delicacies waiting to be discovered in Nagoya, the largest city in the Chubu region of Japan! Take your pick from the numerous cafes and restaurants and eat to your heart’s content in Nagoya! Enjoy the foodie tour!
Pin it for later
If you enjoyed this article, share it with your friends on Facebook and save it to Pinterest for future reference!
Frequently asked questions about Nagoya foods
1. What food is Nagoya famous for?
Nagoya food provides an opportunity to taste the region’s flavorful and rich cuisine. Tourists and locals alike always look forward to trying these popular dishes: i) miso oden and katsu, ii) doteni, iii) tenmusu, iv) ogura toast.
2. What is the famous seasoning produced in Nagoya?
The secret ingredient to most Japanese dishes is the miso, a paste made from fermented soybeans. Nagoya’s version is hatcho miso, a strong and dark red miso paste. Generally, miso paste gets darker and more complex in flavor as it ages.
Get Trip101 in your inbox