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Nagoya: Great Food and Sightseeing All In A Day Itinerary - Updated 2021

Nagoya: Great Food and Sightseeing All In A Day Itinerary
Rachel
Rachel
Updated

Located in central Honshu, Nagoya is better known as the industrial hub in Japan. However, do not be quick to dismiss the country’s fourth-largest city as a boring industrial centre with little to see and do. As a modern industrial city, Nagoya is an extensively well-maintained urban centre boasting an interesting mix of traditional and contemporary architecture and a long list of mouth-watering cuisines. Read on to discover a classic itinerary of how you can have a splendid day in Nagoya!

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See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan

1. A classic Nagoya-style breakfast to kickstart your day


We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but not everyone take this seriously like the people in Nagoya. When you are in Nagoya, please wake up early to grab breakfast in the Japanese-style cafe (Kissaten), just like what the locals do. The Kissaten Morning is a classic Nagoya-style breakfast that you can’t find anywhere else. There are lots of Kissaten chains for you to choose from in the famous Sakae and Nagoya Station area, such as Komeda’s Coffee and Kato Coffee Ten. For the price of a beverage, enjoy a traditional ogura (sweet red bean paste) toast with boiled eggs to give you all the energy you need to kickstart the day!

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan

2. Explore Nagoya Castle - one of the largest castles in Japan

Nagoya Castle(Larger)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Base64 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Built in the early Edo Period as the residence of the ruling Owari Tokugawa family, the spectacular Nagoya castle is one of the top attractions in the city. Although most castle buildings were destroyed by US air raids during World War II, reconstructed castles were made in strict accordance with the originals. This is one of the best places in Nagoya for a fascinating history lesson.

Look out for the symbol of the city - a pair of three-metre (10 feet) long kinshachi (golden dolphins) mounted on the main building’s roof. In addition, you must check out the Important Cultural Properties within the castle compounds - the original three corner turrets that have luckily escaped the wartime damage as they are a sight to behold too. Of course, don’t miss a walk in the lovely garden which becomes a popular cherry blossom viewing spot in spring from late March to early April.

Nagoya Castle

Address: 1-1 Honmaru, Naka Ward, Nagoya-city, Aichi Prefecture

Price: 500 JPY (4.70 USD).

Opening Hours: 9am - 4.30pm (last admission at 4pm).

Duration: around 1.5 hours required.

Access: 25-minute bus ride (210 JPY/2 USD or 500 JPY/4.70 USD for a day pass) from Nagoya Station on the Meguru tourist loop bus to the castle’s main gate; or 3-minute walk from Shiyakusho Station on the Meijo Subway Line to the castle’s east gate.

Contact: +81 561-75-6977

Nagoya Castle

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan

3. Appreciate traditional culture and beauty at Tokugawa Art Museum & Garden

Tokugawa Museum 11
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gryffindor used under CC BY 3.0

Within a short bus ride from Nagoya Castle is the Tokugawa Art Museum which houses exhibits of the Owari branch treasures including samurai armour and swords, tea utensils, noh masks and costumes, and more. There is also a beautiful Japanese landscape garden with many walking trails, featuring a large pond and several bridges beside the museum. What you see now is a restored garden of the former retirement residence of the local lords, as the original was destroyed during the war. It is particularly pretty during spring when the peonies and irises bloom, and when the maple leaves turn into a majestic red in autumn!

Tokugawa Art Museum & Garden

Address: 1017/1001 Tokugawa-cho, Higashi-ward, Nagoya-city, Aichi Prefecture

Price: 1,200 JPY (11.35 USD) for Art Museum, 1,350 JPY (12.80 USD) including Garden.

Opening Hours: 10am - 5pm (last admission at 4.30pm) for Art Museum, 9.30am - 5.30pm (last admission at 5pm) for garden.

Duration: around 2 hours required.

Access: 15-minute bus ride (210 JPY, 2 USD or 500 JPY/ 4.70 USD for a day pass) from Nagoya Castle on the Meguru tourist loop bus to Art Museum; or 10-minute walk from Ozone Station.

Contact: +81-52-935-6262 (Art Museum); +81 52 935 8988 (Garden)

Tokugawa Art Museum Tokugawa Garden

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan

4. Check out the treasures at the important Atsuta Shrine

Atsuta Shrine
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bariston used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Proceed south to Atsuta Shrine, one of Shinto’s most important shrines, standing in an attractive wooded park. Founded about 1,900 years ago, Atsuta Shrine is known as the protector of agriculture. During the Meiji Period, the shrine was remodelled after the Ise Shrines in the Shinmei-zukuri architectural style. Of the 4,000 articles donated by the Imperial Family, shoguns, feudal lords and commoners being housed in the Treasure Hall, 174 items have been listed as important cultural assets in the prefecture. Appreciate the strong faith the locals had in the shrine through all these artefacts.

Do include a visit to the Miya Kishimen - Jingu Restaurant (宮きしめん 神宮店) located beside the Minamishinike pond when you are in the shrine grounds. Taste Nagoya’s local speciality - Kishimen (broad flat noodle dish) in this highly acclaimed restaurant with a beautiful view.

Atsuta Shrine

Address: 1 -1-1 Jingu, Atsuta Ward, Nagoya-city, Aichi Prefecture

Price: 300 JPY (2.80 USD) to enter the Treasure Hall.

Opening Hours: always open.

Duration: around 2 hours required.

Access: 5-minute walk from Jingumae Station on the Meitetsu Nagoya Line or Jingunishi Station on the Subway Meijo Line.

Contact: +81 52-671-4151

Atsuta Shrine

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan

5. Osu Shopping District - where shopaholics go wild

Ōsu Shopping District
Source: Photo by Flickr user Michael Zimmer used under CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s time to return to the modern world after several hours of exploring the historical and cultural sights of Nagoya. In between Nagoya Station and Atsuta Shrine is the large Osu Shopping Arcade, with over 400 shops and restaurants to satisfy your urge to shop and dine. As there are numerous shops specialising in electronics, cosplay, anime and J-pop goods here, it is sometimes referred to as Tokyo’s Akihabara district in Nagoya.

Alongside the unique otaku (anime) culture shops, you will also be able to find heaps of tasty local delicacies such as miso katsu and tenmusu in the age-old Osu district. Next to the shopping street is Osu Kannon Temple, a popular ancient Buddhist temple built during the Kamakura Period. Immerse yourself in the exotic charm of this 400-year-old sheltered shopping street as you navigate your way through the amazing hodgepodge ambience here.

Osu Shopping District

Address: Tachibana, Naka Ward, Nagoya-city, Aichi Prefecture

Price: free admission

Opening Hours: depends on shop.

Duration: around 2.5 hours required.

Access: 10-minute walk from Kamimaezu Station on the Tsurumai and Meijo Subway Lines.

Osu Shopping District

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan

6. Discover amazing marine life at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium

Orca assassina - Killer whale - Nagoya Aquarium - Japan (15677930249)
Source: Photo by user Cesar I. Martins used under CC BY 2.0

Nagoya is an important shipping hub of Japan with one of the country’s largest ports to the south of the city centre. The Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium was constructed in a bid to educate the public on the abundant marine life in the ocean and how best to conserve this precious natural environment. Discover the extensive marine life from five aquatic regions between Japan and the Antarctic Ocean housed in the spacious two-building complex. Popular exhibits include the dolphins, orca and beluga whales and you can also look forward to the adorable dolphin performance scheduled thrice a day.

Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium

Address: 1-3 Minato-Machi, Minato Ward, Nagoya-city, Aichi Prefecture

Price: 2,000 JPY (18.90 USD)

Opening Hours: 9.30am - 5.30pm, extended to 8pm during Golden Week and summer vacation, closed at 5pm during winter from December to March except Christmas Eve. Last admission is 1 hour before closing time.

Duration: around 1.5 hours required.

Access: short walk from Nagoyako Station on the Meiko Subway Line.

Contact: +81 52-654-7080

Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan

7. Marvel at Fuji, a one-of-a-kind floating Antarctic Museum

Antarctic Museum (retired Icebreaker Fuji) - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hideki75 used under CC BY 3.0

Located opposite the aquarium, sitting in the Nagoya Port’s garden wharf is the majestic orange white Japanese Antarctic survey ship, Fuji icebreaker. Fuji had been through glorious days as an ice breaker plying the South Pole for 18 years before retiring to become a unique floating maritime Museum in 1985 by the port. Go on an informative tour of the three-level vessel showcasing the arduous life of the research crew during Antarctic research missions. In front of the ship on the dock is the noteworthy tribute statue to the hero sled dogs Taro and Jiro. The dogs were left behind on a mission in the mid-50s, but miraculously survived in the freezing conditions in the Antarctic till a year later when they were found.

Fuji Antarctic Museum

Address: 1-9 Minatomachi, Minato Ward, Nagoya-city, Aichi Prefecture

Price: 300 JPY (2.80 USD)

Opening Hours: 9.30am - 5pm (last admission at 4.30pm). Closed on Mondays (or the following day if Monday is a national holiday) and New Year holidays.

Duration: around 1 hour required.

Access: short walk from Nagoyako Station on the Meiko Subway Line.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan

8. End the day with the iconic night views in the downtown Sakae district

Japan - Nagoya TV Tower
Source: Photo by user Faustino Garcia used under CC BY 2.0

No trip to Nagoya city is complete without stepping foot onto the vibrant downtown in Sakae district. The vibrant downtown offers a myriad of stylish shopping malls and dining options to suit all budgets. Besides all the shopping and feasting in Sakae district, do not miss two iconic landmarks boasting enchanting night views of the city.

First, head to the Nagoya TV Tower, which was completed in 1954 as the first TV tower of its kind in Japan. Enjoy a panoramic view of the entire Nagoya city from the observatory 100 metres (328 feet) above ground. It is especially alluring with illuminated lights at night.

Next, visit the unique spaceship-shaped Oasis 21 complex, which is just in front of the old tower. Enjoy a breezy stroll at its “Spaceship Aqua” located on the top floor of this 4-level eco-friendly mall. At night, the spaceship looks particularly enchanting with the smart use of illuminated LED lights combined with the soothing water flow. The contrasting old-meets-new sight of these two Nagoya icons is a sight you will remember for a long time.

Nagoya TV Tower

Address: 3-6-15, Nishiki, Naka Ward, Nagoya-city, Aichi Prefecture

Price: 700 JPY (6.60 USD).

Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm from April to December, 10am - 9pm from January to March. Last admission 20 minutes before closing.

Duration: around 30 minutes required.

Access: 3-minute walk from Sakae Station on the Higashiyama Line.

Contact: +81 52-971-8546

Nagoya TV Tower

Oasis 21

Address: 1-11-1, Higashisakura, Higashi Ward, Nagoya-city, Aichi Prefecture

Price: free admission.

Opening Hours: 10am - 9pm.

Duration: around 30 minutes required.

Access: 3-minute walk from Sakae Station on the Higashiyama Line.

Contact: +81 52-962-1011

Oasis 21

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nagoya, Aichi (prefecture), Japan

So little time, so much to enjoy in the city of Nagoya

Miso katsu, kishimen, tenmusu - yummy local food ✓

Nagoya Castle, Tokugawa Art Museum, Atsuta Shrine, Osu shopping district - historical sights ✓

Nagoya TV Tower, Oasis 21, Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium - modern sights ✓

The above list of things to do is just a small part of the long list of activities to enjoy in the city. One day is simply not enough for you to engage in the city’s interesting destinations at a leisurely pace. Do allow more time to soak in the charms of Nagoya city for your next trip!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Rachel has forgotten when and exactly how she caught the travel bug. What she does remember is the triumphant feeling she enjoys when she sees the fascinating world out there with her own eyes. She...Read more

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