You might be wondering what’s there to do in Nagoya, or how long you should stay in there for. While it’s entirely up to you, I managed to cover the city in less than 12 hours before heading back to Tokyo!
Here’s what went down in Nagoya after my 2.5 hour Shinkansen ride from Tokyo Station:
1. Toyota Automobile Museum
If you either like cars, history, or both, then this is for you!
The Toyota Automobile Museum is located at its headquarters in the Aichi prefecture of Nagoya. It’s more than just a museum showcasing the history of Japan’s largest automotive manufacturer: it also features automobiles from Japan, the US and Europe. The museum has done a great example of choosing #communityovercompetition by including cars from other brands in order to give a complete overview of the history of cars and acknowledging that the dawn of the automobile began way before the birth of the Japanese car.
While I may not be a motor head, it was interesting to read up on the technological progression of automobiles, how it the auto industry was severely affected during historical events (i.e: WW2), along with its highly-debatable socioeconomic importance.
Did you know that because society grew increasingly dependent on owning cars, it shaped way the cities were built (e.g: the rise of suburbs, suburban malls, highways and traffic jams) and influenced consumer behaviour too (e.g: housing decisions, buying fast food via drive-thrus)? Reading all about this reminds me of that one semester in first year uni studying about the urban environments.
Address: 41-100 Yokomichi, Nagakute City, Aichi Prefecture 480-1118, Japan
Opening Hours: 9:30-17:00 (No entry after 16:30), except Monday (or Tuesday when Monday falls on a public holiday), the Year-end and New Year period
2. Nagoya Castle
The first thought that came to mind when I saw Nagoya Castle is that it looked very much like the Osaka Castle, except that it was less crowded in Nagoya Castle and these two castles have their own unique characteristics to tell them apart (such as the golden dolphins found in the Nagoya Castle).
Address: 1-1 Honmaru, Naka-ku, Nagoya
Opening Hours: 9:00-16:30 (Entries close at 16:00), every day except 29th December until 1st January
3. Buy Calbee’s Jagarico Tebaski-Flavoured Potato Sticks
Recommending this because I am a fan of Jagarico potato sticks when I first tried them in 2015. I first saw the Tebaski (fried chicken with black pepper) flavour at the Toyota Automobile Museum and upon realising that it is only found in Nagoya (just like how I learnt that you can only find the Takoyaki flavoured Jagarico in Osaka), I snapped it up when I saw it again at Nagoya Castle. It makes a pretty good snack and a souvenir too!
4. Watch the sunset at Oasis 21
If someone were to take a drone shot overlooking Oasis 21, it would look like a spaceship. Living true to its shape, this complex has a observation deck called Spaceship Aqua, where you can get a good view of the Nagoya TV tower and the Coca-Cola LED lights. There isn’t much to do here other than to enjoy the view, but it’s a good place to recharge in between your destinations. Also makes a great spot to visit if you love architecturally-splendid structures or want to know more about how eco-friendly it is!
Address: 1-11-1 Higashisakura, Higashi-ku, Nagoya
Opening Hours: Spaceship Aqua 10:00-21:00
Restaurants 10:00-22:00 (Business hours vary by shop)
5. Eat Unagi in 4 different ways (Hitsumabushi)
You have probably heard or tucked into a bowl of Unagi Don before, but did you know that Nagoya has a similar dish called the hitsumabushi? It’s also grilled eel on rice, but there are three to four unique ways of eating it! It’s such a popular dish in Nagoya that I had to find a restaurant with the shorter queue to enjoy this dish after a full day of wandering around. Nevertheless, having it at at Maruya Honten’s JR Nagoya branch was worth the wait!
Find out how you can enjoy the hitsumabushi by watching this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-9mcCZ80So
The methods of eating are also readily available in the restaurants in the form of pictorial guides, so don’t worry about having to memorise how to enjoy this dish! Otherwise, the friendly staff waiting the tables are more than happy to give you a quick walkthrough.
Address: Nagoya-shi Nakamura-ku Nomiya 1 - chome 1 - chome station 1 street Nagoya Umai Street (JR Nagoya Station)
Opening Hours: 11:00-23:00
There you have it, 5 things to do in Nagoya in 12 hours (or less)!
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