Aichi is the biggest city in the Chubu region of Japan. It has over 7.5 million population, and the capital prefecture Nagoya has a function as a business and transportation hub. Manufacturing is a main industry as the world-famous company Toyota has its headquarters in Aichi. In addition, it offers a number of entertaining spots for tourists to learn about the history and uniqueness of the region as well. Aichi is easily accessible from Tokyo or Osaka so adding it to your travel list will be a good idea! In this article, we will introduce the top 10 things to do and places to go in Aichi.
1. Nagoya Castle
Nagoya Castle is an iconic landmark in Nagoya city. It was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, who opened the Tokugawa Shogunate and governed the whole country for about 260 years during the Edo era. Most of the original constructions were burned down by fire during the WW2, but the main five story castle tower was restored in 1959. It is designated as National Special Historic Site and visited by a number of tourists all year round.
There is a special street called “Kinshachi Yokocho” just outside the gates of the castle. The newly opened tourist attraction contains many small shops, restaurants, and cafes standing along a cozy street. Visitors can enjoy local dishes and buy merchandise with a logo or pictures of the castle!
Opening Hours 9am – 4.30pm
Admission ¥500 (Adults) ¥100 (Nagoya city senior citizen) Admission free (junior high school students and younger)
2. Osu area
Osu area refers to a busy shopping district full of lively small shops selling a large variety of products. It was once a shopping arcade for local people, but later revitalized as a center of modern fashion and other new cultures. With the unique features and welcoming atmosphere, it is becoming more popular among young generations and foreign tourists. Visitors can find common activities and spots including tasty local food and historical spots including “Osu Kannon”, a representative Buddhist temple in the area. On the other hand, it is a perfect place to learn about other sides of Japan such as subculture, anime, manga and more! It offers enjoyable experience for everyone regardless of age and backgrounds.
3. Inuyama Castle
Along with Nagoya Castle, Inuyama Castle is a famous historical spot in Aichi built in 1537. It is listed among the 12 original-constructed castles in Japan which maintain original main towers built during the Edo era or earlier. It stands on a small hillside overlooking the Kiso river near the prefectural border between Aichi and Gifu. The surroundings boast a plenty of nature which offers a peaceful atmosphere for visitors. The castle town nearby is full of Japanese traditional buildings which are well-preserved. In recent years, it has been attracting a number of tourists as a popular sightseeing spot where you can enjoy tasty dishes and find small gifts as well.
Opening Hours 9am-5pm
Admission ¥550 (Adults) ¥110 (children less than 14 years old)
Meijimura is an unique theme park located in Inuyama city. It aims to contribute to preserve the valuable constructions and properties from the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa era. There is a number of historical buildings moved and reconstructed there from the original location, and 16 of them are officially designated as Important Cultural Property. As the third largest theme park in Japan, it has been visited by many tourists not only form overseas but also inside Japan. They regularly hold special events such as mystery solving attraction. Visitors can participate in those events and explore the park to get a clue to solve the mystery! Restaurants and souvenir shops are also available.
※Opening hours vary for each month. Visit their website for details.
Admission ¥2,000 (adults)
There are three islands which are popular among tourists as a sightseeing spot in the Mikawa bay. One of them is called “Himakajima”, which is famous for octopus and blowfish. The entire island is included in the Mikawa wan Quasi-National Park. It is recognized as the closest island from Nagoya, and several transportations are available to get to the island from ports nearby. There are variety of activities offering different excitements, so it is all up to you how to spend time in the relaxing island with rich nature and sightseeing spots! You can play with dolphins, unwind at a relaxing beach, try fresh seafood, or just take a stroll around the island while feeling the sea breeze.
6. Sakushima Island
Sakushima is another island located in the Mikawa bay. The basic concept is similar to Himakajima island, but it features a number of unique art works which can be found everywhere on the island. Some of them are open-air exhibited, and visitors can take a picture and directly touch them for free. The artificial works create a photogenic scenery in harmony with the uninhabited nature around. It is also called “the island of cats”, so you might encounter adorable wild cats while exploring the island. There are no traffic lights and convenient stores, and it feels like time goes by slowly on the island. There are some nice restaurants and cafes that serve refreshing drinks and lovely dishes with freshly caught seafood.
7. Chubu Centrair International Airport
Chubu Centrair International Airport serves as a center for domestic and international flights which connects the region to other areas and countries around the world. It is relatively small compared to other main international airports such as Narita International airport, but still enjoyable for those who have no flight plan as well. There are a number of restaurants and shops offering local foods and special merchandise that you can get only there. You don’t need to pay anything to explore the shopping area, and it also offers an open-air observation deck where you can watch the airplanes taking off and landing. Observation public bath called “Fu no Yu” helps you get rid of exhaustion while watching the airplanes and the beautiful sunset from a wide window.
Opening Hours ※Opening hours vary for each shop.
Close to the airport, you can find the Pottery Footpath. You can walk along the street with the unique scenery and lean the history of Tokoname Yaki pottery. Along the streets you will see some cat statues including a big Manekineko (lucky cat). If you have to wait at the airport or decided to come to this area, this is a great place to visit!
8. Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium
If you are looking for somewhere enjoyable for family, Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium could be a perfect destination for you! It is one of the most famous aquariums in Japan opened in 1992. It boats a large collection of marine creatures over 500 species which are exhibited in various ways to entertain visitors. Visitors can enjoy exciting shows performed by large animals such as dolphins and killer whales at the huge tank. They also offer several informative events which enables visitors to learn about the marine ecosystems. It is a perfect opportunity for kids to deepen their understanding of wild life through interesting programs!
Opening Hours 9.30am-5.30pm
Admission ¥2,030 (adults)
Nagoya has a unique food culture called “Nagoya Meshi”, and “Misokatsu” is what you shouldn’t miss once you visit there! The deep-fried pork cutlet with miso sauce offers an unforgettable taste even for those who have never tried it before. The rich miso taste goes well with while rice which is often served altogether at local restaurants. The miso sauce is slightly sweet, so it is recommendable for kids and who doesn’t like spicy food. There are a number of Misokatsu restaurants around the city, so please find your favorite and enjoy the specialty in Nagoya!
10. Breakfast Culture
As everyone knows, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Aichi has an appreciable breakfast culture that could be beneficial to know before you visit there. They love to have a big breakfast at a cafe that can be found everywhere in the area. If you order a coffee, it is often served with other meals such as boiled eggs, breads, salad, and so on. You can enjoy everything for a price of coffee, and this surprising culture is specific to Aichi and few regions around! If you get a chance to go to a local cafe, why don’t you check their breakfast menu and try the unique culture?
Don’t forget to check out our private tour!
If you need some help to organize your trip to Aichi, you should definitely check out our private tour including English guide. We’re glad to help you make your trip to Aichi a safe, comfortable, and unforgettable memory!
1. Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
It takes one and a half hours to get to Aichi from Tokyo by Shinkansen. It is advisable to participate in our popular tour in Tokyo before heading to Aichi!
2. Mt. Fuji Highlight Private Walking Tour (7 Hours)
Mt. Fuji is located in Shizuoka prefecture which shares border with Aichi. We will take you to the highlights around the sacred mountain.
Where to stay in Aichi
Nagoya Prince Hotel Sky Tower – 13 minutes walk away from Nagoya station and easy access to the sightseeing spots, night view over the city from the room is stunning.
Akariya Geihanro – Beautifully designed ryokan with onsen hot spring, Japanese style suite room with river view or castle view will be recommended to book.
Ryokan Syuku Kaifu – This ryokan is located along the coast and it offers an open-air onsen hot spring with magnificent view of the ocean. Relaxing bath time at sunset or under the full of stars would be the best experience of your trip.
Aichi is where nature and historical sites coexist with the urbanized areas. With easy access and a wide variety of features, it offers fun and memorable experiences for everyone.
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