Nagoya is one of the biggest cities in Japan located in Aichi prefecture. Being at the convenient location between Tokyo and Osaka, many tourists visit there every year. And if you are planning to visit the first Studio Ghibli Park that opened in November 2022, combine the other attractions in Nagoya for your trip!
Thanks to the convenient transportation system, you can get around the main tourist spots in Nagoya in one or two days.
Here we introduce the best things to do in Nagoya.
1. Have a “Morning”, breakfast at Nagoya Station
When you travel to Nagoya City by highway bus or Shinkansen from Tokyo or Kyoto, you will get to Nagoya Station. Nagoya Station connects to the main spots by subway, so you can start your trip easily! If you get there in the morning, have breakfast here at the station. There are many restaurants in the station buildings and around the station too. Actually, breakfast is what Nagoya is famous for― when you order a drink, usually, bread, salad, and boiled egg will come along at the price of a drink! This style of breakfast is called “Morning” in Japanese.
We recommend Konparu and KAKO BUCYO COFFEE for a tasty breakfast. Try one of the best Nagoya’s specialty Ogura Toast which is a buttered toast with sweetened red beans on top.
2. Visit Nagoya Castle
Do you know what is the symbol of Nagoya? It’s Shachihoko, and you can find it on the top of Nagoya Castle. Shachihoko is a legendary creature with a head of a dragon and a body of a fish. People set it on the castle’s roof since it is believed to protect the castle from fire.
Originally Nagoya Castle was built in 1610 but was destroyed during the war. However, Honmaru Goten was reconstructed and completed in 2018 and many visitors come to see its outstanding beauty.
5 minutes walk from Meijo Line Shiyakusho Station
Or get off at Nagoya Castle Bus Stop (Nagoya Sightseeing Rout Bus Meguru)
3. Stroll around the Sakae Area
If you want to go shopping, or just stroll around the exciting city, Sakae is a good destination for you. It is the center of Nagoya and the most urban area.
Oasis 21 is a modern facility that has some restaurants and shops, and also a convenient bus terminal. Its rooftop is called Spaceship-Aqua, where water is running on the surface of the glass. You can also enjoy the illumination in the evening.
Another iconic building in Sakae is Chubu Electric Power MIRAI TOWER. Enjoy the panorama view from the observation deck at 90 meters above the ground. There are mirrors on the ceiling and floor at the observation deck so that you can see the reflection of the city view. Don’t miss the project mapping at night too! You can also enjoy the trendy cafes and shops at the foot of the tower.
Get off at Sakae Station
4. Shopping at Osu District
Visit Osu Shotengai (shopping district), where small stores and restaurants line up the street.
There are a variety of shops and restaurants such as thrift stores, a Japanese Unagi (eel) restaurant, a Brazilian restaurant, an Italian restaurant which is run by the world pizza-making champion, maid cafes, and an Alice in Wonderland-themed concept shop, etc.
It’s also fun to just walk around and try some finger foods. Taiwanese fried chicken and bubble tea are popular picks for the locals.
You can also find a big statue of Manekineko (lucky cats) and the unique temple Banshoji where you can see the digital show on the dragon statue in front of the temple!
Get off at Osukannon Station or Kamimaezu Station
5. Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens is about 60ha, and there is a zoo, botanical garden, small theme park, and Higashiyama Sky Tower. The zoo has about 500 different species which is the biggest number in Japan. One of the popular animals is a handsome gorilla who attracts many tourists from all over Japan!
The botanical garden has about 7,000 different kinds of plants and is the oldest greenhouse in Japan. At Higashiyama Sky Tower, you can look over the city of Nagoya including the TV Tower and Nagoya Dome. If the wealth er is clear, you can even look at Mt. Ontake and Suzuka mountain ranges.
3 minutes walk from Higashiyama Line Higashiyama Koen Station
7 minutes walk from Higashiyama Line Hoshigaoka Station
Opening hours 9am – 4:30pm
Monday and New Years (December 29th to January 1st) closed
Admission fee 500 yen (Adult) 100 yen (65 years old and above)
6. Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium
Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium is one of the biggest aquariums in Japan. It’s also known as one of a few aquariums where you can see a killer whale. You can learn about aquatic animals and history through each exhibition. Sardine Tornado is a must-see show, the best part is over 35,000 schools of sardines move together while changing their shape as the aquarist moves the bag of their feed.
Also, don’t forget to watch the amazing dolphin shows too!
5 minutes walk from Nagoyako Station
Opening hours 9:30am-5:30pm
Admission fee 2,030 yen (adult) 1,010 yen (elementary & junior high school students) 500 yen (4 years old and above)
7. Learn the History at Atsuta Jingu
Atsuta Jingu is one of the most important shrines in Japan. It was built over 1,900 years ago and enshrines Amaterasu Omikami who is the deity of the sun and stores one of the three sacred treasures, Kusanagi no mitsurugi. This sacred sword is not open to the public but you can see over 6,000 historical items at the museum. Even though the shrine is located in the city, there is a little forest that allows you to enjoy a quiet walk at the shrine.
3 minutes walk from Meitetsu Nagoya Honsen Tokoname Line Jingumae Station
1 minute walk from Meijo Line Jingunishi Station
8. Take a Memorable Photo at Nagoya City Hall
Nagoya City Hall is known for being used for many movie shoots. It’s a mix of modern and traditional styles of architecture. The clock tower and Shachihoko stand proudly to overlook the city.
Inside the building, when you enter the city hall, the marble stairs in the main hall welcome visitors. This marble was a leftover from National Diet Building in Tokyo and there are only two places in Japan to use this marble! Another iconic place is the long corridor which is a popular place for shooting. You can visit and take pictures inside of the city hall anytime during business hours.
Get off at Shiyakusho Bus Stop
Opening hours 8:45am-5:15pm
9. Relax at Beautiful Tokugawaen Garden
Tokugawaen is a beautiful Japanese garden, which was originally built in 1695 as a retirement house for Mitsutomo who was the lord of Owari. In 1931, the house and garden were donated to Nagoya City and after some reconstruction was made, Tokugawaen was opened to the public.
There is Tokugawa Art Museum adjacent to the garden, and they exhibit over 10,000 items from the collection of the Tokugawa family.
3 minutes walk from Tokugawaen Shindeki Bus Stop
Opening hours 9:30am – 5:30pm
Monday and New Years (December 29th to January 1st) closed
Admission fee 300 yen (adult), 100 yen (65 years old and above)
10. Step into the World of Ghibli at Ghibli Park
Ghibli Park is the first theme park that features Studio Ghibli films. It opened in November 2022, and it’s about 45 minutes train ride from Nagoya Station. Being located at the former site of the World EXPO 2005, you can explore the vast park and enjoy various kinds of flowers and plants as well.
There will be 5 areas featuring popular films, but first, they will open the 3 areas: Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, Hill of Youth and Dondoko Forest.
Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse features popular Ghibli films and the studio’s secret with some shops, cafes, and exhibitions. Hill of Youth is inspired by Whisper of the Heart, and Dondoko Forest is inspired by My Neighbor Totoro. In 2023, other 2 areas featuring Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Howl’s Moving Castle will open. There will be no rides and attractions like the other theme parks, but if you are a Ghibli fan, this theme park should be added to your list.
From Nagoya Station, take a subway Higashiyama Line to Fujigaoka Station, transfer to Linimo then get off at Ai-Chikyuhaku-Kinen-Koen Station.
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