Nagoya, in Aichi prefecture, is an amazing city where you can feel the dynamic of developing modern districts, ever-growing technology, and the latest trends. On the other hand, you might also feel a strong desire to escape from the busy streets, and the need to immerse yourself in a totally different environment. Nagoya’s great location enables you to travel to beautiful, less-crowded neighborhoods for a perfect day trip getaway! Here is our list of 10 of the best day trip destinations from Nagoya!
Inuyama is a lovely city that is about a 30-minute train ride from Nagoya station. It is widely famous for Inuyama Castle, the symbolic landmark of the city officially designated as a National Treasure with over 450 years of history. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding area and Kiso River from the observation deck on the top floor of the castle which is known as Japan’s oldest wooden castle tower. Inuyama Castle Town is a great shopping spot where you can explore a wide variety of shops ranging from traditional gift shops to modern cafes.
If you have children, it could be fun to head to The Little World Museum of Man or Meiji Mura which are both popular theme parks perfect for a family weekend trip.
Inuyama Jakkoin is a sacred Buddhist temple that attracts visitors, especially with its beautiful autumn colors!
How to get to Inuyama from Nagoya
From JR Nagoya station, take the Meitetsu Inuyama Line and get off at Inuyama station. (approximately 30min)
*Inuyama Castle is within walking distance from the station
Recommended tour in Inuyama:
Tokoname is widely recognized as a town of pottery that once flourished as one of the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan. As you walk around the beautiful town, you will find yourself surrounded by pottery walls and paths which create a traditional townscape that you won’t see anywhere else in Japan. Make sure to check out some small cute cafes, galleries, and shops there.
If you want to visit more modern spots, head to Chubu Centrair International Airport where you can both fly internationally and check out a wide range of shopping and dining options. Mentai Park Tokoname is a short drive from the airport where you can try fresh Mentaiko (spicy cod roe, a local specialty in Hakata in Fukuoka). AEON Mall Tokoname is a giant shopping mall that features a great number of tax-free shops and a refreshing hot spring. You can also enjoy taking a stroll by the beach in front of the shopping centers as well!
How to get to Tokoname from Nagoya
From JR Nagoya station, take the Meitetsu Limited Express Train and get off at Tokoname station. (approximately 30min)
Gamagori is a pleasant hot spring resort nestled in the eastern part of Aichi prefecture. It may seem a bit far from Nagoya on a map, but it is actually easily accessible by train or car. This beautiful port town is home to various traditional Japanese ryokan which offer an unforgettable experience.
For a family trip, take your children to LAGUNA TEN BOSCH, a popular theme park featuring a variety of exciting rides, huge swimming pools, a giant shopping complex, and lively small shops selling fresh seafood brought directly from Mikawa Bay. Takeshima Aquarium is a small, but friendly aquarium which has approximately 500 species of wonderful marine creatures.
After a long day full of adventure and excitement, spend a peaceful time in Takeshima, a scenic island that is directly connected to the main island with Takeshima Bridge. It is a perfect spot to experience nature while enjoying the beautiful scenery as the sun sets!
How to get to Gamagori from Nagoya
From JR Nagoya station, take the JR Tokaido Line and get off at Gamagori station. (approximately 40min)
Located off the coast of Mikawa Bay, Sakushima welcomes people for a perfect weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. For the past few years, it has attracted an increasing number of tourists as an island of art that offers exceptional art on a peaceful island rich in nature.
It showcases a number of outdoor exhibits, including modern installations and attractive artwork scattered across the small island. (Click here for details about the artwork in Sakushima)
You can take good pictures while exploring the scenic island surrounded by beautiful emerald-green water. Another reason to visit Sakushima is the fresh seafood which is locally sourced and cooked in various ways. There are also newly opened cozy cafes that are popular, particularly among young people!
How to get to Sakushima from Nagoya
From JR Nagoya station, take the Meitetsu Nagoya Line to Nishio station. Transfer to the Meitetsu Bus and get off at Isshiki Sakana Hiroba. Ferry service is available from Sakushima Ferry Boarding (approximately 1.5-2 hours).
Recommended tour in Sakushima:
Himakajima is another popular getaway located in Mikawa Bay, approximately 10 kilometers off the coast of the Chita Peninsula. It is widely famous for its fresh seafood, especially octopus and blowfish. At the entrance of the island, an iconic statue of a giant octopus welcomes you!
There are many restaurants and shops which serve a wide variety of octopus dishes including sashimi, tempura, and karaage (deep-fried octopus) which you can enjoy all year round. Blowfish is typically in season during winter from October through March.
Anrakuji is a small, but sacred temple housing a historic Buddhist statue that is believed to bring fortune in the form of a big catch by local fishermen. Sunset Beach is a perfect spot to take a relaxing stroll or interact with adorable dolphins which are brought in only during the summer holiday season.
Don’t forget to take pictures while sitting at Heidi’s Swing, which is one of the most popular attractions in Himakajima!
How to get to Himakajima from Nagoya
From JR Nagoya station, take the Meitetsu Nagoya Line to Kowa station. Transfer to the Meitetsu Kaijo Ferry bound for Shinojima and get off at Himakajima (approximately 1.5-2 hours).
From Nagoya, you can easily access other popular destinations in neighboring prefectures too.
Ise is a beautiful city located on the Shima peninsula in Mie Prefecture. You can take trains from Nagoya station and you’ll arrive in Ise in 1.5 hours.
It is well-known for seafood, scenic natural beauty, and most of all, Ise Grand Shrine which is one of the most important and sacred Shinto shrines in Japan. It is nice to walk around the vast shrine ground which is home to peaceful forests and numerous historic buildings with about 2,000 years of history.
For lunch, head to Okage-yokocho Street which boasts an endless array of lively stalls and shops selling local specialties as well as memorable gifts to take back home. Meoto Iwa is a symbolic natural attraction that consists of a pair of sacred rocks located off the shores of Futami. Meoto means married couple and Iwa means rocks in Japanese. The two rocks represent a married couple and are tightly tied with a sacred rope made of rice straw!
How to get to Ise from Nagoya
From JR Nagoya station, take the Kintetsu Limited Express train and get off at Ise-shi station. It is about a 5-minute walk to Ise Jingu Geku (see here for details)
Recommended tour in Ise:
If you are looking for somewhere less-known and away from the crowds, Omihachiman is probably a perfect day trip destination for you! This lovely city lies to the east side of Lake Biwa which is widely known as Japan’s largest lake in Shiga prefecture.
Hachimanbori Moat area offers a well-preserved old townscape along with the symbolic canal running through the beautiful city. Their luxury boat cruise is a popular activity that allows you to explore the scenic canal that attracts visitors with breathtaking cherry blossoms in spring. If you are interested in Japanese history, visit Azuchi Castle Ruins and Himure-hachimangu Shrine before hopping on Hachimanyama Ropeway. It takes you up to the summit of Mt. Hachiman, a 271.9-meter peak offering panoramic views of the entire city!
How to get to Omihachiman from Nagoya
From JR Nagoya station, take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Maibara station. Transfer to the JR Biwako Line and get off at Omihachiman station. (approximately 1 hour).
Takayama is a pleasant mountainous city in Gifu prefecture that attracts numerous visitors from all over the world. It offers an impressive townscape created by traditional Japanese buildings which have been perfectly preserved since the Edo period (1603-1868). Sanmachi Street is the most visited and popular attraction in the Takayama area which is home to countless numbers of small shops, cozy cafes, and restaurants to explore. Try Hida Beef, an authentic Wagyu beef brand that is incredibly tender and melts in your mouth with a flavorful aftertaste. Head to Takayama Shrine which once served as an official government headquarters of the area back in the Edo period. Hida no Sato (Hida Folk Village) is another popular tourist attraction that displays well-preserved thatched roof houses that you can find around the beautiful village full of seasonal plants and nature!
How to get to Takayama from Nagoya
From JR Nagoya station, take the limited express “Wide View Hida” and get off at Takayama station. (approximately 2-2.5 hours)
Recommended tour in Takayama:
9. Gero Onsen
Another must-visit spot in Gifu prefecture is Gero Onsen, a peaceful hot spring resort nestled in a tranquil mountainous area. It has a history of over 1,000 years and is widely recognized as one of the three great hot springs along with Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma prefecture and Arima Onsen in Hyogo prefecture. Bring your swimsuit and soak in the free open-air bath located along the iconic Hida River. The footbath is another great option if you want a casual hot spring experience. (You can find free footbaths easily throughout the city!). Enjoy a refreshing stroll at Gero Onsen Gassho-mura which is a recreation of a lovely village featuring traditional thatched roof houses. If you have time to spare, we also recommend visiting the Hida-Osaka area where you can discover the stunning 200 waterfalls scattered through a scenic gorge!
How to get to Gero Onsen from Nagoya
From JR Nagoya station, take the limited express “Wide View Hida” and get off at Gero station. (approximately 1.5 hours)
*You can enjoy Akayama and Gero area within a day!
Recommended tour in Gero Onsen:
Our final destination is Hamamatsu City, which is located in the western part of Shizuoka prefecture. From Nagoya, it is conveniently accessible by JR Tokaido Shinkansen (It depends on the type of Shinkansen you take, but it generally takes less than 50 minutes). It is well-known for gourmet specialties such as Unagi dishes (eel dishes) which are made with fresh eel caught from Lake Hamana. Gyoza is another local specialty that is relatively affordable and can be found at casual restaurants. Hamamatsu Castle is a symbolic structure of the city which was a residence once used by Tokugawa Ieyasu, who established the feudal military government of Japan known as the Tokugawa Shogunate in the early 17th century. Kanzanji Onsen is a small, but pleasant hot spring resort which is also close to a family-friendly amusement park, Hamanako Palpal!
How to get to Hamamatsu from Nagoya
From JR Nagoya station, take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen and get off at Hamamatsu station. (approximately 30-50 minutes)
Recommended tour in Hamamatsu:
From world-famous historic spots to scenic peaceful islands and local specialties, each destination listed above will surely give you unforgettable experiences. Inuyama and Tokoname are recommended if you want to start with shorter trips, as they are conveniently accessible by direct train services from Nagoya station. It is also important to check the timetables for local transport such as buses and ferries to avoid wasting your time waiting for them. (Be sure to check the availability of the ferry services especially when you plan a trip to remote islands such as Sakushima and Himakajima!)
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Miho Shimizu is a Japanese freelance writer settled in Shizuoka with her husband and two rabbits. Fascinated with travelling at the age of 18, she has spent most of her long holidays exploring incredible spots around Japan. Also love to listen to music, draw, and read novels over a cup of green tea.
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