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Nagoya

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Travel Guide Asia Japan Honshu Chubu Nagoya

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Introduction

Nagoya Castle

Nagoya Castle

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Nagoya is the 4th largest urban area in Japan (called the Chukyo Metropolitan Area) and even the 3rd largest if counting the city proper only. The latter has about 2.3 million inhabitants, the total urban area is more than 4 times as big with nearly 10 million inhabitants. Still, the city maintains a relatively quiet character and is often overlooked by travellers. It is located in the Chubu region in southern central Honshu, the main island of the country.

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Neighbourhoods

Nagoya is divided into 16 so-called wards:

  • Atsuta-ku
  • Chikusa-ku
  • Higashi-ku
  • Kita-ku
  • Meito-ku
  • Midori-ku
  • Minami-ku
  • Minato-ku
  • Mizuho-ku
  • Moriyama-ku
  • Naka-ku
  • Nakagawa-ku
  • Nakamura-ku
  • Nishi-ku
  • Showa-ku
  • Tempaku-ku

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Sights and Activities

  • Nagoya Castle (名古屋市美術館 Nagoya-shi-bijutsukan), 2-17-25 Sakae, Naka-ku (8 mins on foot S of Fushimi stn (Higashiyama, Tsurumai Line), exit 5), ☎ +81 52-212-0001. Tu-Su 9:30am-5:00pm (F 9:30am-8:00pm) (Last admission 30min before closing). Closed M, (T when M is a national holiday), Dec 29-Jan 3. Collection of 2,000 works including pieces by Modigliani, Laurencin, and Utrillo, as well as those of local artists, such as Takanori Ogisu and Tamiji Kitagawa. Permanent Collection: Adults ¥300, Students (over 16): ¥200, (under 15): Free
  • Atsuta Shrine (熱田神宮 Atsuta Jingū) (Jingūmae station). This shrine houses the sacred Kusanagi no mitsurugi (草薙神剣) sword, one of the three Imperial regalia of Japan - but unfortunately nobody but the emperor and a few high priests get to see it. There are some 4,400 other artifacts on the grounds though and the shrine hosts some 70 festivals every year.
  • Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens
  • Nagoya TV Tower (名古屋テレビ塔 Nagoya-terebi-tō), Hisaya-ōdōri kōen, Naka-ku (Subway: Hisaya Odori Station (Meijo line/Sakura-dori line)), ☎ +81 52-971-8546, fax: +81 52-961-0561. Daily 10:00am-9:00pm. Standing 180 meters tall, the Nagoya TV Tower is Japan's oldest - predating even the Tokyo Tower. Take an elevator to the 100 metre-high sky balcony for great views of Hisaya-odori park and Sakae. Under the tower is a small terrace with tables and a number of small food stands. Adults: ¥500, Children ¥250
  • The Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts (名古屋ボストン美術館 Nagoya-bosuton-bijutsukan), 1-1-1 Kanayama-cho, Naka-ku (next to Kanayama station), ☎ +81 52-684-0786. Tu-F 10:00am-7:00pm, Sa, Sun, Hols 10:00am-5:00pm Closed M. Like any world-class art museum, the MFA in Boston, USA has far more in its archives than it can reasonably display. This sister institution is one way to make the most of the extensive collection. Student / Adult admission: ¥300/400 for the general collection, ¥900/1200 for special exhibits.
  • Port of Nagoya Aquarium (名古屋港水族館 Nagoya-kō-suizoukan) (A short walk from Subway Nagoyakō Stn. (Meikō line)), ☎ +81 52 654-7080. Open daily 9:30am-5:00pm (until 8:00pm Jul 21-Aug 31). (site in Japanese) Large aquarium featuring a number of different marine environments, including killer whales. Adults ¥2,000.
  • Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (トヨタ産業技術記念館 Toyota-sangyō-gijutsu-kinenkan), 4-1-35 Noritake Shinmachi, Nishi-ku (3 minute walk from Meitetsu Sako Stn (Nagoya line), 10-minute walk from exit 2, Subway: Kamejima Station (Higashiyama Line)), ☎ +81 52-551-6115. Tu-Su 9:30am-5:00pm (Last admission 4:30pm), (restaurant open until 9:00pm), Closed M, (T if M is a holiday), New Years' holidays. Built on the site of one of Toyota's original loom factories, this museum tells the story of the Toyota corporation, from its beginnings as an industrial loom manufacturer to its transformation into one of the world's largest car manufacturers. Includes large loom machinery and car display halls as well as a hands-on "Technoland" with interactive science exhibits. Museum also includes a library, video library with personal viewing booths, restaurant, cafe, and gift shop. Displays, brochures, and audioguides available in English and several other languages. Barrier-free access for disabled visitors. FREESPOT Wi-Fi access available. Adults ¥500, Jr. & Sr. high school students: ¥300, Elem. School Students: ¥200.

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Events and Festivals

Traditional Festivals

Japan has countless traditional festivals and holidays. Then when you add the local festivals that number just grows and grows. Here is a list of the few major national traditional festivals.

  • Japanese New Year (January 1) - the most important holiday in Japan. Although there are lots of customs and traditions most of them are done in the private. This is mainly a family holiday and Japan can feel very empty as almost everyone goes home. Travelling in Japan in during this time is difficult because everything is shut down.
  • Seijin No Hi (2nd Monday of January) - the coming of age holiday for Japanese women which 20. Traditionally families will buy any young woman how turned 20 in the last year a kimono. On this day almost all Japanese women will ear a kimono.
  • Hin Festival (March 3) - Also known as doll festival the Hin Matsuri festival is meant for young women. In early february families with daughters put dolls in order to make the women happy and healthy later in life. On Girls Day, on March 3, the dolls are put away until next year.
  • Shichi Go San Festival (Novermber 5) - Boys who are 3 and 5, and girls 3 and 7 are taken to a shinto shrine in traditional Japanese dress. The children are brought there to pray for good luck, good health and wealth.

National Holidays

  • Golden Week - Is quite often referred to as the "Japanese Spring Break." It is a combination of many state holidays, including Showa Day, Greenery Day, Children's Day, and Constitution Memorial Day in order to give a full week off. It takes place during the first full week of May. Everyone gets this week off in Japan so it is very bad time to travel because everything is crowded, expensive and most hotels will be full. There is also a major festival in the southern city of Fukuoka this week, it is called Hakata Dontaku.

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Weather

Nagoya's summers are hot and humid with average daytime temperatures around 30 °C from June to September and balmy nights of 20 °C or more. Winters last from December to February when it is mostly around 10 °C to 12 °C during the day and just above zero at night. Snow is possible and mainly falls during January and February. Nagoya receives over 1,500 mm of rain a year, mainly during the summermonths though other months see a fair amount as well. Probably the best months for a visit are April and October with some rain, but comfortable temperatures and a chance to see spring flowers or beautiful autumn colours like elsewhere in Japan.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max9 °C10.1 °C13.9 °C19.9 °C24.1 °C27.2 °C30.8 °C32.8 °C28.6 °C22.8 °C17 °C11.6 °C
Avg Min0.8 °C1.1 °C4.2 °C9.6 °C14.5 °C19 °C23 °C24.3 °C20.7 °C14.1 °C8.1 °C3.1 °C
Rainfall48.4 mm65.6 mm121.8 mm124.8 mm156.5 mm201 mm203.6 mm126.3 mm234.4 mm128.3 mm79.7 mm45 mm
Rain Days5.36.39.39.210.211.712.27.710.58.76.25.5

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Getting There

By Plane

Chubu Centrair International Airport (NGO) serves Nagoya. The smaller Nagoya Airfield is only served by J-Air and has flights to several Japanse cities like Tokyo, Nagasaki and Niigata.
The international airport has many more flights. Japan Airlines (JAL) has international flights to/from Guangzhou, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Taipei and Tianjin (City). All Nippon Airways (ANA) serves Seoul and Shanghai as well. They both serve a few dozen of domestic destinations as well, including Sapporo, Fukuoka, Tokyo and Nagasaki.
Several other international airlines have flights to/from Singapore, Manila, Bangkok, Detroit, Guam, Hanoi, Saipan, Frankfurt, Busan, Honolulu, Bali, Helsinki, Shenyang, Taipei, Beijing, Qingdao, Xi'an and Hong Kong.

To/from the airport

  • Rail: Central Japan International Airport Station is located on the Meitetsu Airport Line operated by Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu). The fastest service connects the airport to Meitetsu-Nagoya Station in 28 minutes. Meitetsu Nagoya is adjacent to JR Nagoya Station, allowing transfers to Shinkansen high-speed trains bound for Kyoto and Shizuoka, as well as JR, Meitetsu, and Kintetsu local trains, and the Nagoya Municipal Subway.
  • Ferry: Three high-speed ferry services link Centrair to the west side of Ise Bay. One ferry connects to the passenger terminal in Tsu. It is about a 40-minute trip. Another ferry links Matsusaka to Tokoname, taking 45 minutes.
  • Buses, taxis and rental cars are other modes of transport for service to Nagoya and other cities.

By Train

Nagoya is located along the Tokaido Shinkansen route between Tokyo and Osaka. To the west are Gifu and Kyoto, and to the east are Hamamatsu and Shizuoka.

  • A one-way ride from Tokyo is about 1 hour, 40 minutes via Nozomi (¥10,780) and between 1 3/4 and 2 hours via Hikari (¥10,580).
  • From Kyoto, Nagoya is reachable in 36 minutes via Nozomi (¥5,640) and between 36 and 55 minutes via Hikari or Kodama (¥5,440).
  • From the Shin-Osaka station in Osaka, Nagoya is 53 minutes away via Nozomi (¥6380) and between 53 and 70 minutes away via Hikari or Kodama (¥6,180).

Thru Nozomi trains from western Japan reach Nagoya from Okayama (1 hr 40 mins, ¥10980), Hiroshima (2 hrs 20 mins, ¥13,830) and Hakata station in Fukuoka (3 hrs 20 mins, ¥18,030). It is slightly longer via the Hikari service; you will need to change trains at least once, either at Okayama, Shin-Kobe, or Shin-Osaka.

If you wish to sacrifice travel speed for savings, you can take advantage of the Puratto (Platt) Kodama Ticket, which offers a discount for Kodama services if you purchase at least one day in advance. You get a reserved seat and a coupon for a free drink (including beer) which can be redeemed at a "Kiosk" convenience counter inside the station. With this ticket a trip to Nagoya costs ¥8,100 from Tokyo (3 hours; 2 trains per hour), ¥4,200 from Kyoto (1 hour; 1 train per hour) and ¥4300 from Shin-Osaka (1 1/4 hours; 1 train per hour). A few early-morning Kodama trains cannot be used with this ticket.

Nagoya also serves as the terminal point for the hourly Wide View Shinano, a JR Chuo Line limited express train to the mountain resort town of Nagano (3 hours) via Matsumoto (2 hours). The Wide View Hida JR Takayama Line limited express connects Nagoya with Takayama (2 1/2 hours), with some runs continuing to Toyama (4 hours).

Local trains from Tokyo take about 6 hours at a cost of ¥6,090, requiring several train changes along the way. However, trips on local trains are more valuable if you purchase and use a Seishun 18 Ticket during the valid time period: as low as ¥2,300 per person if five people travel together. Otherwise, consider using a bus starting from ¥5,000, or step up to the bullet train for ¥7,900 using the Puratto Kodama Ticket.

Remember that the Japan Rail Pass covers all journeys described above, except for Nozomi trains.

Nagoya is also served by the Meitetsu (名鉄) and Kintetsu (近鉄) private railways. If coming to Nagoya from Osaka, a travel option that comes cheaper than the Shinkansen is a Kintetsu limited express service called the Urban Liner (アーバンライナー), which runs out of Namba station. The Urban Liner departs at 0 and 30 minutes past the hour, covering the journey in as little as two hours, but at a cost of ¥4,150 each way. (The shinkansen, by comparison, makes the run from Shin-Osaka to Nagoya in under an hour for ¥5,670). Japan Rail Passes are not valid for the Urban Liner.

By Bus

As Nagoya is a major city, there are many day and overnight buses which run between Nagoya and other locations throughout Japan, which can be a cheaper alternative than the shinkansen or local trains. From Tokyo, bus runs to Nagoya are frequent, using the Tomei Expressway along the southern coast or the Chuo Expressway through the central part of the country. Trips take anywhere from 5 to 9 hours depending on the route and stops. Some of the faster, nonstop daytime runs utilize the Shin-Tomei Expressway, a new highway that runs parallel to the existing Tomei Expressway.

Discount bus operator Willer Express runs daytime and overnight buses with a variety of seating options. Bus journeys can be booked online in English, and Willer's Japan Bus Pass is valid on all of their routes with some exceptions. Buses from Tokyo leave from Willer's own bus terminal, located west of Shinjuku Station in the Sumitomo Building. Some buses also leave directly from Shinjuku Station's West exit, Tokyo Station - Yaesu-Chuo Exit, Tokyo Disneyland - Goofy Car Park, Hamamatsucho Station and Yokohama Station. Buses discharge in Nagoya at the Taiko exit in front of the BIC Camera store. Willer's overnight one-way fares to/from Tokyo start from approximately ¥3,000 for overnight trips in standard seats up to ¥5,300 in canopy seats with advanced purchase. Daytime bus fares start from ¥3,000. Fares are typically higher on weekends and holidays.

JR Bus is also a major operator on the Tokyo-Nagoya route. The drawback is that you cannot make online reservations in English, but you can make reservations in train stations at the same "Midori-no-Madoguchi" ticket windows used to reserve seats on trains. JR Buses depart from Tokyo Station - Yaesu Exit (八重洲口) and the JR Highway Bus Terminal (JR高速バスターミナル) located adjacent to Yoyogi Station on the Yamanote Line (one stop south of Shinjuku). JR Bus offers, in order of comfort and price, Seishun (youth) buses with 2x2 seating configurations and Standard buses with individual seats arranged 1x1x1. Some buses offer more spacious Super Seats and Premium Seats which incur an additional surcharge of ¥600 and ¥1,200, respectively. JR Bus' overnight one-way fares to/from Tokyo start from approximately ¥2,350 for overnight trips in Seishun buses up to ¥3,900 for standard buses with advanced purchase. Daytime bus fares start from ¥2,280. Fares are typically higher on weekends and holidays.

Meitetsu is a major transit operator located in Nagoya, operating long distance buses throughout Japan's major cities. Meitetsu runs daytime and overnight buses between Shinjuku and Nagoya's Meitetsu Bus Center in conjunction with Keio Bus. Fares start from ¥3,500 one way.

Meishin Highway Bus Line: 16 daily round-trips between Nagoya and Kyoto (2 1/2 hours, ¥2,500), seven round-trips between Nagoya and Osaka (3 hours, ¥2,900), and six round-trips between Nagoya and Kobe (3 hours, ¥3,300). Discounts are given on round-trip purchases.

By Boat

FESCO runs a service from Vostochny Port/Nakhodka in Far Eastern Russia to the port of Nagoya and several other Japanse cities.

Taiheiyo Ferry (太平洋フェリー) +81 52-398-1023. Offers overnight car ferries to Sendai (21 hrs 40 mins) and Tomakomai in southern Hokkaido (40 hrs) on the SS Ishikari and SS Kitakami from the Nagoya Ferry Terminal (Japanese).

The ferry terminal is located south of Noseki stn (野跡駅) on the JR Aonami line (あおなみ線 Aonami-sen). Get off at the station and board a city bus bound for Feri futo (フェリーふ頭) bus stop (takes 7 to 10 mins). Shuttle bus also available from the downtown Meitetsu Bus Center (名鉄バスセンター) next to Nagoya Station. Bus departs from 4F, platform 2 at 5:20pm and arrives at the ferry terminal at around 5:55pm.

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Getting Around

Nagoya is a big automotive industry center, and it shows. The street network is extensive and even downtown locations can be easily reached by car. On the downside, trains and subways are less convenient than in Tokyo or Kansai, and more expensive. For those travelling with a JR Rail Pass, note that the train network doesn't have many stations in the city and you'll probably find yourself using the bus or subway a lot, something your pass won't cover.

By Car

Taxis are a viable option in this car city, especially as the basic fee is only ¥480 (compared to ¥710 in Tokyo or Yokohama). The catch is that the basic fee only takes you 1.3 kilometres compared to 2 kilometres in most other parts of Japan. But for shorter distances within the city, a taxi is not only much more convenient than descending to those dark, unappealing subway stations, but also as cheap as the subway if there are at least two of you.

By Public Transport

There are 5 main subway lines:

  • The red Sakuradōri Line (桜通線) curves southwest from Nagoya Station.
  • The purple Meijō Line (名城線) runs in a loop around the eastern side of the city, connecting Sakae and Kanayama;
  • The Meikō Line (名港線) spur branches from Kanayama to Nagoya Port.
  • The yellow Higashiyama Line (東山線) connects Nagoya, Fushimi, Sakae, and Fujigaoka.
  • The blue Tsurumai Line (鶴舞線) connects Fushimi and Osu Kannon, then goes south.

Subways run every several minutes between about 5:30am until about 12:30am. Fares range from ¥200 to ¥320. One day passes can be bought for ¥600 (bus), ¥740 (subway), and ¥850 (bus & subway).

On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays you can also take advantage of the cheaper Donichi-Eco-Kippu (ドニチエコきっぷ) one-day subway ticket which offers unlimited subway travel for ¥600. Please note that this pass is often not available from subway ticket machines and may have to be purchased in person from a station employee at the ticket gate.

City transportation one day passes also offer discounted entry at various attractions in Nagoya, including Nagoya Castle and the Toyota Museum.

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Eat

Nagoya is big on miso, a sauce made from fermented soybeans and grain. You should not leave the city without trying misokatsu (味噌カツ), fried pork cutlet with a rich, red miso sauce on it.

The other Nagoya classic is shrimp tempura, particularly when wrapped up in rice and dried seaweed and turned into a handy portable package known as a tenmusu (天むす).

The city is also known for uirō (外郎), a confectionery made out of rice flour and sugar; a little firmer than gelatin but not as sticky as mochi. Many different flavors are available, including red bean (小豆 azuki) and green tea (抹茶 matcha).

Nagoya's noodle specialty is kishimen (きしめん), a flat, broad noodle often served in a miso or soy sauce broth. Available in most restaurant-gai in shopping centres or close to major railway stations.

Hitsumabushi (ひつまぶし) is an eel dish. Hitsumabushi is served with rice in a small box, and can be eaten three ways. First, just the eel and rice; second, with green onions and nori, and third, with tea or soup stock poured over it.

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Drink

Around Nagoya station, there are a lot of places for cheap drinking. Sakae is the big nightlife district, in a loose triangle formed by the Sakae, Yaba-cho and Osu Kannon stations. Sakae has a large red light district as well, but as with most of Japan, there's no sense of danger so don't worry about drifting around. There are countless izakayas around Kanayama station, both cheap chains and more upscale places.

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Sleep

View our map of accommodation in Nagoya or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Work

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Keep Connected

Internet

Manga cafes are dotted along the streets of almost every city in Japan. For a very reasonable price (about ¥100 per 15 minutes), you receive a private cubicle with a PC with internet access at blistering Japanese internet speeds. The chairs are incredibly comfortable (making them an excellent place to sleep for the cash-deprived), and you can even order snacks and drinks from the staff.

A number of business hotels have Internet access available if you have your own device, sometimes for free. It is also possible to find Wi-Fi "hot spots" around many large cities in Japan, especially near tech-related businesses and large corporate buildings with unsecured wireless networks. 3G Wireless Data and Pocket Wifi are other options.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Payphones (公衆電話 kōshū denwa) are easily found, particularly near train stations, although with the popularity of mobile phones, public pay phones are not quite as numerous as they once were. Gray and green pay phones accept ¥10 and ¥100 coins and prepaid cards. Be aware that not all places with public telephones have phones that accept coins, so it may be worthwhile to buy a phone card for emergency use. Some of the gray phones, as indicated on the display, can make international calls. Pre-paid cards can be purchased at convenience stores, train station kiosk stores and sometimes in vending machines next to the phone.

Modern Japanese mobile phones (携帯電話 keitai denwa or just keitai) tend to operate on unique cellular standards not always compatible with the rest of the world. 3G phones using the UMTS/WCDMA2100 standard and equipped with a 3G SIM card will most likely work. If your phone is up to spec, double-check with your carrier if they have a roaming agreement with either SoftBank or NTT DoCoMo. Coverage is generally excellent, unless you are heading to some remote mountainous areas. If you have no 3G phone but still have a 3G-compatible SIM card, you can rent a 3G phone in Japan and slot in your card, allowing you to keep your home phone number in Japan. For a longer trip, you can also purchase a phone, but doing this legally requires an Alien Registration Card (or an obliging Japanese friend willing to front for you).

The easier way is to get a prepaid phone. Prepaid phones are sold in most SoftBank and AU stores. If you already have a 3G phone, go with Softbank as it can sell SIMs as opposed to au whose prepaid service is phone-based like most CDMA carriers. Prepaid phones use a "card" with a pass key to "charge" a phone with minutes. These prepaid calling cards, unlike the phone itself, can be found in most convenience stores. A prepaid cell phone is available for as little as ¥5000 plus ¥3000 for a 60-90 day call time package, which will get drained at a rate of ¥100 per minute (¥10 per 6 seconds for AU's prepaid service). Both SoftBank and AU offer prepaid phones.

Post

The Japanese postal service is excellent! Domestic and international mail service is very quick and reliable. The prices for sending letters, postcards and parcels vary depending on where you send if from and to which country you send it too, and of course depends on weight as well, so check this calculation page of Japan Post for more details. Post offices generally are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm on weekdays, closing at weekends and also on national holidays, though a few open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Central post offices are sometimes open until 7:00pm, open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 5:00pm and on Sundays and holidays from 9:00am to 12:30pm. There are post offices in every major city and minor town. Another thing to remember is that the post office is one of the few places in Japan that is guaranteed to have ATMs that take international cards.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 35.1814464
  • Longitude: 136.906398

Accommodation in Nagoya

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This is version 20. Last edited at 9:11 on Aug 18, 17 by Utrecht. 34 articles link to this page.

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