nagoya food guide

If you have found your way to this page of my website, chances are you love Japanese food. We have that in common. Even on my one-year trip around the world, the food I missed most wasn’t the food of my childhood in Germany; it was the delicious cuisine in Japan.

This Nagoya Food Guide will help you find the most delicious dishes in Nagoya, including food recommendations you can only find in the area around Nagoya, as well as restaurant recommendations for Nagoya of more common Japanese food.

Let’s get started by talking about 20 dishes that can be only found in Nagoya and its surroundings:

 

Nagoya Meshi is the local Nagoya food. It is unique to Nagoya and its surroundings in Aichi Prefecture and cannot be found anywhere else in Japan in this form. Nagoya Meshi is not the name of a dish but rather the name of the cuisine which can only be found in Nagoya.

Aka miso

Some kinds of Nagoya Meshi are unique because of the ingredients that are used. For example, the Aka Miso (red miso paste) that can only be found in Nagoya. If you have ever been to Japan before or to a good Japanese restaurant outside of Japan, you might know miso from the very famous Miso Soup.

Aka Miso is made from the same raw ingredient as any other Miso, soybeans. The only difference is that the soybeans are fermented much longer than usual Miso (up to 3 years) which gives the Aka Miso its characteristic flavor and dark red-brown color.

Two of the most famous dishes that are made with Aka Miso in Nagoya are Miso Katsu and Miso Nikomi Udon. But there are many more such as Dote Ni and Miso Oden.

Miso Katsu (Nagoya)

Image via Flickr by bryan…

Miso Katsu is deep-fried pork cutlets served with a rich dark-brown sauce made from Aka Miso. It is usually served with raw cabbage. For lunch, you will often find it in cafes around Nagoya either as a Miso Katsu Teishoku (a set meal served with rice and soup) or as a Miso Katsu Don (a rice bowl topped with Miso Katsu).

The taste of the Aka Miso is very rich and might be an acquired taste, but with the Nagoya locals, it is hugely popular.

One restaurant in Nagoya that specializes in Miso Katsu is called Yabaton. You will find multiple outlets all over Nagoya, but I recommend visiting the one in the Esca underground shopping street if you are hungry and close to Nagoya. As you can see in the picture above Yabaton serves a very delicious looking Miso Katsu Teishoku.

Miso Katsu Yabaton (Esca Shop)

Opening Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Address: 6-9 Esca Underground Shopping Street, Tsubakicho, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 453-0015

Google Maps

Miso Nikomi Udon (Nagoya)

Image via Flickr by shibainu

Another dish which uses Aka Miso is Miso Nikomi Udon, a kind of one pot Udon noodle dish. Udon noodles are thick white noodles made from wheat flour which can be found in different variations served hot or cold all over the country. I love Udon in all its variations.

What is unique about Miso Nikomi Udon is the way it is prepared. Not only is it served in an earthen pot while it is still hot and bubbling but the flavor is unique from the Aka Miso used in the soup. Other ingredients include chicken, egg, Shiitake mushrooms and green onions.

While Miso Nikomi Udon is not my favorite kind of Udon variation, it is definitely a great dish to warm up your body on a cold winter day and a dish you simply must eat in Nagoya.

For your first try of Miso Nikomi Udon visit Yamamotoya a restaurant specialized in the dish. They serve not only the standard Miso Nikomi Udon but also different variations of the dish with different (seasonal) toppings. Yamamotoya has different outlets all over the city, I again recommend a visit to the Esca Underground Shopping Street for your first fix of Miso Nikomi Udon in Nagoya.

The standard Miso Nikomi Udon costs about 1300 yen (13 US dollars) while other variations are usually a little more expensive.

Yamamotoya Honten (Esca Shop)

Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Address: 6-9 Esca Underground Shopping Street, Tsubakicho, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 453-0015

Google Maps

Dote-ni (Nagoya)

Image via Wikimedia Commons by 小太刀

Dote-ni might be one of those dishes westerners aren’t very fond of. The dish is made from pork or beef entrails boiled in an Aka Miso sauce. Other ingredients are Konnyaku (jelly-like food made from the konjac root) and Daikon (Japanese radish).

The dish emerged sometime in the Meiji Period as popular Nagoya street food and today it is enjoyed by many as a take-home souvenir or in the form of Dote-meshi when poured over rice.

If you want to try some Dote-ni or Dote-meshi you best visit one of the traditional Izakaya in Nagoya. One such place is Gomitori Honten in Sakae District. It has a very old feel to it hand Dote-ni has been one of its staple dishes for as long as anyone can remember. They also serve other typical Nagoya Meshi such as Tebasaki made from Nagoya Cochin chicken.

Gomitori Honten

Opening Hours: 5:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m.

Address: 3-9-13 Sakae, Naka Ward, Nagoya 460-0008

Google Maps

Miso Oden (Nagoya)

Oden is a kind of winter hot pot food which can be found all over Japan.Ingredients of Oden include eggs, Konnyaku, Daikon and fish cakes which are stewed for a long time. It is no wonder that in Nagoya and the surrounding Aichi area a Miso based version has emerged. There are two versions of Miso Oden, one where the Miso is used as a broth in which the ingredients are simmered for a long time, and the other where Miso is added to the soy sauce based broth.

Oden can be found in most convenience stores during the colder months and in Nagoya it is common to find tubes of Miso next to the Oden to enjoy Miso Oden on the go or at home without the hassle of preparing it yourself.

Moriguchizuke

Image via Wikimedia Commons by Lombroso

While it doesn’t look like the tastiest food from Nagoya is, Moriguchizuke, pickles made from Moriguchi daikon radish, tastes much better than it looks. The radish is pickled using Sake or Mirin (sweet sake) residue and is a very popular gift sold in hundreds of year old gift shops even today.

You can find Moriguchizuke at one of the specialty shops such as Yamatoya Moriguchizuke Souhonke. One of these shops is located (you probably guessed it) in the Esca Shopping Street next to Nagoya Station.

 

YAMATOYA MORIGUCHIZUKE SOUHONKE (ESCA SHOP)

Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Address: 6-9 Esca Underground Shopping Street, Tsubakicho, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 453-0015

Nagoya Breakfast or Nagoya Morning

Image via Wikimedia Commons by 小太刀

Let me tell you about a Nagoya breakfast tradition called Nagoya Morning (or Nagoya Morning Service) which developed only in the region around Nagoya.

When you order a drink in the morning at a cafe in Nagoya, you will get a Morning Service for free. This often includes half a toast and a boiled egg but can include other items such as salad or yogurt or different kinds of spread for your toast.

In effect, for the price of a drink, you get a small breakfast. Isn’t that great?

One of the cafes where you can get a Nagoya Morning with your morning coffee is Komeda’s Coffee, which can be found all over the country now but had its origin in Nagoya. It is a really down to earth kind of place with delicious lunch options as well. I love the Pizza Toast as well as the Ebikatsu Pan.

The Morning Service at Komeda’s has three options to choose from, 1. half a toast with a hardboiled egg, 2. half a toast with an egg salad spread or 3. half a toast with an Ogura sweet bean paste spread. I recommend you try number three because Ogura toast is another specialty that can be only found in Nagoya.

Because there are Komeda’s at every corner in Nagoya I recommend you simply input ‘Komeda’s Coffee’ into your Google Maps and see where the closest shop is. Alternatively, you can also visit Komeda’s Coffee at the Esca Underground Shopping Street right next to Nagoya Station. The address and opening hours as well as Google Maps information are as follows:

Komeda's Coffee (Esca Shop)

Opening Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Address: 6-9 Esca Underground Shopping Street, Tsubakicho, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 453-0015

Google Maps

Ogura Toast (Nagoya)

Ogura toast is a slice of toast topped with butter and Anko, sweet red bean paste. This dish can be found in coffee houses all over Nagoya and is one of your Nagoya Morning choices at Komeda’s Coffee.

The dish, a mix of western and Japanese cuisine originated in the Taisho Period, at the beginning of the 20th century.

If you are looking for a Nagoya-style souvenir you might want to buy some cookies or other sweets based on the flavor of Ogura toast which you can find in many convenience stores in Nagoya.

Komeda's Coffee (Esca Shop)

Opening Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Address: 6-9 Esca Underground Shopping Street, Tsubakicho, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 453-0015

Google Maps

Hitsumabushi (Nagoya)

-> Go directly to ‘Where to Eat Hitsumabushi in Nagoya‘ post

My all-time favorite Nagoya Meshi is Hitsumabushi. It might also be the most expensive dish to be found on this list because eel is a real delicacy in Japan. Hitsumabushi is Japanese eel prepared in the unique Nagoya style. The whole eel is split open at the belly, the bones are removed and the eel is grilled whole without steaming.

Hitsumabushi is said to have originated around the Meiji Period (1603 – 1867) when waitresses dished out each serving of sliced eel from a sizeable wooden tup for keeping cooked rice called Ohitsu into individual bowls for each customer.

There is a convenient restaurant close to Nagoya Station which specializes in Hitsumabushi called Hitsumabushi Inou in the Esca underground shopping center, which is accessible directly from Nagoya Station, on the west side (information in the box below). I had my very first Hitsumabushi there with my parents and fell in love right away.

If you would like to find out more about Hitsumabushi and where else to eat it in Nagoya check out my full post about Hitsumabushi in Nagoya.

hitsumabushi inou (Esca Shop)

Opening Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Address: 6-9 Esca Underground Shopping Street, Tsubakicho, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 453-0015 

Google Maps

Ebi Furai (Nagoya)

Image via Wikimedia Commons by 小太刀

While Ebi Furai, deep-fried shrimp, didn’t originate in Nagoya it is still worth mentioning in this Nagoya food guide. Fried shrimp are often used in Nagoya as topping for noodles, rice dishes or Japanese style curry dishes and is a real Nagoya specialty.

Many shops in Nagoya serve Ebi Furai with the same Aka Miso sauce as Miso Katsu, making it true Nagoya cuisine.

Nagoya has one of the highest consumption of shrimp in Nagoya, so it is really no wonder that there would be a restaurant offering shrimp prepared in all kinds of different ways. At Maruha Shokudo you will not only find their staple Ebi Furai but also shrimp Sashimi and boiled shrimp Sushi. If you are staying in Sakae head to the Lachic Shopping Center for your fix of delicious shrimp.

MARUHA SHOKUDO (LACHIC SHOP)

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sat + Sun 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Address: 3-6-1 Sakae, Naka Ward, Nagoya 460-0008

Google Maps 

Tenmusu (Nagoya)

Image via Flickr by m-louis

As a visitor to Japan you will have probably heard about Onigiri, the rice balls filled with all kinds of ingredients such as tuna/mayo, salmon, fish eggs, and wrapped in seaweed.

In Nagoya you can find something similar to an Onigiri, a Tenmusu. Half the size of a normal Onigiri and filled with a small shrimp tempura it is a popular snack or souvenir in Nagoya.

You can find Tenmusu in speciality stores and department stores and even train stations in Nagoya. 

Ganso Tenmusu Senju might be the birthplace of Tenmusu. The owners have been preparing this delicious dish with the same recipe since the 1950s. The original shop can be found in Tsu City the capital of Mie Prefecture but they have opened a convenient shop directly in Nagoya Station. So every travelers who comes through Nagoya can try the original Tenmusu.

GANSO TENMUSU SENJU (KINTETSU-NAGOYA STATION SHOP)

Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. (closes when stock runs out)

Address: 1-2-2, Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 450-0002

Google Maps

Ebi Senbei (Nagoya)

Senbei are rice crackers that can be found all over Japan. They come in different flavors and with different ingredients depending on the region. Aichi is the biggest producer of Senbei made from shrimp which can be found in abundance in the area.

Ebi Senbei are a popular snack or souvenir and there are different types from the cheap supermarket kind to expensive luxury Senbei made from whole prawns.

 

Tebasaki (Nagoya)

Image via Flickr by kawanet

Tebasaki is the Nagoya chicken wings. And if you love chicken wings, in general, you will love Tebasaki. The chicken wings are flavored with different spices and deep fried twice without any batter to delicious and crispy perfection. Tebasaki in Nagoya is hugely popular to enjoy with a beer or even Sake.

The most easily accessible place to try some delicious Tebasaki in Nagoya (or actually all over the country) is Sekai no Yamachan; a restaurant chain specialized in Nagoya style Tebasaki. Yamachan is a relatively cheap place to eat and drink and very popular with locals to go drinking with friends or colleagues after work.

There is a Yamachan close to Nagoya Station, but you will have to walk a little bit to the east of the station. Again, I recommend you simply type in ‘Yamachan’ in Google Maps and see which restaurant is closest to you.

Sekai no Yamachan Nagoya Station East Shop

Opening Hours: 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Address: 4-16-27 Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 450-0002

Google Maps

Nagoya Cochin Chicken

Nagoya Cochin is a local brand of chicken. In the Meiji Period two brothers from the Owari clan bread local and Chinese Baifu Cochin chicken to develop a new food culture based on chicken. Even though cheap imports from foreign countries endangered local poultry production Nagoya Cochin has a strong brand power and is very popular with locals.

There are specialty shops and restaurants using the local chicken meat in traditional Japanese foods such as Nabe (Japanese hot pot) but also in chicken Sashimi and Karaage fried chicken.

For a wide variety of Nagoya Cochin dishes visit Kururu. This atmospheric restaurant specializes in the chicken brand and offers dishes like chicken Sashimi and Hikizuri, Japanese hot pot made with chicken and vegetables.

Kururu

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Sat + Sun 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Address: 4-3-11 Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 450-0002

Google Maps

Kishimen (Nagoya)

Image via Wikimedia Commons by toshinori baba

Kishimen are flat, and broad noodles served in a hot tamari soy sauce broth. Other common ingredients include dried bonito flakes, Kamaboko (steamed fish paste), boiled spinach and spring onions. Kishimen are a type of Udon, just flatter with shorter cooking time; this makes the noodles more tender and easier to swallow. I have to admit that I still prefer traditional Udon noodles over Kishimen. 

Aside from the traditional variation of Kishimen served in the hot broth there are other very delicious variations, including curry Kishimen, cold Zaru Kishimen, which are dipped into a cold soup before eating or Nagoya Cochin Miso Kishimen as it is served at Ekikama Kishimen at Nagoya Station (my favorite kind of Kishimen combining 3 Nagoya staples: Cochin chicken, Miso and Kishimen). You can find more information about Ekikama Kishimen in the box below.

One of the best opportunities to try some authentic Kishimen is at Miya Kishimen Jingu Shop at the Atsuta Jingu, one of the most interesting places in Nagoya. You can find out more about Atsuta Jingu by reading my post about top things to do in Nagoya for first-timers.

Ekikama kishimen

Opening Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Address: 1-1-4 Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 450-0002

Google Maps

Miya Kishimen Jingu Shop

Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Address: 1-1-1 Atsuta Jingu Grounds, Atsuta-ku, Jingu, Nagoya 456-8585 

Google Maps

Ankake Spaghetti

Image via Wikimedia Commons by 小太刀

Ankake spaghetti doesn’t have much to do with Japanese cuisine, but still, it is very popular in the Aichi region and therefore worth mentioning in this Nagoya food blog. Ankake spaghetti is made from a rich spicey, peppery sauce which is topped with either ham (called Miraneze) or vegetables (called Kantori) or a combination of both (Mira-kan).

In the 60s the founder of Spaghetti House Yokoi invented the Ankake spaghetti which has been adopted since by many coffee shops and Western-styled restaurants across Aichi. You can try the original Ankake spaghetti at Spaghetti House Yokoi close to Sakae Station.

Spaghetti House Yokoi Sumiyoshi Head Office

Opening Hours: Tue – Sat 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sun + Mon 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Address: 2F Santou Building 3-10-11 Sakae, Naka Ward, Nagoya 460-0008

Google Maps

Teppan Spaghetti

If you have ever been upset by the fact that spaghetti tend to get cold before you are finished eating then Teppan spaghetti is the perfect dish for you. Spaghetti with a ketchup based sauce are served on a hot plate (called a Teppan Zara). Toppings include paprika, onions, small sausages, mushrooms and peas and to top everything off a beaten egg is poured over the spaghetti.

When the dish was first created Teppan spaghetti could mainly be found in Nagoya’s coffee shops but in recent years the dish has gained in popularity all across Japan and nowadays it is also served in spaghetti houses. A true Nagoya must eat dish!

Taiwan Ramen

Image via Flickr by Tadashi Sugiyama

Taiwan Ramen are not like the name suggest from Taiwan, but a Nagoya creation. Spicy peppers and garlic are added to minced meat together with leak and bean sprouts. The ramen soup is based on a chicken broth and the contrast between spicy topping and refreshing broth is the secret to the popularity of Taiwan Ramen.

Nowadays Taiwan Ramen can be found in almost 50 percent of the local Chinese and Ramen restaurants in Nagoya, but you can also find them as instant cup noodles in supermarkets or in souvenir shops.

One of the best restaurants to try Taiwan Ramen is Misen a bright and lively restaurant frequented by families, couples and groups alike.

Misen Yaba Shop

Opening Hours: 5:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.

Address: Yaba Building 3-6-3 Osu, Naka Ward, Nagoya 460-0011

Google Maps

Nagoya Dessert Oni Manju

Oni Manju (devils rice cake) is a simple dessert that can be only found in Aichi. The Manju is made from rice flour with sweet potato cubes sticking out of the surface like the horns of the devil.

The simple snack can be found in department stores as well as specialty stores all over Nagoya and is a great little bite in between.

One of the best places to try freshly made Oni Manju is Baikado. The Oni Manju are chunky, yellow and have a natural sweetness that makes them popular with the locals. They sell out quickly so make sure to come early.

Baikado

Opening Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Address: 1-6-2 Suemoritori, Chikusa Ward, Nagoya 464-0821

Google Maps

Uiro

Image via Wikimedia Commons by 岩佐 栄三

Uiro is not limited to Nagoya and can be found all over the country. The confectionary is made from steam rice flour and sugar to which other flavors are added such as brown sugar, green tea, red bean or yuzu citrus.

90% of the sweet is produced in the area which makes it a true Nagoya specialty. It is a very popular souvenir to bring home to friends and family after a visit to Nagoya and can be found in department stores and souvenir shops.

Inside the Meitetsu underground shopping street of Nagoya Station you can find Osu Uiro, an Uiro shop with an almost 70 year old tradition of making Uiro. They have different varieties of Uiro for every taste.

Osu Uiro

Opening Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Address: 1-2 Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 450-0002

Google Maps

Other Things to Try in Nagoya

The list above only mentions the unique Nagoya Meshi to be found almost exclusively in Nagoya and the surrounding areas. Of course, there are delicious dished that can be found all over Japan, including in Nagoya, and for that reason, it is time to list up just a couple of the best dishes not to miss: Sushi, Tempura, Yakiniku, Soba.

Did you realize that not only the food but also the drinks in Japan are unique? I suggest you find the time and explore a supermarket, convenience store or you raid a vending machine to try some of the most interesting Japanese drinks while you are in the country.

Best Restaurants near Nagoya Station

I do recommend you stay near Nagoya Station on your trip to Nagoya, just because it is most convenient. It is easy to get around the city using either the metro or tourist loop bus called Meguru; the central station is where all intercity buses and trains arrive and depart from.

If you are still wondering where to eat in Nagoya after you have arrived in Nagoya, Nagoya Station is a great place to have some lunch or dinner.

Here are a couple of restaurants I mentioned above that are found around Nagoya Station:

Ekikama kishimen

Opening Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Address: 1-1-4 Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 450-0002

Google Maps

hitsumabushi inou (Esca Shop)

Opening Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Address: 6-9 Esca Underground Shopping Street, Tsubakicho, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 453-0015 

Google Maps

Komeda's Coffee (Esca Shop)

Opening Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Address: 6-9 Esca Underground Shopping Street, Tsubakicho, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 453-0015

Google Maps

Sekai no Yamachan Nagoya Station East Shop

Opening Hours: 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Address: 4-16-27 Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 450-0002

Google Maps

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