So, you are planning a stop in Nagoya on your way across Japan. Perfect! You might we wondering what to do in Nagoya, but let me assure you, there really is a lot to do and see here but also many amazing day-trips from Nagoya you shouldn’t miss.
Great Deals in Nagoya and the Rest of Japan
To guarantee an amazing trip to Nagoya, book your portable WIFI or Sim card with Klook, as well as convenient transport from the airport to your hotel in the city.
Find great deals and discounts for your trip to Nagoya on Klook. We use this all the time when traveling around Japan!
Here is a list of 17 things to do in Nagoya.
A visit to Nagoya Castle is the one things everyone visiting Nagoya does. So, I thought I would get it out of the way right away to make room for other things that are also really worth doing in Nagoya.
In my opinion Nagoya Castle is more beautiful than the one in Osaka (but don’t tell that anyone from Osaka). I have visited Nagoya Castle a couple of times, with friends and family and every time I really think it is a very beautiful castle. Not only from the outside but also the recently renovated inside is really worth the visit.
Atsuta Jingu is probably the oldest structure in Nagoya. The Shinto shrine has a history that spans more than 1900 years. It was first mentioned in the very first historical account in Japan and is even today one of the most important Shinto shrines in the country (together with Ise Jingu). Atsuta Jingu houses the sacred sword Kusanagi, which is one of the three imperial regalias (unfortunately the sword is not open to viewing by the public).
Learn more about Atsuta Jingu by reading the full post about it.
I wouldn’t be Nagoya Foodie if I didn’t also give you some food recommendations while I’m at it. At Atsuta Jingu you can try some of the Nagoya food I am raving about here on the blog.
At the restaurant located on the grounds of the shrine called Miya Kishimen, you can try authentic Kishimen. Kishimen are a flat, broad type of Udon noodles only found in Nagoya served with a hot broth, bonito flakes and some sliced Kamaboko steamed fish paste. But there are also many other delicious variations available.
Osu Shopping Street
Just behind Osu Kannon, one of the most important temples in Nagoya, is the beginning of Osu Shopping Street. The street is a fun place to visit if you want to do some shopping or are looking for delicious Japanese food. There are more than 400 shops and restaurants in this aging but very charming roofed-over network of shopping streets.
The area around Nagoya Station is the heart of the city. Here you will find the cities skyscrapers such as the JR Central Towers which rise 245 meters above the station, big department stores with unlimited shopping opportunities, and countless restaurants.
If you are arriving in Nagoya by bullet train or bus you will be arriving at Nagoya Station.
Ready to Book your Trip to Nagoya?
Find the cheapest flights on skyscanner.com, book amazing hotels in Nagoya on booking.com and reserve discounted tours and other activities on klook.com!
The best way to get around Japan is a Japan Rail Pass, book your Japan Rail Pass now on jrailpass.com.
There are great food opportunities around Nagoya Station. Either head to the below-ground levels of any department store, where you will find a great selection of foods to consume right away or to take with you, or visit some of the underground shopping malls, such as Esca right next to Nagoya Station, where you will find very delicious restaurants.
Tokugawa Art Museum
Another Nagoya attraction is the Tokugawa Art Museum, it houses relics, such as swords and armors, and arts, like tea ceremony utensils, Noh theater masks as well as costumes, from the Tokugawa period. The museum was built on the site of the former residence of the ruling family in Nagoya, the Owari branch of the Tokugawa clan.
Sakae is where Nagoya’s nightlife is happening. There are some great bars and clubs scattered around if you are into such things. If you prefer it quieter you can just stroll around the area and admire the illuminated buildings all around Oasis 21, the very modern and well-designed bus terminal, with the TV tower in the background.
By the way, if you visit during the day, the TV tower is a great place to admire Nagoya from the top.
I was so surprised to learn that Toyota is a town not far from Nagoya. In Toyota, the incredible success of the Toyota Motor Corporation began. Even today the seat of Toyota is still in Toyota and this makes Nagoya an amazing place to learn about the worlds most successful car brand.
There are several Toyota Museums you can choose from in Nagoya. For example the Toyota Automotive Museum, the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology as well as the Toyota Kaikan Museum.
Nagoya Walking Tour
Explore Nagoya with a guide on a Nagoya City Walking Tour. Visit Nagoya Castle, Oasis 21 in Sakae and Osu Kannon as well as Osu Shopping Street and learn about Nagoya’s history and culture in detail from a knowledgeable and English speaking guide.
The SCMaglev and Railway Park as the Nagoya Railway Museum is officially known is a great place for rainy June days. It houses a collection of different trains from old steam locomotives to experimental high-speed Shinkansen trains.
Another highlight of the museum are the train simulators where you can learn to drive a Shinkansen train as well as learn about the tasks of a train conductor in Japan.
Karakuri Robot Experience
Karakuri are mechanical dolls used to entertain guests and serve tea. Let yourself be entertained by a Karakuri doll and compare it to one of the most modern entertainment robots in Japan by participating in a Karakuri Robot Experience in Nagoya.
You will also have the opportunity to see the workings of other mechanical dolls mounted on top of a festival float. These amazing ‘Kabuki’ dolls will play a little bit of theater for you.
It is a great opportunity to experience Japanese craftsmanship and culture up close in Nagoya. Book your Karakuri Robot Experience on klook.com today!
A little bit south of the city on an island connected by an impressive bridge you will find Nagashima Resort. Nagashima Resort consists of the Nagashima Spa Land amusement park, an outlet shopping mall, a hot spring resort, a water park and the hugely popular flower park called Nabana No Sato.
I visit Nabana No Sato every year in winter when the park is transformed into a spectacle of lights. The park is decorated with millions and millions of lights and it really feels like stepping into a fairy tale. If you want to learn more about Nabana No Sato read on here.
I also visit the outlet quite often, because it is a great place to do some shopping at bargain prices. Especially if you are into Japanese and also foreign brands.
Another Nagoya highlight you really can’t miss is Nagoya Meshi, the local cuisine. There are countless delicious dishes, such as Hitsumabushi, Tebasaki, Miso Nikomi Udon, Miso Katsu and much more to choose from and many amazing restaurants to explore in the city.
Check out my Nagoya Food Guide to learn about the different foods you can find in Nagoya as well as restaurant recommendations.
If you are visiting Nagoya with children the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium might be worth a visit. It is one of the better and larger aquariums in Japan and its main draw is the dolphins, beluga and orca whales. There are feeding sessions as well as three daily dolphin shows.
The regular entrance fee is 2000 yen and if you want to you can buy your voucher in advance on klook.com.
Legoland Japan opened just recently in 2017 in Nagoya. This amusement park is aimed at small children and features large Lego models of things like famous places in Japan including Tokyo, Kyoto and Mount Fuji built from millions of Lego blocks.
You can also learn how Lego bricks are manufactured, build your own Lego models and enjoy some kid-friendly rides. Of course, there are countless restaurants and shops where you can buy Lego sets.
Your kids will be even happier if they don’t have to stand in line for tickets at the entrance. If you book your tickets via klook.com you can use the special klook entrance and skip the line. This saves not only time but also nerves. Let the holiday begin and book your ticket on klook.com today!
If you think one day in Legoland just isn’t enough you can spend the night at the Legoland Hotel Japan a 4-star Lego-themed hotel that will excite your children with a kids entertainment area and kids pool.
Book your stay at the Legoland Hotel Japan today on booking.com and make your kid’s dreams come true!
One of the worlds largest planetariums is located inside the Nagoya City Science Museum. The program of the planetarium changes every month and focuses on current astronomical events. While the shows are only conducted in Japanese it is still interesting to watch the stars projected on the gigantic spherical screen.
Helicopter Flight Over Nagoya
Do you want to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or maybe propose to the love of your life while in Nagoya? Then you might want to book an unforgettable experience like a private helicopter ride over Nagoya.
Get a stunning view of Nagashima Spa Land, Nagoya Port, Nagoya Station and Sakae from above together with your loved ones. Feel safe with a Japanese and English speaking pilot during this once in a lifetime 30 minute flight in Nagoya.
Day Trips from Nagoya
I know we are talking about the things to do in Nagoya, but did you know there is a lot to do around Nagoya as well? Don’t miss some of the amazing places in Aichi, Mie and Gifu Prefectures surrounding Nagoya.
For example, a visit to Shirakawago a UNESCO world heritage site should be on top of your list, but also Takayama, Gero Onsen, Ise, and Inuyama cannot be missed. Check out my full list of day trips from Nagoya!
Everything Else You Need to Know
You might also want to have a look at my Nagoya Travel Guide which answers any and all questions a first-time visitor to Nagoya might have. You can find a full list of Nagoya Activities here. If you want to find out more about the Japan Rail Pass, where to buy it and if you really need it read about it here. If you arrive in Nagoya by plane, check out this guide on how to get from Nagoya Airport to Nagoya Station or your hotel.
If there is still anything you need help with please let me know in the comment section below this post or the Nagoya Travel Guide.
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In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.