Knowing what to do in a city is always a little bit challenging. You are not familiar with the sights that are worth visiting, you don’t know where the sights are located so it is hard to make a reasonable plan, especially if you spend multiple days at a destination.
To make the planning process as easy as possible I compiled the perfect Nagoya itinerary for first-time visitors.
So, let me first try to answer the question ‘what to see in Nagoya in one day?’
If you stay only one day in Nagoya do the ‘1 Day Nagoya Itinerary’. It includes the absolute highlights, the must do’s of Nagoya, including Nagoya Castle, Tokugawa Museum, and my very own Food Tour. Which will all give you a great overview of Nagoya.
For two days in Nagoya, follow the ‘1 Day Nagoya Itinerary’ and the ‘2 Day Nagoya Itinerary’. This will give you a great overview of what Nagoya has to offer.
For visitors staying 3 days in Nagoya, add a third day in Nagoya. You can either use one of my suggestions mentioned below or find other activities that interest you. I have an exhaustive list of things to do in Nagoya which you can find here.
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!
Before you get started you might want to have a listen to this interview I gave Amateur Traveler. It’s is a Nagoya itinerary you could follow, just a little bit different from the one described below:Amateur Traveler Episode 677 – Travel to Nagoya, Japan
1 Day Nagoya Itinerary
If you only have 1 day in Nagoya and you want to make the most of your stay I recommend the following Nagoya 1 day itinerary:
- Nagoya Morning Service at Komeda’s Coffee
- Nagoya Castle
- Tokugawa Art Museum
- Tokugawa Garden
- Nagoya Meshi Food Tour
- Sakae District
- Aichi Arts Center
- Clubbing in Nagoya
Nagoya Morning Service at Komeda’s Coffee
What to do in Nagoya in the morning? Start your day like a real local by having a Nagoya Morning (also called a Nagoya Morning Service). At many cafes in Nagoya if you order a coffee in the morning (usually until 11 a.m.) you will get a toast and a boiled egg, free of charge. Other variations include egg spread or Ogura toast. This service is called Morning (モーニング) and can only be found around Nagoya.
I recommend you visit a cafe chain called Komeda’s Coffee that originated in Nagoya but can now be found all over the country. They serve delicious coffee and also have a simple but delicious menu for lunch or cakes in the afternoon.
If you just arrived in Nagoya in the morning by train or bus you can find a Komeda’s Coffee close to Nagoya Station (there are about 5 close to the station, check Google Maps). Alternatively, if you have already spent one night in Nagoya you will probably also easily find one close to your accommodation.
After your breakfast, it is time to visit the landmark of Nagoya: Nagoya Castle.
Nagoya Metro and Bus Information
You can get around Nagoya conveniently either by Metro or Meguru Tourist Loop Bus. Both options are quite cheap and convenient. GoogleMaps will be helpful for directions, including detailed information for Metro use.
In my opinion, Nagoya Castle is much nicer than Osaka Castle. Nagoya Castle is worth a visit even if you have visited one or two other castles on your trip in Japan.
The recently renovated interior of the Honmaru Palace is really breathtaking with light woods and colorful golden wall paintings with motives inspired by nature. This might just already be the highlight of your Nagoya one day itinerary.
WIFI Spots, Portable WIFI, and Sim Card Information
In most stations in Nagoya, you will now find Free WIFI spots, or you can buy a portable WIFI or tourist Sim card on klook.com and pick it up when you arrive in Japan.
Check out your options on KLOOK.com and buy your portable WIFI or Sim card today!
Tokugawa Art Museum
During the Tokugawa era from 1603 to 1868, Nagoya was officially founded with the construction of Nagoya Castle and the relocation of the nearby regional capital Kiyosu to Nagoya in 1614. The rulers of Nagoya were the Owari family one of the three major branches of the ruling Tokugawa clan.
On the site of the former family residence, the Tokugawa Art Museum was constructed which now displays several of the Owari family treasures including swords and armors, utensils for tea ceremony as well as Noh theater masks and costumes.
In essence, you can see everything here that is no longer located at Nagoya Castle.
Next to the museum is a beautiful landscape garden which was formerly part of a retirement residence of the local lords but was unfortunately destroyed during the Second World War.
The garden was restored and reopened to the public in 2004 and now visitors from all over the world can enjoy a stroll around the garden with its central pond and bridges.
Nagoya Meshi Food Tour
To really learn about the culture and history of Nagoya, I suggest you participate in a Nagoya Meshi Food Tour. If you only have one day in Nagoya you should make the most of your stay, and there is no other way to learn so much about Nagoya than by joining a 3-hour tour. This is the best thing to do for a Nagoya one day trip.
During the Nagoya Meshi Food Tour, you will get to sample 7-8 local Nagoya foods like Miso Nikomi Udon, Hitsumabushi, Tebasaki, Tenmusu, Ebi Senbei and more.
Learn about the different dishes and how to eat them right, the history of the restaurants, and a lot about the culture of Nagoya and Japan.
The tour takes place in Sakae District, the downtown area of Nagoya, with lots of shopping opportunities and great nightlife.
Find out more about the Nagoya Food Tour and book your tour today!
The tour ends at around 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. the perfect time to start your evening. You can either stay at Sekai no Yamachan (the last stop of the food tour) and have a couple more drinks here. Or find another bar around Sakae. There is so much you can experience in Nagoya in a day, so don’t let the night go to waste and make the most of your one day trip to Nagoya.
Aichi Arts Center
I also recommend viewing Nagoya from above at the 10th floor of the Aichi Arts Center next to Oasis 21. It is open until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m.
Clubs in Nagoya
If you like to dance the night away you will also find the best Nagoya night clubs in Nagoya in Sakae district. Based on my research, I would recommend Steps or iD Cafe. A worthy end for your Nagoya day trip itinerary, I hope.
2 Day Nagoya Itinerary
For your second day in Nagoya (if you have two days in Nagoya) I recommend the following this sample Nagoya itinerary:
- Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
- Noritake Garden
- Atsuta Shrine
- Miya Kishimen
- Osu Shopping District
- Maid Cafe
- Osu Uiro and Aoyagi Uiro
Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
After a nice breakfast, I recommend you start your second day of the Nagoya 2 day itinerary at one of the Toyota museums. There are actually multiple in and around Nagoya, but I would visit the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. It is the easiest to access just one bus stop (on the Meguru loop bus) or one train stop (on the Meitetsu train) from Nagoya Station.
At this museum, you will learn about the history of Toyota, first as a textile manufacturer, and later as Japan’s first car maker. Exhibits are very interactive, tours are offered in English, and the English audio guide is also very informative.
If you are interested in ceramics you should have a visit to Noritake Garden. This producer of bone china is located not far from the Toyota museum in a beautiful green park with red brick warehouses.
At the Noritake craft center, you can learn how bone china is produced by following the production process live. It also houses the museum with beautiful examples of plates, cups, and other dishes exhibited.
No Nagoya travel itinerary would be really complete without a visit to Atsuta Jingu.
The Atsuta Shrine in the south of Nagoya is one of the most important Shinto shrines in Japan. It houses the sword Kusanagi one of the three imperial regalia. Although, unfortunately, it is not displayed to the general public. Nevertheless, the almost 2000-year-old shrine is definitely worth a visit.
You can find all the relevant information about a visit to Atsuta Jingu by reading my post.
Once you have satisfied your thirst for religion and history at the Atsuta Shrine you might as well also satisfy your hunger. At Miya Kishimen, the restaurant on the grounds of Atsuta Jingu you will find delicious Kishimen noodle dishes.
This Nagoya staple restaurant has been serving this typical Nagoya dish for many years and has even expanded to different branches all over Nagoya.
But the atmosphere is best at the original restaurant next to Minamishinike Pond close to the main gate of Atsuta Shrine.
Osu Shopping Street
Osu Shopping Arcade right behind the Osu Kannon, one of the most important Buddhist temples in Nagoya, is an aging shopping street with a lot of character.
The more than 400 shops and restaurants have been selling their wares and dishes for many years and here you can not only find cheap clothing and souvenirs but also delicious food.
It is also a great place if you happen to have the misfortune of visiting Nagoya on a rainy day as the whole network of shopping streets is roofed over.
Find out more about the Osu shopping streets here.
Maid cafes are said to have originated from Osu in Nagoya. I do not know whether that is true or not, but Osu does have quite a high density of maid cafes.
If you want to experience cute girls talking in high-pitched voices while enjoying some very cute desserts visit a maid cafe in Osu.
You can book your Maidreamin maid cafe experience conveniently online on klook.com.
Osu Uiro and Aoyagi Uiro
Don’t forget to try another Nagoya specialty: Uiro.
Cubes made from rice flour, sugar, water, and different flavors such as cherry blossom, tea, brown sugar, chestnut, lime and more.
In Osu, you will find two different stores selling Uiro both with more than a hundred years of history. Try both Osu Uiro and Aoyagi Uiro and compare the taste.
3 Day Nagoya Itinerary
Within two days you have seen the highlights most tourists visit while in Nagoya. If you have three days in Nagoya I have multiple options for you depending on your interests.
Legoland and SCMaglev Rail Park
If you are visiting with younger children they will love you forever if you spend your last day in Nagoya at Legoland.
Also located on the same island is a Sea Life as well as the SCMaglev Rail Park.
With that many attractions close by you can spend a whole day here and your children (and you) will never get bored.
If you are looking for more things to do in Nagoya with kids, click here.
You could either spend a day at Nagashima Resort, an amusement complex about 30 minutes from Nagoya in Mie Prefecture.
The resort consists of an amusement park called Nagashima Spa Land, an outlet shopping mall called Mitsu Outlet Shopping Mall, and Nabana no Sato a flower park. Nabana no Sato is especially famous for its illumination which lasts from October to May each year.
You can spend a whole day here. In the morning ride the rollercoasters at Nagashima Spa Land, in the early afternoon go shopping at the outlet shopping mall and once it gets dark, visit the amazing illumination at Nabana no Sato.
Day Trip from Nagoya
Alternatively, you can also do one of many day trips from Nagoya. I especially recommend Inuyama with its original castle, and old town feel, Gujo Hachiman with its waterways, or Shirakawa-go, a Unesco World Heritage Site with thatched roof houses.
There are many more day trips you can do from Nagoya. Check out the full post to get inspired.
Everything Else You Need to Know for a Trip to Nagoya
Now that you have a good idea of how to spend your time in Nagoya, below you will find more useful information on how to get to the city in the first place. Learn also how to get around Nagoya from sight to sight, and where to stay in Nagoya.
How to Get to Nagoya
You can reach Nagoya conveniently by flight to Nagoya Airport from destinations inside and outside the country. From Nagoya Airport you have multiple options to get to the city. You can find them here.
If you are arriving from other big cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, or Kyoto, you have an array of options to reach Nagoya.
How to Get Around Nagoya
The two best options to get around Nagoya for your Nagoya itinerary are the public bus as well as the subway.
I recommend you buy a combination ticket that lets you ride for 24 hours on all subways and city buses as well as the Meguru loop bus.
The Meguru loop bus is the tourist bus passing by the major sights like the Toyota Museum, Nagoya Castle, Tokugawa Art Museum and Sakae District.
To get to Osu and Atsuta Jingu you can use the subway.
For eventual day trips on day 3 of your itinerary in Nagoya, you will need to purchase extra tickets for the different trains or buses and cannot use the day ticket mentioned above.
Where to Stay in Nagoya
Nagoya boasts with many very good hotels for every budget. From cheap hostels and capsule hotels to the most luxurious hotels, you can find all of them in Nagoya. Since the city center is relatively compact there is usually a train station close by from which you can explore the rest of the city.
Find more information on hotels by reading any of the posts below.
This Nagoya itinerary is packed to the brim with all the things you can do in Nagoya. From morning to late at night you will have a full program with the best that Nagoya has to offer.
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.
For more details on Nagoya travel in general check out the Nagoya Travel Guide. And if you are looking for activities outside of Nagoya have a look at different day trips from Nagoya many of which are more convenient with a Japan Rail Pass.
If you liked this post, pin it to your ‘Japan Itinerary’ or ‘Japan Travel’ Pinterest board. So you can easily find it again! Use one of the images below as a pin image.
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.