Nagoya Sightseeing & Attractions
Our top picks of things to see and do
Along with Himeji, Matsumoto and Osaka, Nagoya is one of the last standing great castles of Japan. Although the castle was nearly completely destroyed in fires resulting from WWII bombing, it was rebuilt in 1959 and reconstruction continues even now for all surrounding buildings in the palace complex. The reconstruction is set to finish in 2018, but don’t let this deter you from visiting! The castle itself is still fully open to the public, as well as the construction zone, where you can view the progress.
The castle is easily accessible from the Shiyakusho Subway Station.
Atsuta Jingu (Shrine)
Founded over 1900 years ago the Atsuta Shrine (or ‘miya’ as the locals refer to it) is one of two most important shrines in Japan (the other being Ise). It is the site where the Kusanagi (sacred sword) (one of three pieces of the Imperial Regalia) is housed. Although these are not open for the public to view there are plenty of other artifacts and sights to see in the shrine’s complex.
Visitors will notice a difference in the architecture of the shrine and buildings; they are fashioned after the shrines of the Grand Ise Shrine of Mie Prefecture and embody the concept of simplicity and minimalism.
The Atsuta is easily accessible at the Jingumae Station.
For hundreds of years the Osu Temple (at this time it was located in Gifu and called ‘Kitano Tenmangu’) served as a potent center for prosthelytization of Buddhism to the surrounding areas. However in 1605 flooding destroyed the temple and it was then moved and rebuilt at its current location in Nagoya, outside Nagoya Castle where it stood as a stronghold to protect the south side of the Castle.
Visitors will enjoy the temples large grounds, main hall and artifacts within. On the 18th and 28th of every month visitors can also find the grounds converted into a hustling and bustling flea market, where they can do some local shopping.
Although not in the same prefecture of Nagoya, Kiso valley (Nagano) serves as an excellent day trip from the city. The valley lies 55 miles North East of Nagoya and consists of a series of perfectly preserved old towns: Tsumago, Magome, Narai and Hirasawa.
The best towns to visit would be Tsumago and Narai. They are reminiscent of Takayama’s ‘Old Town’ but more intimate and less touristy. The towns offer a chance to see Japan as it was four hundred years ago during the Edo Period.
Take the JR Shinano Limited Express directly to Narai. For Tsumago, Take the same train but get off at Nagiso station and take the bus from there to Tsumago.
Nagoya’s center for shopping, entertainment and dining, Sakae is just a little over a mile east of JR Nagoya station and is accessible by the Higashiyama Subway line or alternatively the Meiko Subway line, both at Sakae Station.
The highlight of the area is in the Oasis 21 and Nadya Park complexes where you will find very hip architecture and shops, shops, shops.
For more shopping, entertainment and dining, visitors will find the Midland Square more than acceptable. More of a skyscraper than a square, it is in fact the tallest building in Nagoya and for a few bucks you can ascend the observation deck and view the city from the stunning ‘Sky Promenade’.
Nagoya Nakamura Ward, Aichi Prefecture 450-0002, Japan