Nagoya is Japan’s 3rd largest city after Tokyo (including Yokohama) and Osaka with around 2.3 million people. Nagoya is located west of Tokyo, 100 minutes away from Tokyo by the Shinkansen Bullet Train. Nagoya is a pleasant city, not as busy as Tokyo or Osaka and has plenty of tourist attractions. Here are a list of the best tourist attractions in Nagoya Japan:
Check out our video of the tourist highlights in Nagoya
Nagoya Castle dates back to 1528. Nagoya Castle is open to the public with displays inside the castle depicting life in the castle throughout the ages. Nagoya Castle is open every day from 9am – 4.30pm. Entrance fee to Nagoya Castle is Y500 per person. Children in junior high or younger is free of charge.
Around the grounds of Nagoya Castle there are many Sakura Trees (Cherry Blossom). Visiting in early April is the best chance to see the cherry blossoms here in full bloom.
Nagoya City Science Museum
Nagoya City Science Museum is located in the Hirokoji-Fushimi area of Nagoya, close to downtown Nagoya. Inside the large spherical ball is the world’s largest Planetarium. There are loads of interactive displays inside the Science Museum including a room where you can experience -30 degrees celcius and also a simulated tornado. The Nagoya Science Museum is open daily from 9.30am – 5pm, last entry is 4.30pm. Entrance fee is 800 Yen to visit the museum and planetarium or 400 Yen to just visit the museum. See more information at the Nagoya City Science Museum Website.
Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
The famous Toyota car company was started in Nagoya by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937. Before the car company was formed his father ran the Toyota Industries company which produced automated machines for the textiles industry. The Toyota Museum has on display the various luming and weaving machines that were built by Toyota Industries as well as a great exhibition of the Toyota cars and displays how the automated car production line was implemented by the Toyota car company. The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology is open 9.30am – 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays or the next day if Monday is a public holiday. Entrance fee to the Toyota Museum is 500 Yen for Adults, 300 Yen for High School Students or 200 Yen for Primary students. See more information at the Toyota Museum website.
See our video of the Toyota Mommemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
The Tokugawa Art Museum
The Tokugawa Art Museum has on display Japanese art and treasures that were accumulated by the Tokugawa family who ruled Nagoya during the Edo period. On display are collections of Japanese dolls, paintings, tea ceremony items and a great display of samurai swords and armour. The Tokugawa Art Museum is open 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. The museum is closed on Monday or the following the day if Monday is a public holiday. Entrance fee into the art museum is 1200 Yen. Or you can pay 1350 Yen for entrance to the museum and the Tokugawaen Gardens located right next door the the museum. Check out the Tokugawa Art Museum website.
The Tokugawaen Gardens
Located right next to the Tokugawa Art Museum are the most beautiful Japanese Gardens in all of Nagoya – the Tokugawaen Gardens. The gardens surround a huge pond which has some large Japanese carp fish swimming in it. There are small waterfalls, Japanese bridges and lovely sculptured Japanese Gardens. The Tokugawaen Gardens are open 9.30am – 5.30pm, closed on Mondays. Entrance fees to the gardens is 30o Yen. See the Tokugawaen Gardens website.
Nagoya TV Tower
To see the best view over Nagoya, head to the Nagoya TV Tower in the Higashi-ku area of Nagoya which has an observation deck at 90 meters. The Nagoya TV Tower is Japan’s oldest TV Tower, built in 1954.
Nagoya City Arts Museum
The Nagoya City Arts Museum is located right next to the Nagoya City Science Museum in the Hirokoji-Fushimi area of Nagoya, right next to Shirakawa Park. The Nagoya City Arts Museum has on display a range of contemporary art and modern art from Japan and overseas. There is art from Modigliani and other artists from the School of Paris period. There is also a good display of Mexican Renaissance work. The Nagoya City Art Museum is open fro 9.30am – 5pm Tuesday to Friday. On Friday the Art Museum is open until 8pm. Closed on Monday or the next day if Monday is a public holiday. Entry fee is 300 Yen. Check out the Nagoya City Arts Museum website.
Aichi Arts Centre
The Aichi Arts Centre is located close to the Nagoya TV Tower, in Higashi-ku Nagoya. The Aichi Arts Centre is a prefectural arts centre for arts, arts theatre, arts promotion and an arts library. Aichi Arts Centre Website.
Oasis 21 Shopping Mall
Oasis 21 is a large shopping mall build mostly underground. The impressive building above ground (pictured above) has a skywalk ontop so you walk around the top of the building, looking straight down through the glass walkway, also with nice views across to the Nagoya skyline. The Oasis 21 shopping mall often has concerts on the weekends starring J-Pop boy and girl bands. The Oasis 21 Shopping Mall is located right next to the Aichi Arts Centre, directly opposite the Nagoya TV Tower.
Cultural Path Area
The Cultural Path is a walking trail through Nagoya that starts at Nagoya Castle and leads down to the Tokugawaen Gardens. Along the route there are old houses and residence of some of the famous people that lived in Nagoya including Sasuka Toyoda who start Toyota Industries. Some of the buildings date back to the Edo, Meiji, Tasiho and Showa periods.
Noritake Gardens were originally a ceramic factory. Within the gardens you can still see the smoke stacks from the old factory. There is a museum within the gardens showing the various techniques for making ceramics. Throughout the gardens there are some Sakura trees (Cherry blossoms) with bloom each year around the end of March or early April. Entrance to the Noritake Gardens is free.
Sakae Entertainment Area of Nagoya
Sakae is an entertainment area of downtown Nagoya, located right next to the commercial centre of Nagoya. Sometimes referred to as Nagoya’s red light district, though as a Westerner you will probably not notice anything dodgy in this area. Sakae is totally safe to walk around with loads of people on the streets at night. The streets around Sakae are all light up with neon lights and the area has loads of Pachinko parlours, bars and restaurants. There are some great, small izakayas (Japanese pubs) in the Sakae area where you can try a range of the traditional food from Nagoya as well as traditional Japanese food.
You can see all of these tourist attractions in Nagoya in 1 day. There is a hop on hop off bus service run by Me-Guru bus company that stops at all of these attractions. To be able to see all of these places you will need to start the bus tour when it starts from Nagoya Station at 9.30pm. If you leave it later you will end up at the Nagoya City Science Museum close to 5pm and not be able to see inside (I made this mistake by getting up late in the morning!). The Me-Guru bus tour costs 500 Yen per person and there are buses stopping at the attractions every 20 minutes on weekends or 30 minutes during weekdays. See more info about the Nagoya Me-Guru bus tour. Most of the tourist places give you a discount if you show your Me-Guru bus ticket. For example entry to the Toyota Museum is 400 Yen with the bus ticket compared to the normal 500 Yen. Or at the Tokugawa Art Museum, entry is 1000 Yen with the Me-Guru bus ticket compared to the normal 1200Yen.
Also check out our guide to the Food You Have To Try in Nagoya
Hotels in Nagoya
See a full list of hotels in Nagoya