10 Must-See Attractions in Nagoya

Nagoya is one of the most culturally vibrant destinations in Japan. The Pacific coast, Chubu region metropolis ranks fourth in the country in population and all told, is home to 2 million people.

These ten must-see attractions help make Nagoya a phenomenal city.

10. Grand Sumo Tournament

Nagoya’s Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium hosts one of the most important events in Japan’s professional Sumo event calendar. For two weeks in March, the honbasho, or grand tournament, transforms Nagoya into the capital of the sumo world.

9. Tokugawa Art Museum

Private museums often offer a different opportunity to admire art and endemic culture. The Tokugawa Art Museum in Nagoya is no exception. The relatively small museum is a gem, with more than 12,000 items on display. Exhibits range from Imperial swords and costumes to ceramics and art from the Song Dynasty in China. The hallmark treasure of the Tokugawa Art Museum however, is a set of Heian period scrolls from the early 12th century.

8. Midland Square

If you love heights, Nagoya has the skyscraper for you. Midland Square is the fifth-tallest office tower in Japan but has the top observation deck in the country. Come for superb views of the city and first-rate shopping, dining and entertainment. Midland Square is in the Meieki district of Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, where visitors can also check out the world’s number one train station by floor size. Nagoya Station spans a formidable 446,000 m2. The Nagoya TV Tower has a notable observation deck as well and offers good views of Hisaya-odori park.

7. Noritake Factory

Nagoya is home to one of the most eminent porcelain and chinaware manufacturers in the world. Even if you only have a mild interest in fine china, do yourself a huge favor and visit the Noritake Factory in Nagoya. The veritable museum/production house is a pretty cool, if not random, landmark in the city.

6. Port of Nagoya Aquarium

Geography helps make Nagoya a prime aquarium destination. The port city on the Pacific has one of the best marine life zoos in Asia.

5. Shirakawa Park

For a lush urban oasis within Nagoya, head to Shirakawa Park. The public space is also home to the Nagoya Science Museum and Nagoya Museum of Modern Art. In clement weather, Shirakawa draws a fair number of locals and visitors alike.

4. Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts

The sister museum of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts is a foremost effort on the part of the Massachusetts institution to establish a global presence abroad. Thankfully, the Nagoya incarnation is terrific and easily accessible from Kanayama Station and the city’s superb subway system.

3. Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens is one of the most remarkable and immense such point of interest in Asia, let alone Japan. The marvelous tourist attraction dates back to 1937 and contains a wide variety of brilliant fauna and flora, not to mention the observation deck of Higashiyama Sky Tower.

2. Atsuta Shrine

Few monuments in Japan are as venerable as Nagoya’s Atsuta Shrine. The grand Shinto complex attracts over 9 million visitors a year on average and incredibly, was founded under the reign of the 12th emperor of Japan, some 2,000 years ago. A number of important festivals are held at Atsuta Shrine throughout the year. Other holy sites in Nagoya include Koshoji Temple, Nittaiji Temple, Toganji Temple and Arako Kannon Temple.

1. Nagoya Castle

Nagoya’s most famous landmark was originally built in the early 16th century for a feudal lord of the Imagawa clan. The beautiful and historically significant complex underwent a vast restoration throughout the late 20th century. Nagoya Castle is now a Special National Monument in Japan.

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