Nagoya Bucket List: Top 15 Best Things to do in Nagoya, Japan

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical gardens by Bariston via Wikipedia CC
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Tourist Attractions and Best Things to do in Nagoya, Japan

This is the fourth largest city in Japan and it sits in the charming Aichi region of the country. It Is very popular for being the center of the automotive industry in Japan and you are going to find all the big name factories here. There are many things to do in Nagoya as there are many tourist attractions that you can visit.

Best Things to do in Nagoya
Best Things to do in Nagoya

Top 15 things to do in Nagoya

Go sightseeing at Toyota Exhibition Hall

Toyota Kaikan Museum by Matthew Chan via Flickr CC
Toyota Kaikan Museum by Matthew Chan via Flickr CC
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Nagoya is popular for being the central hub for Toyota production and one of the first things to do in Nagoya when you are visiting is to go sightseeing at the exhibition hall where you will get to see 20 different vehicles which are just made at the factory. You can go on a tour which lasts for two hours where you will get to know more about the history of Toyota as a brand. You will also get to see some of the new products that Toyota are working on.

Explore Nagoya Castle

Nagoya Castle
Nagoya Castle

This is among the best thing to do in Nagoya and you will have to take a detour on your journey to Kyoto. This is a true gem in this city and it was the first Japanese castle to be titled a National Treasure in 1930. You will learn more about the history of the Castle as you move around and explore the artifacts on each floor of the castle. The highlight of this tour is the samurai performance you will get to see on the weekend.

Walk around Noritake Garden

Noritake Garden by Bariston via Wikipedia CC
Noritake Garden by Bariston via Wikipedia CC

This garden dates back to 1904 and it is made up of the grounds of one of the famous ceramics makers in Japan. You can check out a range of period relics like the old-fashioned kilns and there is a gallery at this garden that you can learn more about the history of ceramics production here. The highlight of this garden is you can also make and glaze your own piece as it homes Craft Center and Museum and you can also shop for your own ceramics items here.

Have fun at Osu Kannon and shopping arcade

Osu Kannon photo by Gryffindor via Wikipedia CC
Osu Kannon photo by Gryffindor via Wikipedia CC

These are two attractions which are a large red Buddhist temple and several covered streets with fun shops. At this attraction, you will be able to buy souvenirs for your loved ones like electronics, snacks, shoes, clothes, or even go for a bite. You can also go visit the large statue of the Japanese Maneki Neko but you should try and avoid this area if you don’t like smoking.

Visit Atsuta-Jingu

Atsuta Shrine by Bariston via Wikipedia CC
Atsuta Shrine by Bariston via Wikipedia CC

This is a shrine which was built 1900 years ago and it was destroyed over the years before it was rebuilt in 1966. It is now popular for being one of the most important Shinto shrines in the country. The shrine is famous for its grass-cutting sword which the locals believe that it was given to the Japanese Royal Family by Amaterasu-Omikami who is the Shinto Sun Goddess. You should also make sure that you visit the Treasure Hall which is known for its masks, paintings, and weaponry.

Explore Nagoya City Science Museum

Nagoya City Science Museum photo via Wikipedia CC
Nagoya City Science Museum photo via Wikipedia CC

This is one of the worthwhile things to do in Nagoya as it is a cool museum, you will love the displays which are interactive and there are small performances at specified times. You will be amazed at this museum and it is going to change your mind about science as you will be in awe of the things that are around you and even the entire universe.

View the city from Nagoya TV Tower

Nagoya TV Tower by Bariston via Wikipedia CC
Nagoya TV Tower by Bariston via Wikipedia CC

This is among the main landmarks in Nagoya with a height of up to 180m. It is widely regarded as the oldest of its kind in Japan and it was built even before the famous Tokyo Tower which is in the country’s capital city. You can look over Nagoya and the neighboring Hisaya-Odori Park from the observation deck which is at a height of 100m.

Have fun at Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium

Port of Nagoya and Aquarium by Bariston via Wikipedia CC
Port of Nagoya and Aquarium by Bariston via Wikipedia CC

This is an important shipping port for Japan and it is a place where you get a lot of fun. At this attraction, there is a little mall with shops and restaurants, an outdoor park area, and many events are held here at certain times of the year like the during the Golden week there is a Yosakoi dancing festival and so much more. You can also visit the aquarium in the area where you will get to see different species of fish.

Go sightseeing at Tokugawa Art Museum

Tokugawa Art Museum by Bariston via Wikipedia CC
Tokugawa Art Museum by Bariston via Wikipedia CC

If you love art, then this is a must see place for you while you are in Nagoya and you will get to know about the history and culture of the Japanese art from this museum. You will get to see 10,000 collections which are on display here and the highlight of this museum is the art galleries which is dedicated to the artwork of the Shogun family. You will also get to see many cultural relics like scroll which are created in the 12th century.

Watch the Nagoya Sumo Tournament

Sumo Tournament by BradBeattie via Wikipedia CC
Sumo Tournament by BradBeattie via Wikipedia CC

This tournament is known to take place in July for fifteen days and one of the things to do in Nagoya is to come here and watch the tournament as you will get to see some of the best sumo wrestlers in Japan in action. This is a quintessential tradition in Japan and you should ensure you look out for all the small touches like wrestlers purifying the ring by throwing salt in front of them before a match.

Go sightseeing at Arimatsu Tie-dyeing Museum

This is among the quirky attractions in Nagoya and you will learn everything about the traditional art of Shibori which is also called tie-dyeing. You will get to see many galleries which will tell you the history of Shibori and the highlight of the attraction is the check out the local artisans at work who will explain how the pieces are made to you. You can even try and make your own items and it can take up to three hours based on the complexity of the design.

Visit the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical gardens

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical gardens by Bariston via Wikipedia CC
Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical gardens by Bariston via Wikipedia CC

At the zoo, you will get to see different animals but many of the enclosures are small and you can just skip this and visit the botanical garden. You will surely love the botanical garden which is located next to the zoo where you will enjoy the serene atmosphere. If you want to escape the city, then this is the right place for you to come.

Explore the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art

Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art by Yuua Tamai via Flickr CC
Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art by Yuya Tamai via Flickr CC

This is one of the best art museums in Nagoya and it is home to collections and galleries of both the Japanese and international art. The highlight of the museum is that you will get to see art pieces that are painted by famous artist like Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst and you can also check out works by Japanese artists from the 20th century to the modern day. You will also get to see pieces of arts from the Edo period and items like ceramics and jewelry and even paintings.

Try out the local food

Miso Katsu by N W via Flickr CC
Miso Katsu by N W via Flickr CC

Although Nagoya is not well known for its food scene like other cities in Japan, you will still get some delicious local cuisines that you can try out nevertheless. Nagoya is well known for its miso production which is a sauce that is made from soybeans and you can try out the miso katsu which is a fried pork cutlet that is covered in think miso sauce. You can also try out tenmusu which is a kind of shrimp tempura that is stuffed into the rice and coated in seaweed.

Try out the local desserts

Uiro Mochi by Yukari Abe via Flickr CC
Uiro Mochi by Yukari Abe via Flickr CC

Although Japan is well-known for its mochi which is a sticky dessert, Nagoya also has its own regional variation which is called uiro. This is a kind of a mix between sweet and gummy treat which is made from a glutinous rice flour that is mixed with sugar. The flavor from local ingredients like the matcha (green tea powder) or the azuki (red bean paste) is then added to give it flavor.

Although Nagoya is well known for its automotive industry, there are many attractions that you can still visit to have fun and relax which will make your trips worthwhile as you also learn about the city history along the way.

Nagoya Travel and Tour PackagesNagoya Travel and Tour Packages

Nagoya City Walking Tour with 1-Day Subway Pass

Nagoya City Walking Tour photo via KLOOK
Nagoya City Walking Tour photo via KLOOK

The best way to get to know Nagoya intimately is to walk around it! Go on a walking tour accompanied by an English-speaking tour guide, who will regale you with stories and commentary on Nagoya’s history and its attractions as you walk.

Nagoya Travel and Tour PackagesBOOK THIS TOUR

Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium

Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium photo via KLOOK
Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium photo via KLOOK

Divided into two facilities, the Port of Nagoya Aquarium is a world-class aquarium showcasing marine life from across the globe and boasting one of the largest outdoor tanks in the world.

Nagoya Tour PackagesBOOK NOW

Do you have other recommended fun and interesting things to do in Nagoya? Please feel free to share by posting a comment below.

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