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Nagoya (???) is in Aichi prefecture, in the Chubu region of Honshu, one of the islands in Japan.
The hub of the Aichi region, Nagoya is Japan's fourth-largest city after Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka. The focal points of this sprawling agglomeration are Nagoya station (????) to the north, Sakae (?) to the east and Kanayama (??) to the south).
Not arriving via Centrair Airport?
- If you happen to arrive in Japan at Osaka's Kansai International Airport, Nagoya can be reached in no less than two hours by taking the Haruka limited express train to Shin-Osaka station, then changing to the Tokaido Shinkansen.
- A small number of air flights operate daily from Tokyo's Narita Airport to Centrair Airport, for the benefit of international passengers. Otherwise, Nagoya is no less than three hours away by taking the Narita Express limited express train to Tokyo station, then changing to the Tokaido Shinkansen.
Chubu Centrair International Airport, Japan's third major international gateway, is located on an artificial island 30 minutes south from the center of town. Facilities include two hotels and an onsen spa with views of the runways. Centrair opened in 2005, and this airport replaces the existing Nagoya airport, also taking over its IATA code NGO.
The best way of connecting between Centrair Airport and central Nagoya is the Meitetsu Airport Line. Limited expresses take just 28 minutes (¥980 plus a usually-optional ¥350 for a reserved seat) to cover the distance to the city. Note that Meitetsu trains are not free for JR Railpass riders.
While all other companies have moved to Chubu, regional flights by J-Air (http://www.jair.co.jp/) still use the old Nagoya Airport (http://www.nagoya-airport-bldg.co.jp/) (NKM), also known as Komaki Airport, to the north of the city. Shuttle buses (http://www.aoi-komaki.co.jp/html/airport-bus/airport.html) (¥850) connect to Nagoya station in 28 minutes.
Nagoya is located along the Tokaido Shinkansen route between Tokyo and Osaka.
- A one-way ride from Tokyo is about 1 hour, 40 minutes via Nozomi (¥10780) and between 1 3/4 and 2 hours via Hikari (¥10580).
- From Kyoto, Nagoya is reachable in 36 minutes via Nozomi (¥5640) and between 36 and 55 minutes via Hikari or Kodama (¥5440).
- From the Shin-Osaka station in Osaka, Nagoya is 53 minutes away via Nozomi (¥6380) and between 53 and 70 minutes away via Hikari or Kodama (¥6180).
Thru Nozomi trains from western Japan reach Nagoya from Okayama (1 hr 40 mins, ¥10980), Hiroshima (2 hrs 20 mins, ¥13830) and Hakata station in Fukuoka (3 hrs 20 mins, ¥18030). It is slightly longer via the Hikari service (change trains at Himeji or Shin-Kobe stations).
Nagoya also serves as the terminal point for the hourly Wide View Shinano, a limited express train that runs from the mountain resort towns of Nagano and Matsumoto. Nagoya is reached in 3 hours and 2 hours, respectively.
Local trains from Tokyo take about 6 hours at a cost of ¥6090, requiring several train changes along the way. However, trips on local trains are more valuable if you purchase and use a Seishun 18 Ticket during the valid time period.
Note that Japan Rail Passes are not valid on Nozomi trains.
A cheaper method of reaching Nagoya is by bus. Day and night services run to Nagoya from most parts of the country, particularly from Kanto. For example, a night service from Tokyo to Nagoya on JR Kanto Bus costs ¥6420 one way (discounted trips ¥5000 each way), while daytime services cost ¥5100 one way. The trip takes roughly 6 hours to complete.
Nagoya is a big automotive industry center, and it shows. Trains and subways are less convenient than in Tokyo or Kansai, but more expensive. For those travelling with a JR Rail Pass, note that the train network doesn't have many stations in the city and you'll probably find yourself using the bus or subway alot, something your pass won't cover.
There are 4 main subway lines:
- The red Sakurad?ri Line (???) connects Nagoya Station to Sakae before curving south.
- The purple Meij? Line (???) runs in a loop around the eastern side of the city, connecting Sakae and Kanayama; the Meik? Line (???) spur branches from Kanayama to Nagoya Port.
- The yellow Higashiyama Line (???) connects Nagoya, Fushimi, Sakae, and Fujigaoka.
- The blue Tsurumai Line (???) connects Fushimi and Osu Kannon, then goes south.
Subways run every several minutes between about 05:30 until about 00:30. Fares range from 200 yen to 320 yen. A one day pass is also available for the subway for 740 yen.
- Nagoya Castle (???? Nagoya-j?). Trumpeted as a famous landmark, particularly the two golden carp (??? kin-no-shachi) on the roof, but in truth recently rebuilt in concrete. The inside is an interesting enough museum (no pictures allowed) and the gardens surrounding it, nothing special. 500 yen for entry. To get there by subway, take the Meijo line and get off at Shiyakusho station. If you've seen other Japanese castles, you can safely give it a miss.
- Atsuta Shrine (???? Atsuta Jing?), Jing?mae station. This shrine houses the sacred Kusanagi no mitsurugi (????) sword, one of the three Imperial regalia of Japan — but unfortunately nobody but the emperor and a few high priests get to see it. There are some 4,400 other artifacts on the grounds though and the shrine hosts some 70 festivals every year.
- Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 1-1-1 Kanayama-cho, Naka-ku (next to Kanayama station), 052-684-0786, 1 (http://www.nagoya-boston.or.jp/). Closed Mondays, Tuesday through Friday 10am to 7pm, Saturday, Sunday, Holidays 10am to 5 pm. Like any world-class art museum, the MFA in Boston has far more in its archives than it can reasonably display. This sister institution is one way to make the most of the extensive collection. Student / Adult admission: 300/400 yen for the general collection, 900/1200 yen for special exhibits.
- Tokugawa Museum. Displaying some treasures of the Tokugawa family.
- Higashiyama Park (???? Higashiyama-koen). (Higashiyama-koen station). Features a zoo, conservatory, monorail, roller coasters, "sky tower" and a great deal of open space.
- Pokepark, A theme park dedicated to Pokemon. See May (Haruka) if you are lucky!
- Osu Market, subway Osu Kannon exit 2 (straight ahead one block and through the gravelled temple area). A series of old style shopping arcades packed with mom-and-pop stores, 100 yen shops, traditional crafts, used computers and a fantastic range of clothing stores. There is a little bit of everything. Osu is the shopping area and Osu Kannon the temple just to the west side.
Sakae is a good choice for your mainstream department store shopping, restaurants, and night-life. Take a walk atop Oasis 21 and get a nice view of the TV Tower.
Nagoya is big on miso, a sauce made from fermented soybeans and grain. You should not leave the city without trying misokatsu (????), fried pork cutlet with a rich, red miso sauce on it.
The other Nagoya classic is shrimp tempura, particularly when wrapped up in rice and dried seaweed and turned into a handy portable package known as a tenmusubi (???).
The city is also known for uiro, basically red bean jelly, a substance a little firmer than gelatin, with a subtle flavour.
- Café de Metro, 1F Kanayama station (North Exit). Serves up basic curry and donburi dishes (including a decent misokatsu) for ¥480 with coffee/tea, or ¥680 with miso soup and pickles.
- Yamamotoya S?honke (??????), 25-9 Meieki, B1F Horinouchi Bldg (on Sakura-dori not far from Exit 6 of the Nagoya subway station). The home of the classic Nagoya miso dish nikomi udon, consisting of thick, chewy, handmade udon noodles served in boiling hot miso sauce/stock. Fairly pricy at ¥1200 for a basic bowl and rather difficult to eat — diners are provided with bibs to protect themselves from soup spray — but the effort is worth it.
There are countless izakayas around Kanayama station, both cheap chains and more upscale places.
Around Nagoya station are a lot of places for cheap drinking. Sakae is the big nightlife district, in a lose triangle formed by the Sakae, Yaba-cho and Osu Kannon stations. Sakae has a large red light district as well, but as with most of Japan there's no sense of danger so don't worry about drifting around.
Nagoya has some of the best clubs in Japan, possibly second only to Tokyo. A lot of the Djs who play Tokyo also pass through Nagoya.
- Club Buddha - the most popular and well-known club in Nagoya. In Sakae.
- Radix2 (http://www.radix.to) - one of the bigger clubs in Nagoya, a lot of big house, jungle and dub Djs play here. Expect to pay from 2000-3000 yen, usually with a free drink included.
- Club Daughter3 (http://www.clubdaughter.com/) has something happening almost every night, so you'll never be stuck for something to do. Its a small place though, to western clubbers it may seem more like a basement party then a club and if you're going out on a monday or a tuesday, you may find it pretty empty. Fridays and Saturdays the place is normally packed. Drinks are about 600 yen each, entry varies, check on the site.
- Club JB's4 (http://www.shscity.com/jbs/) is another good Nagoya club. Right around the corner from Club Daughter.
- Capsule Inn Nagoya (?????????), 7F Kanayama 4-1-20 (on Otsu-dori near Kanayama stn), tel. (052)331-3278, 5 (http://www.nisshinkanko.co.jp/healthy/cp/cap_top.htm). Showing its age, but kept clean and still a perfectly functional capsule hotel. Reservations accepted and you're free to come and go, payment on arrival by cash only. ¥2800 gets you a capsule for night, plus ¥800 if you want to sample the sauna/spa downstairs (there are no bathing facilities in the capsule levels) and ¥500 extra if you check-in after midnight.
- APA Hotel Nagoya Nishiki, 3-15-30 Nishiki, Chuo-ku (Sakae subway station, exit 2, one block forward), 052-953-5111, fax 052-951-7269. This business hotel is located in the middle of the Sakae dining and shopping district. The rooms are comparatively clean and the staff speaks English; internet access is included. ¥9800/single. 6 (http://www.apahotel.com/hotel/ah_nagoyanishiki/eng.html)
- Meitetsu Inn Nagoya Kanayama (?????????), 1-11-7 Kanayama, Naka-ku (Kanayama subway station, exit 6. Turn right at Daiei, left at Coco, look for the blue-and-white Japanese sign), 052-324-3434, fax 052-324-3435. This business hotel was built in February 2005 and has very clean rooms; in-room internet access and breakfast is included. The staff has some limited English ability. ¥6800/¥10,800/¥13,000 for single/small double/double 7 (http://www.meitetsu-inn-nagoyakanayama.jp/) (in Japanese)
Nagoya Tourist Information has branches in Nagoya and Kanayama stations.
The city's sole Citibank branch for foreign-friendly cash withdrawals is in Sakae. Post offices may prove more convenient.
- Inuyama is a short day trip from the city. The town's privately owned castle is one of the nicest original examples of feudal Japanese fortifications, and there are some pretty temples in the eastern hills, including two famous fertility shrines.