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One Day In Nagoya - The Ultimate 24 Hour Itinerary

By Steven Stringer Who switched the Irish plains of County Westmeath for the underappreciated gem of Nagoya.
03 September 2020
One Day In Nagoya - The Ultimate 24 Hour Itinerary

With just 24 hours in Nagoya, you might be wondering how to best spend your time in the city. One day in Nagoya may not seem like long, especially when exploring one of the most underappreciated gems of Japan, but you’ll be surprised by how much you can fit in. Nagoya is home to modern and contemporary art galleries, great spots to try new foods, and peaceful landscapes. Music dominates my life so I love heading to Nagoya’s jam sessions, experiencing gigs and the incredible Japanese performance art shows. Japanese culture is really cool and Nagoya is a great place to experience its quirkiness. I’m a big fan of the place; what I love most about this city is that it presents the unknown coupled with the traditional; in its castles, shrines, hikes and cool upcoming arts scene. With a variety of things to do in Nagoya, your Nagoya day trip will be packed with the best of the city. From visiting the majestic Nagoya Castle to tasting your way through the best of traditional Japanese cuisine to soaking up the vibe of a cozy izakaya, enjoy the best of Nagoya during your time exploring the capital. 


Morning

Morning

Photo Credit: www.justgola.com - Mount Gozaisho - Krista & Robyn


Start your 24 hours in Nagoya by beginning with a fresh morning walk to get you feeling good. Any mention of Nagoya usually conjures up images of the iconic Nagoya castle as well as Atsuta Jingu, one of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines. But the capital of Aichi prefecture also serves as an excellent base for hiking; which is unknown by many people traveling to Japan. Ascend the path with spectacular views all year round; Mt Gozaisho; one of the tallest peaks in the Suzuka Mountains range. Get up early for this one as it is located about an hour outside of Nagoya. If you don’t fancy the two hour hike, you can opt for a cable car (Japan’s longest, in fact,) or better yet, take it up to Yunoyama Onsen; a relaxing hot spring. From the stunning reds and greens of the autumn foliage to snow-covered peaks in winter, Mt Gozaisho boasts a different visual phenomenon every season — which are all equally beautiful. Enjoy the peaceful views; the perfect antidote to the city streets of Nagoya. Wondering what to do in Nagoya in one day? Wake up with a hilly hike on Mt Gozaisho.

Lunch Time

Lunch Time

Photo Credit: japanvisitor.com


From here, go down to Nagoya center. Grab lunch at a casual Japanese style bar or pub known as an izakaya where you enjoy drinking sake, beer, and other kinds of drinks with Japanese traditional dishes that are usually shared on the table. Nagoya in one day would not be complete without trying some local food; some questionable, others heavenly. Choose from local dishes like hitsumabushi and miso katsu. Head to Kaburaya; a popular izakaya just a minute walk from Nagoya station. Soak up the lively atmosphere and enjoy an extensive menu where you will be sure to find something delicious. Perhaps you’ll try the nomi hodai (all you can eat and drink) option where you can consume as much typical Japanese izakaya food and drink as you can. Walk off your lunch at Noritake Garden; a 15-minute walk north of Nagoya Station. Check out the delicate creation process of porcelain, or try it yourself in a workshop, while enjoying the peaceful Japanese garden surroundings.

Afternoon

Afternoon

Photo Credit: donnykimball.com


Spend the afternoon checking out the beautiful oasis of Nagoya Castle; a landmark fortress and must-see in Nagoya City, constructed by feudal lord Ieyasu Tokugawa in the 17th century. Japan has an illustrious history, from the food to the established cultural traditions and dramatic, intense wars and battles; and Nagoya Castle epitomizes that. Wander through and learn the history of the castle, see the two golden shachihoko on top of the castle tower; imaginary creatures with the body of a carp and the head of a lion or tiger, and visit Honmaru Palace. Constructed in 1615 as the residential building for the feudal lords of Owari, Honmaru is a national treasure. A great place to explore, the scenic grounds are home to a tranquil Ninomaru Garden; where you can see delicate plum blossoms and the famous sakura cherry blossoms. Soak up the peace and quiet of the and enjoy the natural, colorful and historical vibe of the place. Add Nagoya Castle to your one day in Nagoya itinerary.

Evening

Evening

Photo Credit: Chopstick Chronicles


Grab a snack at Ganso Tenmusu Senju; the pioneers of tenmusu. Originating in Nagoya, tenmusu is a local delicacy; an onigiri rice ball which is wrapped with nori seaweed and stuffed with shrimp tempura (deep fried Japanese specialty.) The perfect balance of rice, shrimp tempura, and nori create a delicious, unique flavor. The must-eat Nagoya dish is available at a lot of places but Ganso Tenmusu Senju means “the birthplace of tenmusu”, so it’s a must-try when looking for places to eat in Nagoya, and as you would expect, they’ve been making tenmusu for quite some time. Alternatively, head to the Blue Note Nagoya; a jazz and folk bar, with delicious Nagoya food and top notch service. Located in the heart of Nagoya's colorful Sakae neighbourhood, the Blue Note has live music at its heart. Whether you’re a fan of jazz or not, this little Nagoya hidden gem guarantees a relaxed night of live music and fun and is great when seeking things to do in Nagoya at night.