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Where to stay in Nagoya – Best neighbourhoods guide

By Mamoru Ishimoto
03 September 2020
Where to stay in Nagoya – Best neighbourhoods guide

The quiet and traditional Nagoya definitely has its fair share of places to stay for travellers of all types. There are the vibrant and energetic central areas, such as Sakae or Osu, where you’ll find the best Nagoya districts for food, shopping and entertainment. Or, if you want somewhere that’s a bit less crazy, then there’s loads of places where you can find too. My Nagoya area guide is going to be made up of all of the places that I’ve fallen in love with since moving here from the US almost a year ago. My Japanese husband has showed me where the locals like to go, so now it’s my turn to pass the information onto you guys. Everything like what to see and what to do will be in here, as well as a couple of my favourite Nagoya hotels to give you a little bit of travel inspiration. These are my best neighbourhoods to stay in Nagoya – enjoy!


Naka-ku

Naka-ku

When most tourists come to Nagoya, they tend to stay in the area around Nagoya Station known as Naka-ku. This is pretty much the centre of the city and it’s just perfect for getting to any of the big tourist attractions - you really could spend a full day in this part of the city alone. Some of the best and most interesting Nagoya hotels are around the Naka area, and there’s something available for every budget too. For the average traveller, I’d probably have to say the Toyoko Inn is one of the best places to stay. I walk past here every day and I see people from all over the world coming out of it, and it’s really not that badly priced either. It is just a basic kind of hotel really, so if you want something completely different then you should definitely try to stay in a Nagoya capsule hotel. There’s actually more than one of these around these days, but any one you stay at will give you that crazy Japanese experience you’re looking for!

 

Atsuta-ku

Atsuta-ku

The Atsuta-ku area is famous for being the part of the city where you’ll find the Atsuta Shrine, but there’s more to it than that. For those of you who want to see a little bit of Nagoya off the beaten path, just a short walk away from the shrine you’ll find one of my favourite places to come in the city to relax; Shiratori Garden. Make origami, listen to traditional Japanese music, or just sit and feed the beautiful Japanese koi fish – this is a must see. I wouldn’t really say there are loads of places to stay in Atsuta, although you can probably get some basic hotel rooms for a cheap price. There’s not as much to do in the evenings in this part of the city, but you’re still really well connected to the other Nagoya districts with Atsuta Station, so if you would like to go somewhere else then you can easily do so.

 

Sakae

Sakae

If you want to get technical, it’s true that Sakae is actually part of Naka-ku, but I always think it has its own little thing going on that separates it. I’d say it’s the main entertainment district in Nagoya, and it just feels totally different from somewhere like Nagoya Station for example. Sakae is absolutely one of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Nagoya if you want to try out some local cuisine - it’s a real food lovers paradise. Spend your evenings sitting in cosy ramen bars, getting to know the locals in an authentic izakaya, or even just sampling the delights of the little hole-in-the-wall dessert places they have here. Just like anywhere in the centre, you’ll be able to find all kinds of hotels and hostels. If you’re travelling to Nagoya in a large group, then getting an Airbnb is definitely going to save you some money. Most of them are really small so you’ll have to get used to living with everyone in close proximity, but they can usually sleep up to eight or so people.  

 

Ōsu

Ōsu

Just like Sakae, this area is actually still in Naka-ku, but it’s right down in the south of the neighbourhood. This is where to stay in Nagoya if you want good food, traditional shopping and endless entertainment options - or even if you don’t end up staying then it should definitely be on your must visit itinerary. Taking a walk down the main shotengai (shopping street) in Ōsu, you will find international restaurants with every food you can imagine, alongside very authentic Japanese shops selling hand crafted clothes, jewellery and gifts. This street alone makes it one of the must visit Nagoya districts. There’s also the Ōsu Kannon temple which is a truly beautiful place to visit for some much needed peace and tranquillity. I would say that the area is pretty much entirely based around entertainment, so finding a good place to stay would probably be difficult – but not impossible!

Kanayama

Kanayama

Photo Credit : Mamusi Taka, Wikipedia

Right on the edge of Naka-ku and Atsuta-ku you’ll find a little area known as Kanayama. It’s most well-known for its busy train station, but it’s worth exploring in its own right. There’s a lot of good food to be found in the back alleys around here. Some places will have lines going down the street and some will have absolutely no one inside, but I can pretty much guarantee the food will be absolutely incredible wherever you go. Finding somewhere to stay here is so easy, just head north from Kanayama Station and there’s a whole bunch of hotels. If hotels aren’t your thing, then there’s also a good amount of rooms available to rent at all prices as well. Any good Nagoya area guide won’t miss this part of the city out, but sometimes it can be overlooked and unjustly so.    

 

Gifu

Gifu

I know this is a Nagoya area guide, but I had to mention Gifu - it’s too beautiful not to. If you look on a Nagoya map you won’t even see it, and that’s because it’s actually not even a part of the Aichi Prefecture, but Gifu Prefecture to the north. You can get here so easily by catching a train from central Nagoya though – it should only take an hour or so. Gifu has a completely different feel to Nagoya; it’s so much more relaxed and naturally pretty as well. It’s right up in the hills, so you can go for the most amazing hikes where you’ll see some of the cutest little mountain villages with views of the snow-capped Japanese mountains. After your hike, you can treat yourself to a visit to one of the towns many onsen. If you really want to treat yourself, you should definitely try and get a hotel with thermal baths included!

Nagoya Port

Nagoya Port

Down in the south of the city is Nagoya Port, which has kind of redeveloped itself to become a very exciting leisure district. If you’re traveling with kids, then it’s really good to know what to do in Nagoya that will keep them entertained, and there’s plenty to do in the port area. There’s the Nagoya Aquarium, the Sea Train Land amusement park and the Fuji Antarctic museum just to name some of the things that are down here. For me, the dolphin show at the aquarium is just amazing and it’s quite easily one of my favourite things to do in Nagoya. It might be a little far out if you want somewhere that’s really central, but like everywhere in Japan the public transport honestly takes no time at all. You can get the subway from the centre - just make sure it goes on the Meiko Line! Finding where to stay in Nagoya Port is probably pretty difficult because there’s not actually that many hotels here. I’d say it’s much more of a place to visit rather than stay.