I had about a full day in Nagoya. In my opinion, that is more than enough if you just want to check out the city. Some travellers do stay slightly longer to visit Gifu. Lake Biwa is another nice spot that is pretty near the city. I was staying here for two nights but arrived late in the evening about exploring Kyoto. On my last day, I also left early to head back to Tokyo. Nagoya might not be on the top of everyone’s list to visit when they are in Japan but there is still an interesting aspect of this manufacturing and shipping hub. Nagoya is the capital of Japan’s Aichi Prefecture. It is home to a couple of museums and also the birthplace of one of the most famous Japanese dishes, unagi, the hitsumabushi.


Transportation in Nagoya

Travelling in Nagoya is similar to other major metropolitan cities in Japan. The city has a well-equipped transportation system and is very well connected with buses and the metro. Similar to Tokyo and other Japanese cities, you can use an IC Card to take rides. Every city or region has its own IC Card or platform. The main IC card in Nagoya is the manaca Card. It is the same as your Suica or Pasmo Card that you get from Tokyo. They are acceptable in either place and use interchangeably. The only key thing to take note of is that you can’t refund a manaca card outside Nagoya and you can’t refund your Suica or Pasmo here. You can top them up and use them fuss-free in either place. Sometimes, I just wish that Japan has a national system. We took the metro and bus throughout the city during our time there. Do note that the metro has plenty of stairs-only access and sometimes this might be inconvenient. There aren’t any useful JR lines in the city that will be useful for tourists when touring the attractions. We didn’t manage to use our JR pass here. Google Maps is the best way to plan your journey.


Nagoya is also the first city where we took a taxi in Japan when we are transiting from the train station to our hotel. You got to give it to taxis in Japan. They are hands down the best taxis I have taken. The soft service is excellent. You get a limousine service on the road. The driver wears a suit, closes and opens the door, luggage services, heated seats and TV. They even make small conversation asking if the temperature and seats warmer are alright. IT BLOWS YOU AWAY! Do note that these come at a price though. It got so ridiculous that on our ride back to the station, the driver told us to wait first and we assume that this is cause we can’t alight at this spot. When in fact, he alighted first to unload all-over bags before opening the doors for us! Taxis are awfully expensive in Japan. We took a simple 5 min ride for a distance of 1.5km and this cost us 12 SGD. 


First up in Nagoya was the castle. We took the metro out and arrived at the surrounding park. The Nagoya Castle is one of the top attractions in the city. This castle is built in 1615 during the Edo period. It is quite nice exploring the ground and there is plenty to see. It cost 500 yen to enter the grounds. Here are some pictures of my time there. 





It was surprisingly crowded at Nagoya Castle and weirdly, there are a lot of photographers camping in the area. We had no clue what is going on and did our exploring. Only later around noon did we realise that there is an air show happening where the Japan Air Self-Defence Force was performing some acrobatic stunts. We lucked out and catching that bomb burst above the Nagoya Castle is such a lovely sight. 



After having lunch in the city centre, we made out way to the Osu Shopping Area which is a famed covered shopping street in the city. It was rather quiet here and we got some souvenirs from the famous Osu Uiro. The chestnuts and red bean snacks were delicious! 


We also visited Osu Kannon, an impressive Buddhist temple in the heart of the city. 


Here are some other random pictures of the city I took while exploring in the evening. The area around Hori River was exceptionally pretty in the evening. You can also find a historical building nearby, the Kato Shokai Building. 



Eating in Nagoya

There are a couple of food items that are famous from the Nagoya region. This includes miso katsu, unagi and tebasaki. One of the best places to eat tebasaki, a kind of chicken wing where they are seasoned and deep fried is at a chain called Sekai no Yamachan. They are perfectly fried and then dusted with pepper seasoning. You can also choose the amount of pepper powder on them. These are perfect for a supper snack or to go with some drinks. A favourite activity among the locals. 



I also visited one of the famous chain yakitori restaurants in Japan. Torikizoku is a chain of yakitori restaurants with outlets all over the city. They specialised in affordable yakitori and beers. The menu is diverse and offers all sorts of items here. We stop by for some skewers in the evening. It is super affordable and tasty. Not the best but great for a snack and casual meals. We got 5 items and it only cost us 16 SGD. Each of the orders comes in two. 



We had lunch one day at Isomaru Suisan, a popular izakaya that specialises in seafood. I have always been wanting to visit this place in Japan and finally got to do so. Prices are relatively affordable and you even get to grill your seafood. Some of their specialities include sashimi, scallops and prawns. The menu differs slightly. We got a Japanese-style seafood pot, grilled salmon, scallops and prawns. It is so delicious. The whole meal cost an affordable 40 SGD. 



Surprisingly, most of my meals in Nagoya are at chain places. That happens when you are wandering around with no plans and dining at weird hours. Late in the evening, I went out for a walk around the city and found myself at a Yoshinoya outlet for a bite. Yoshinoya is at a different level in Japan. I love these small little spots where you sit on bar stools and staff serves you from the middle. This is a common spot for the working class. The menu is diverse and it is affordable here. You can also customise the toppings and size of your bowl. The rice is really good here. I got a mini beef bowl and added some salmon. How cute is this! It cost me only 6 bucks. 



I don’t think I will visit ever visit Nagoya again given the plethora of other Japanese cities to explore in the country. With that being said, I do not mind stopping by here when passing by via trains or when flying in. One more city added to the list! For Singapore Airlines, Nagoya might at times be easier to score business class redemption tickets when compared to Osaka as well as Tokyo. It is a simple 1.5-hour train ride to Tokyo. Adios Nagoya. Next up, let me share one of my highlights in Japan. Stay tuned!