What To Do In Nagoya? Here Are 5+ Fun Things You Can Do!

The moment your feet touch the ground, you may be overwhelmed with the possible activities for what to do in Nagoya, but if you are looking for a great adventure to take on in Japan that veers off typical mainstream destinations, then Nagoya is the place for you!

In this article, we will learn all about this happening Japanese destination while also learning Japanese phrases that may come handy when you are actually walking down the streets of Nagoya!

What To Do In Nagoya?

Nagoya is Japan’s fourth largest city and the capital of the Aichi Prefecture. It is best known for being one of Japan’s top manufacturing and shipping hubs. While it usually sits in the shadows of major cities like Tokyo and Osaka, Nagoya is sprawling with tons of things to do and see.

From strolling through castle grounds at Nagoya Castle, visiting sacred Shinto shrines, scoping out the city center from the peak of a rollercoaster in a theme park and stopping to smell the flowers in botanical gardens, this guide will break down stuff to do in Nagoya the next time you find yourself in this wonderful city!

Nagoya Castle

Nagoya Castle is a stunning structure overlooking central Nagoya. Originally built in Edo period Japan (1603-1868), Nagoya Castle is one of the largest castles in the entire country, boasting a park that surrounds the picturesque castle keep which features two moats and a perfect spot for observing the falling cherry blossoms during its peak season in late March and early April.

Visiting Nagoya Castle should be at the top of your priorities for your Nagoya sightseeing wish list as this beautiful castle with a sage green roof is a sight to behold. Just a leisurely 25-minute walk from Nagoya Station or accessible by the subway, Nagoya Castle is a nice way to ease into your Nagoya vacation. If you speak English, there is also a free guided tour available to teach you about the history surrounding this gorgeous place.

Atsuta Shrine

One of the most important Shinto shrines, the Atsuta Shrine is a Nagoya staple to pay homage to, even if you are just there to take in its beauty and splendor. It enshrines the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, whose name in Japanese means “The Great Divinity That Illuminates Heaven.” This shrine stores the sacred sword Kusanagi which is one of three imperial regalia that belongs to the Japanese throne and is kept under wraps, never being shown to the public.

Atsuta Shrine is in a park full with lush trees and foliage that surround the area. While the scenery is pleasant, so are the food offerings! A restaurant at the shrine serves one of Nagoya’s specialties – kishimen noodles – so go try them out after you stop by the newly opened nearby museum, Kusanagi-kan, where you can lift some sample swords yourself!

Railway Park

Another activity to tick off your list in central Nagoya is to pay a visit to the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park. Opened in 2011, this museum commemorates the train cars, including bullet trains (shinkansen) and steam locomotives, powered by Central Japan Railways. The museum aims to educate people on the advances made in high speed rail systems in Japan by displaying actual trains retired from use that can actually be entered and walked through or viewed from underneath.

A bunch of exhibits in the Railway Park serve to explain the parts of the trains, the mechanics behind them, and how to operate these huge machines. One of the interesting bits in this railway museum are the simulators where visitors can see what it’s like to be a train conductor or join the train crew and pretend to hold the duties of being in charge of opening and closing doors for passengers.

From learning about the latest magnetic levitating trains (maglevs) to a section specially geared for children on the second floor, this railway museum is an interesting and unique experience to see in Nagoya. You should definitely make sure to visit!

Studio Ghibli Park

The beloved Studio Ghibli is home to an array of familiar and lovable characters, like from the ultra popular My Neighbor Totoro, and the amusement park has its home in Nagoya! Younger children (and adults!) will certainly love visiting this park that reminds them of all their favorite movie characters.

This park is made up of five areas inspired by the whimsical worlds of Ghibli including the Valley of the Witches from Kiki’s Delivery Service and the Mononoke Village from Princess Mononoke that offer distinct Ghibli-fied expeditions for shops to pick up souvenirs, fun photo ops spots, and food to munch on. This is a must visit for any devoted Ghibli fan!

Nagoya City Science Museum

Boasting a plethora of hands-on exhibits and one of the world’s largest planetariums, the Nagoya City Science Museum is definitely one of Japan’s educational treasures. Open from early hours to late afternoon, this museum hosts different events and demonstrations that you can participate in every day so be sure to check out its website for its current offerings and schedule!

The exhibits in the museum span a variety of science topics from the “Exploring Water” area that dives into the properties of water through live experiments to a “Tornado Lab” that simulates a spinning gust of wind that helps to deepen visitors’ understanding of the weather phenomenon, to the electrifying “Electric Discharge Lab” where a light show on display shows off bright, electric static from two towers.

Another gem of this museum is the “Deep Freezing Lab” where visitors can experience extremely cold temperatures complete with real ice and experiments that will send a shivering chill down your spine. It has all the reality of what a real polar region is like without ever leaving Japan! That’s what I call cool.

See A Sumo Tournament

A vacation in Japan wouldn’t be such if there were no mention of a sumo tournament! Be sure to dive into one of Japan’s most famous and storied traditions in its long history by seeing a sumo tournament in Nagoya. Sumo tournaments are a summer spectacular and the Nagoya Basho is the place to be if you want to see one of these competitions up close and personal for yourself. With only six of these grand events happening a year, it’s no wonder sumo tournament tickets are popular. These shows are an awesome sight to behold that emphasize the deeply ritualistic place in locals’ hearts.

What to do in Nagoya? Maybe go watch a Sumo wrestling tournament.

Legoland Japan

Legoland Japan Resort is a fun amusement park to let your inner child out! Take a factory tour, check out the scenery from a soaring view in an observation tower, or just coast through the park and stop to smell the block-shaped roses.

If you’re an adrenaline enthusiast, you can easily spend hours here riding rides for the young and young at heart. Check out the super speedy rollercoaster, The Dragon, to check out the park through twists and turns. If you’re anything like me, you’ll get off and then immediately hop back in line (in the last car, of course, to experience maximum air time)!

Toyota Automobile Museum

When you think of cars, there’s no doubt that Toyota comes to mind! Toyota is the birthplace of the innovative Toyota brand – Japan’s leading car manufacturer. In this museum, you can tour a multitude of exhibits that commemorate automobile history and how Toyota played a part in building a fresh perspective on car culture.

The Toyota Motor Corporation has its own Toyota Commemorative Museum where you can check out automative wonders surrounding all things Toyota. See how the evolution of the car was impacted by viewing cars from all over the world from gasoline-powered engines to the modern electric and hybrid vehicles that get us moving these days.

Car enthusiasts and tourists alike will appreciate an informative visit at the Toyota Commemorative Museum with free guided tours available in English and helpful staff members that are well-equipped to show you around. Access to this museum is easily accessible from Nagoya Station and the Chubu Centrair International Airport so you can make a quick first pit stop to visit if this place is on your list of things to do.

Visiting Nagoya

Nagoya has plenty to offer no matter what season you decide to visit. In the springtime, warm rays and fluttering cherry blossoms will greet you for perfect weather made for visiting important Shinto shrines. In the summer, humid and hot temperatures will be the perfect time to soak in a day at a theme park to get some cooling winds in your face. Whether you take a quick day trip or have a prolonged vacation across seasons, you can be sure to have an itinerary packed with things to do in Nagoya.

While going to Nagoya can be exciting, it can also be a little intimidating if you don’t know some Japanese. Not to fear! Brushing up on a few basic Japanese phrases on the Ling app will be sure to help you get around Nagoya and explore the city safely and smartly.

The table below will offer some easy ways to ask for help just in case you get lost or need to communicate with a local for directions or help. 

Excuse me.すみませんSumimasen
Can I talk to you?ちょっといいですか。Chotto ee deska?
How do I get to…?にはどうやって行けばいいですか。Asakusa ni wa dō yatte ikeba ii desu ka.
How far is […]?はどの位遠いですか。[…] wa dono kurai tōi desu ka.
Where is […]?はどこですか。[…] wa doko desu ka.
Thank you.ありがとうございますArigato gozaimasu.

Information About Nagoya

A bustling economic center surpassing two million inhabitants, the city’s industrial and inventive roots show themselves with its assortment of museums, shrines, and architecture. Nagoya is the principal city of the Nobi plain, a fertile flatland that stretches from the Gifu Prefecture to the Aichi Prefecture which warlords envied for their rice and crop production.

During the early Edo period, Nagoya developed as a castle town of the Owari, one of the three branches of the ruling Tokugawa family that presided over the area. During the air raids of 1945, most of the city was destroyed along with its historic buildings due to a tragic world war. Since then, Nagoya has blossomed into a thriving spot to visit in Central Japan with plenty of access to a variety of historic, gourmet, and spectacular scenery spots to take in the city’s tradition and modernism.

Getting Around Nagoya

Navigating Nagoya as a tourist can be tricky. Taking public transportation is a reliable way to get you to and from the sights that are on your bucket list. Many locals take the train around Japan so it’s important to brush up on Japanese words that can help you understand where you are. Central Japan railways usually have signage written in Japanese script with English translations underneath, but it never hurts to know how to speak some Japanese aside from knowing the names of Nagoya Station and Kinjofuto Station.

You can use the table below as guide to learning some easy words for navigating Nagoya.

Current locationげんざいちGenzaichi
Turn the cornerかどをまがるKado o magaru

Learn Japanese With Ling

As you can see, there’s so much to do in Nagoya that expands a diverse palate of tastes. There’s something for everybody! If you want to go beyond the Aichi Prefecture and explore more of Japan, you should consider learning a bit more Japanese that will help you out on your future travels. Try learning with the Ling app!

Available on the App Store and Google Play Store, the Ling app will get you on your way to learning Japanese phrases and vocabulary that will be sure to get you on the road to knowing Japanese like a local. Check it out today!

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