The original Nagoya Castle, built in 1612, was destroyed during WWII and rebuilt in 1959. The castle is surrounded by two moats and four guard towers and the interior is full of Edo era relics and has a panoramic view of Nagoya.
The Hommaru Palace located next to the castle is currently being renovated, but parts of the palace are open to the public.
If you’re a runner, I recommend running around the castle’s outer moat. It’s one of the best spots to run in central Nagoya to avoid traffic lights.
Location // 1-1 Honmaru, Naka-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 460-0031, Japan
Osu Kannon Temple and Shopping Arcade
Osu Kannon is a grand Buddhist temple in Nagoya with markets held on the 18th and 28th of every month. The temple is next to a maze-like covered shopping arcade packed with cafes and shops. Try tako yaki (fried octopus dough balls) and yaki tori (grilled chicken skewers) from booths throughout the arcade and check out the giant maneki neko (lucky cat) in the center of the arcade. It’s a great place to find anime figurines, antiques, and inexpensive clothes.
In 2010, Akira Makishima, the owner of Solo Pizza Napoletana, became the first Japanese chef ever to beat the Italians, Americans, and Spaniards in the competition for the world’s best traditional Neapolitan pizza held annually in Naples. Solo Pizza and Cesari Pizzeria Trattoria, both owned by Makishima, are located side by side in the Osu Kannon open air shopping arcades.
Solo Pizza was our go to pizza place in Nagoya. They have a second shop open near La Chic in Sakae. It’s definitely some of the best pizza I’ve had!
Location // Osu Naka-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 460-0011, Japan
Nagoya TV Tower
At sunset, go up to the observation deck of Nagoya Tower. In the warmer months there’s an outdoor beer garden at the base of the tower.
Godzilla has destroyed it multiple times, but it still stands!
After taking in the view from the tower head to the nearby Oasis 21, a spaceship-like structure situated above shops and restaurants. There’s a great kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurant on the bottom level of Oasis 21 called Nigiri No Tokube.
Location // 3-6-15 Nishiki, Naka-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 460-0003, Japan
Nagoya City Science Museum
At just under two years old, the Nagoya Planetarium is one of the most popular sights in the city. Every weekend or holiday we tried to get into the museum there was a line around the block! The building, a giant metal sphere suspended between two rectangular towers, looks like a structure from the movie Contact. The sphere is the world’s largest planetarium. The planetarium shows are in Japanese and the museum exhibits don’t have much English explanation.
Whether you decide to go in the museum or not, make a point to see it. On a warm day, the park in front of the museum is a great place for a picnic. And there are tons of great shops in the area, check out Uniqlo and Loft.
Location // 2-17-1 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 460-0008, Japan
Yagoto is a hilly, affluent college neighborhood with lots of shops and restaurants. The first time we went to Yagoto, we found Kosho-ji Temple (near the train station) by accident. I highly recommend visiting this striking temple with its five-story pagoda (it was the first pagoda we saw in Japan). This pagoda was built in 1808 and is the oldest pagoda in Aichi prefecture. The Kosho-ji grounds are some of the most beautiful we’ve seen in all of Japan.
If you happen to be in Nagoya on the third Saturday of October, go to the Thousand Lantern Festival at Kosho-ji and on the 5th and 13th of every month you can visit Kosho-ji’s Ennichi ceremony and market.
Location // 78 Yagotohonmachi, Showa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 466-0825, Japan
While you’re in Nagoya check out some of our favorite spots:
What sights do you prefer to see while traveling: historic architecture, museums, modern architecture, parks and gardens, cool neigbhorhoods?