Having to find a destination that can fit an itinerary for 5 days, wasn’t hot in the summer, wasn’t raining, was affordable from a trip from Hong Kong, was easy to get around and walk around, and a city that we haven’t been many times before or recently, we settled on Nagoya.
To visit the major sites of Nagoya, you could probably do it in 3 days. So since we were there for 5 days, including the flights, we decided to also pay visits to Shirakawa-gō, Kanazawa, and Tojinbo.
Nagoya is actually the fourth largest city in Japan, but you definitely wouldn’t see it that way when you arrive here. The city represents a sense of calmness, serenity, peace, and all things that a city wouldn’t possess. Yet at the same time, there is everything you want from a city – interesting people, convenient transportation, lots of food, and more. It’s just organized and cleaned up well here.
I’ve written about a post about Nagoya before, so if you haven’t already, please check out Let’s Drive: Nagoya (Japan Part Three). I’ll try my best to not overlap any sort of information.
APA Villa Hotel Nagoya Marunouchi Ekimae – Those typical budget ultra small rooms, where they barely fit a twin bed, a TV, and a tightly squishy bathroom. I’m easily satisfied usually, as long as it’s clean and things work like the lighting and aircon, so a small room is satisfactory for me, especially if it’s at a really cheap rate.
Hotel Trusty Nagoya Sakae – Just like what you expect from a Japanese hotel, except this one is quite old and doesn’t even have the Japanese onsen… it uses a traditional key and lock, not room key, to open the door. If you choose breakfast here, you have to pre-select whether you want western or Asian or something else and also book a time for the breakfast. The location is very convenient though, it’s like a stone throw’s away from the train station and also minutes away from TV Tower and also Oasis 21.
Kanazawa Manten Hotel – Ekimae – Located extremely close to the Kanazawa station, the Kanazawa Hotel has a variety of onsen for you to choose from, including one that’s outdoors. Since it’s close by the station, it’s packed with lots of people. Rooms were more spacious than the ones in Nagoya.
We took Hong Kong Express, the budget airline, for our trip.
Toyota Vitz. By the way, you really don’t need a car within Nagoya, the public transportation such as buses and trains are sufficient. But if you’re planning to go outside the city, like we did, you may want to consider renting a car. Do be warned though, that the toll fees are quite steep.
Things to Do
Pretty much I will just cover what I’ve done on a day to day basis rather than breaking up to different categories as this is quite a short trip.
Right after we landed, we decided it made sense for us to eat at Nagoya station first, otherwise we’d have to change trains and drop our luggages and come back here to eat. This restaurant is called Uogashi-Food KASEN, located on the 12th floor of Towers Plaza above Nagoya station.
If you’re looking for a place for bars and partying, look no further than Hirokoji Dori Street. As you can see, there were many young people gathered around the area. Surprisingly, the clubs and bars here close early… around 1am, so to compensate, the nightlife also starts earlier, at around 10pm.
In the morning, we waited in line for about an hour and a half for this restaurant recommended by our guide book, Maruya Honten.
If you’ve read about my Nagoya post from previously, you will see that I wrote about one of my favorite restaurants of all time was an eel restaurant. It’s not this one, my first trip to Nagoya had a better eel restaurant, but the point is, Nagoya is famous for its eel.
I already talked about the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology in my previous post, but here are a couple more photos from this place.
We were actually taking one of those city buses that stopped at major landmarks / tourist spots and came around every 30 minutes. Surprisingly, we got through the museum, including purchasing the ticket, and caught the next bus, which means that we were in the museum for less than 30 minutes! Last time it took me about an hour. We were in a bit of a rush so that we’d have enough time for Nagoya Castle.
The Nagoya Castle from faraway. The Nagoya castle used to be the heart of many important castle towns in Japan. Anyway, you can Wikipedia more of that information yourselves. Don’t worry, that woman with the red pants isn’t my mom.
Oasis 21. Supposed to be a complex multi-level park. The park itself is quite nice, but there is almost absolutely nothing to shop there… not saying there were no stores, but there was nothing appealing about them.
So the next day, we started to head off to Kanazawa, with a stop at Shirakawa-gō. For some reason, while on the way there, there was massive traffic… like we could have been stuck in the queue for more than an hour.
One of the best restaurants ever! I loved the beef. An amazing restaurant at the Shirakawa-gō area. We almost ended up eating at an expensive beef restaurant the night before, but decided it was too expensive, and settled on this one instead by chance. Amazing!
Most people actually visit Shirakawa-gō during the winter, when the snow surrounds the roof and these houses and gives a remarkable site. That said, I also don’t mind this vast green piece of land as well.
The reason why we found this place was because we were following the GPS after inputting the phone number of the hotel. The GPS took us to a different location and we were 10 minutes away from our actual location, and while driving around that’s how we found out about this cafe.
While walking to Omicho Market, we found this alleyway with lots of people queuing up for this restaurant. I have no idea what this restaurant is, except I decided to snap a picture of it due to its popularity. Maybe in the future? Or one of you readers can try and let me know?
The Omicho Market is equivalent to the Tsujiki Market of Tokyo’s, in terms of purpose. In terms of quality, I still much prefer the latter. That said, we didn’t venture into many restaurants, or even any for that matter. We only had the ‘take-out’ sashimi and some skewers so I think it’s fair for me to say that my experience could have been completely different if I dined there instead.
If you don’t drive to Shirakawa-gō and drive along the coastal side, you can stop by Tojinbo. And that’s what we did on the way back to Nagoya, we stopped by Tojinbo. Here are some cute hats you can buy… I bought one for my colleague.
Osu Shopping Street. To be quite frank, while many people recommend this place as it’s where the ‘locals shop’, I find that the shops here lack quality and of substance and it’s just a… cheaper variety of clothes for here to buy. It’s almost the equivalent of buying clothes from Mong Kok in Hong Kong in my opinion. They are cheap quality, local brands, but nothing amazing.
Alice on Wednesday on Osu Shopping Street. Funnily enough, the security guard told me I had to stand at an exact spot otherwise I wasn’t allowed to take a photo of this shop. This was the result of taking the photo at this exact spot.
Just before we went to the airport, we reserved some time to check out the Aeon Mall Tokoname. Again it was a mall recommended by our guide book. Huge mall, but of little substance, there isn’t really much to shop. I ended buying stuff just from Uniqlo.
Ikinari Steak. This was good though. This is famous for choosing the steak you want on a sizzling plate, and you have to stand while eating it.
This is the Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport. They have a beautiful sky deck, where this photo was taken, where you can see the control towers, the plane take off and land, and the amazing light blue skies and fluffy clouds of Japan.
We had Mentatsu, ramen, before the flight. Funny story – a group of Mandarin speaking people, well specifically one of them, kept asking a Japanese assistant why the price was 800 yen but it also says 394 kcal in the same picture, and kept saying that she should pay 394 yen instead. Note this is Japan, so you use those machines at the front to pay the ramen first before the staff prepare the noodle for you. Anyway, it took about 15 minutes before this woman understood that the 394 kcal meant the calories…
So that wraps up my 5 day trip to Nagoya! Japan just never disappoints, in terms of beauty, scenery, fun, food. I probably wouldn’t go to Nagoya for some time, unless for a stopover, but I’d rather go to more outer cities like Kanazawa and drive to other smaller cities that are more ‘local’ and have the food there. What are your thoughts on Nagoya?