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Nagoya Travel Guide: Legoland, Samurai Culture & One Of The World’s Largest Planetariums

Nagoya travel guide

If you’ve checked major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka off your Japan bucket list and are still hungry for more Japanese culture and experiences, make Nagoya your next destination. As an industrial hub and port, Nagoya is a great place for geeks who love taking any type of transport – cars, trains, and boats. Not to worry, there’s plenty of history to learn, as well as entertainment options too.

Here’s our ultimate travel guide to Nagoya to help you make the most out of your trip.

Things to do

1. Nagoya Castle

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Nagoya Castle is Nagoya’s major tourist attraction, famous for the pair of golden shachihoko (sea monster in Japanese folklore) statues on the rooftop of the castle tower. This castle is a reconstruction of the original one built in 1615, as the original castle had burned down during the air raids of World War II. Nonetheless, it still stands impressively.

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Genkan, the entrance hall to Hommaru Palace.
Image credit: Nagoya Castle

While Nagoya Castle can only be admired from the outside as it is currently closed, Hommaru Palace warmly welcomes visitors to roam around in its halls. The palace used to be the Nagoya lords’ accommodation and is situated on the grounds outside Nagoya Castle.

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Omete Shion, the main hall for the lords’ official study and audience chamber.
Image credit: Nagoya Castle

You can find historical exhibits and works of art in Hommaru Palace, which depict the lifestyle of the Nagoya lords who resided there in the past.

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Keep an eye out for people dressed in samurai garbs. They wander around the castle ground in their shining armour and sword, ready to interact with visitors. If you’re visiting on a weekend, you’ll be treated to a performance of the samurais in action.

Admission: ¥500 (~USD3.71)/pax for adults | Free for children in junior high school and younger
Address: 1-1 Honmaru, Naka Ward, Nagoya, 460-0031 Aichi
Opening hours: 9am-4.30pm, Daily
Contact: 52-231-1700 | Nagoya Castle Website

2. Port of Nagoya

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The Port of Nagoya doesn’t just serve its purpose as a port, it features other attractions such as a leisure park, a garden, and museums, so it’s a happening place worth a visit. 

Ride the 85m-tall ferris wheel at Nagoya Port Sea Train Land, a family-friendly leisure park. 

Other attractions there include a merry-go-round, mazes, and even a haunted house. Admission is free, but a fee is required to ride the attractions. Make sure you stay until the end of the day because the leisure park lights up at night.

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Enjoy fresh air amidst plants and flowers at Port of Nagoya Wildflower Garden Bluebonnet, which boasts 23 different gardens and an experiential Community Garden where visitors with the shared interest of gardening can come and interact.

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To learn more about seas and ports, the Nagoya Port Garden Pier is a place that provides plenty of learning opportunities. The pier contains the Fuji Antarctic Museum, the Nagoya Port Bldg. Observation Lounge, and the Nagoya Maritime Museum. 

Admission price differs based on single entry tickets and common entry package tickets, so check their website for prices.

Nagoya Port Sea Train Land
Address: 1-51, Nishikura-cho, Minato-ward, Nagoya, 455-0034 Aichi
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-8pm | Sat, Sun & PH 10am-8pm
Contact: 52-661-1520

Port of Nagoya Wildflower Garden Bluebonnet
Admission: ¥300 (~USD2.23)/pax for high schoolers and adults | ¥200 (~USD1.49)/pax for seniors aged 65 and above | ¥150 (~USD1.11)/pax for elementary school and junior high students | Free for children aged 6 and younger
Address: 42 Shiomi-cho, Minato-ku, Nagoya, 455-0028 Aichi
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9.30am-5pm (1st March – 30th November) | Tue-Sun 9.30am-4pm (1st December – 25th December) (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 52-613-1187 | Port of Nagoya Wildflower Garden Bluebonnet Website 

Nagoya Port Garden Pier
Address: 1-9 Minato-machi, Minato-ku, Nagoya, 455-0033 Aichi
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9.30am-5pm (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 52-652-1111 | Nagoya Port Garden Pier Website 

3. Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium

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CheeKeng Mok

With 3 whole floors of aquatic life, prepare to spend the whole day here at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium. Home to belugas, orcas, and dolphins, the North Building is where you can catch these creatures performing and training.

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Over at the South Building, find fishes, jellyfishes, and turtles, and even see a school of sardines swimming around.

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Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium 

There is also a Touch Tank, where you can, well, touch starfishes, sea cucumbers, and more. Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium also comes with a movie theatre that screens films of animals and the natural world.

Admission: ¥2,030 (~USD15.08)/pax for high schoolers and adults | ¥1,010 (~USD7.50)/pax for elementary school and junior high students | ¥500 (~USD3.71)/pax for children aged 4 and above
Address: 1-3 Minatomachi, Minato Ward, Nagoya, 455-0033 Aichi
Opening hours: Opening hours vary; check their website for updated information
Contact: 52-654-7080 | Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium Website

4. Osu Shopping District & Osu Kannon Temple

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With over 1,200 shops and restaurants, Osu Shopping District is where you can shop till you drop. The stores sell everything from apparel to antiques, and the restaurants include a variety of international cuisines, such as Brazilian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese. 

Many festivals and events are held here, such as the Osu Setsubun Takarabune Gyoretsu (treasure ship parade) and regular antiques fairs.

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While at Osu, the Osu Kannon Temple is a must-visit. Its bright red pillars and beams, paired with a classic black accent, make the temple a photogenic and trending spot. 

Osu Shopping District
Address: Osu, Naka-ku, Nagoya, 460-0011 Aichi
Opening hours: Opening hours vary by shop
Contact: 52-261-2287 | Osu Shopping District Website 

Osu Kannon Temple
Address: 2-21-47 Osu, Naka-ku, Nagoya, 460-0011 Aichi
Opening hours: 9am-5pm, Daily
Contact: 52-261-2287 | Osu Kannon Temple Website 

5. Sakae Entertainment District

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Sakae is one of Nagoya’s trendiest downtown areas. It includes Hisaya-odori Park, where you can grab a refreshing drink from its line of hip cafes, and Nagoya TV Tower, where you can visit its observation deck 100 metres above ground.

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Well-loved for its futuristic-looking architecture, Oasis 21 is an oval-shaped underground mall and bus terminal located at the heart of Sakae. It features an accessible glass roof called Spaceship-Aqua which lights up at night.

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Sunshine Sakae has 7 floors of shops and restaurants, including the theatre of SKE48, Nagoya’s version of the idol group AKB48. If that’s not impressive enough, you can ride the mall’s 42m-tall ferris wheel fitted with glass bubble gondolas called Sky-Boats for ¥500 (~USD3.71) per person

Sakae is truly one of the best places to spend a day filled with fun and relaxation, with attractions all within walking distance.

Hisaya-odori Park
Address: 3 Nishiki, Naka-ku, Nagoya, 460-0003 Aichi
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily
Contact: 52-261-6641

Nagoya TV Tower
Admission: ¥650 (~USD4.83)/pax for high schoolers and adults | ¥400 (~USD2.97)/pax for elementary school and junior high students
Address: 3-6-15 Nishiki, Naka-ku, Nagoya, 460-0003 Aichi
Opening hours: Mon-Fri & Sun 10am-9pm | Sat 10am-9.40pm (Last entry is 20 minutes before closing)
Contact: 52-971-8546 | Nagoya TV Tower Website 

Oasis 21
Address: 1-11-1 Higashisakura, Higash-ku, Nagoya, 461-0005 Aichi
Opening hours: 10am-10pm, Daily
Contact: 52-962-1011 | Oasis 21 Website 

Sunshine Sakae
Address: 3-24-4 Nishiki, Naka-ku, Nagoya, 460-0003 Aichi
Opening hours: 7am-12am, Daily
Contact: 52-310-2211 | Sunshine Sakae Website 

6. Atsuta Shrine

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Hongu, the main shrine.
Image credit: Hakari Iida

Nestled in the Atsuta Forest is a spacious shrine known as Atsuta Shrine or Atsuta Jingu, which is visited by an estimated 7 million people annually. Considered as one of the most sacred places in Nagoya, many people visit the Atsuta Shrine to pray, leave offerings, and make wishes.

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Over 70 traditional festivals and ceremonies are held at the Atsuta Shrine. They include the Atsuta Festival, where you can see lantern towers, traditional performances, and fireworks.

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If you’re at Atsuta Shrine, visit the Treasure Hall, a museum famous for its relics and large display of swords and daggers. Admission to the Treasure Hall is ¥500 (~USD3.71) per person for adults and ¥200 (~USD1.49) per person for elementary school and junior high students.

Address: 1-1-1 Jingu, Atsuta-ku, Nagoya, 456-0031 Aichi
Opening hours: 

  • Shrine: 24 hours, Daily
  • Treasure Hall: 9am-4.30pm, Daily

Contact: 52-671-4151 | Atsuta Shrine Website 

7. Tokugawa Art Museum

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If you love Japanese culture related to samurai, Tokugawa Art Museum is the place for you. The museum houses over 10,000 heirlooms passed down from the Owari Tokugawa clan, who were the lords of Nagoya Castle. 

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The most popular exhibit is the Symbol of the Warrior, with a collection of samurai armour, katana, and other samurai relics.

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Other exhibitions display tea ceremony utensils, noh masks, and other literary work, depicting Nagoya’s past.

Admission: ¥1,400 (~USD10.40)/pax for adults | ¥700 (~USD5.20)/pax for students | ¥500 (~USD3.71)/pax for children
Address: 1017 Tokugawacho, Higashi Ward, Nagoya, 461-0023 Aichi
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm (Last entry at 4.30pm) (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 52-935-6262 | Tokugawa Art Museum Website 

8. Noritake Garden

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ellesse yang

A well-loved tableware brand, Noritake created an oasis for shopping, eating, and relaxing right in Nagoya, in commemoration of its 100th anniversary. Amidst red-bricked buildings, Noritake Garden is well-decorated with kiln walls, a fountain plaza, and plenty of greenery.

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At the Craft Center and Noritake Museum, you will see how Noritake developed its brand. You can even decorate tableware from ¥2,000 (~USD3.71) per person, with a separate entry fee of ¥500 (~USD3.71) per person for adults.

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Get your hands on traditional tableware, kitchen and household accessories at their lifestyle shop, Noritake Square Nagoya.

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Noritake Garden is full of Instagrammable places, including the Tsutaya Bookstore in Aeon Mall Nagoya Noritake Garden. Take a photo right in front of the infinity bookshelf for that scholarly vibe.

Address: 3-1-36 Noritake Shinmachi, Nishi-ku, Nagoya, 451-8501 Aichi
Opening hours: 9am-7pm, Daily
Contact: 52-561-7114 | Noritake Garden Website 

9. Nagoya City Science Museum

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toru shirasu

Nagoya City Science Museum takes science to the next level with 7 floors jam-packed with experiments and exhibits.

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It features one of the world’s largest planetariums, with its star projector that can replicate the breathtaking night sky from the Northern or Southern hemisphere.

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The museum features 4 permanent exhibits simulating real-life conditions of natural disasters and happenings. The Tornado Lab shows a 9m-tall tornado in a cylindrical chamber and the Deep Freezing Lab screens a film about auroras in a -30°C room.

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See realistic animal models and more at Nagoya City Science Museum, a place of many scientific discoveries and takeaways.


  • Museum & Planetarium: ¥800 (~USD5.94)/pax for adults | ¥500 (~USD3.71)/pax for high school and university students | Free for junior high school students and under
  • Museum only: ¥400 (~USD2.97)/pax for adults | ¥200 (~USD1.49)/pax for high school and university students

Address: 2-17-1 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya, 460-0008 Aichi
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9.30am-5pm (Closed on Mondays and the 3rd Friday of the month)
Contact: 52-201-4486 | Nagoya City Science Museum Website 

10. SCMAGLEV and Railway Park

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Its efficient railway system and clean trains have always been the pride of Japan, envied by many. SCMAGLEV and Railway Park is a museum that showcases the past, present, and future of Japan’s trains and railway system.

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Try your hand at being the pilot and driving a train at the Shinkansen Train Driving Simulator for ¥500 (~USD3.71) per person. There are also other simulators from ¥100 (~USD0.74) per person and plenty of free, interactive, and educational exhibits.

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With 39 rolling stock displays that allow you to touch and even climb inside, this is truly an oasis for train enthusiasts.

Admission: ¥1,000 (~USD7.43)/pax for adults | ¥500 (~USD3.71)/pax for students | ¥200 (~USD1.49)/pax for children aged 3 and above
Address: 3-2-2, Kinjofuto, Minato-ku, Nagoya, 455-0848 Aichi
Opening hours: Mon & Wed-Sun 10am-5.30pm (Last entry at 5pm) (Closed on Tuesdays)
Contact: 52-389-6100 | SCMAGLEV and Railway Park Website 

11. Higashiyama Zoo & Botanical Gardens

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From koalas to elephants, Higashiyama Zoo boasts over 450 species of animals and is home to the “world’s most handsome gorilla”, Shabani.

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If you are brave enough, you can even befriend reptiles such as lizards and snakes. Their reptile enclosures allow visitors every Sunday. 

The zoo also offers feeding sessions every Sunday of the month that allow you to feed other animals such as goats for free.

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Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens

The botanical garden adjoining Higashiyama Zoo has over 7,000 varieties of flora and the scenery changes with the season so there is a fresh surprise every time you visit.

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Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Here, you will find Japan’s oldest greenhouse, which is open to the public, along with a botanical hall that has plant-related exhibitions and workshops.

Admission: ¥500 (~USD3.71)/pax for adults | ¥100 (~USD0.74)/pax for seniors aged 65 and above | Free for junior high school students and below
Address: 3-70 Higashiyama-motomachi, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, 464-0804 Aichi
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9am-4.50pm (Last admission at 4.30pm) (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 52-782-2111 | Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens Website 

12. Legoland Japan

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Santa Dx

Spend a day filled with joy at Legoland Japan, which houses more than 10,000 lego models and over 20 rides and attractions.

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Legoland Japan

The park is split into 8 different sections, which include the Lego factory, Bricktopia, and more. You can even find iconic Japanese attractions such as Mount Fuji made out of Lego bricks in Miniland Japan. 

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Reviews Eat

One of the more popular attractions is the ninja-themed Lego Ninjago World, where you can fly through the sky on a dragon-shaped roller coaster.

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The park also includes dining and shopping options, SEA LIFE Nagoya, and Legoland Japan Hotel. 

Admission: From ¥4,500 (~USD33.43)/pax for adults | From ¥3,300 (~USD24.51)/pax for children ages 3-12
Address: 2-2-1 Kinjoufutou, Minato-ku, Nagoya, 455-8605 Aichi
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-4pm | Sat & Sun 10am-5pm
Contact: 570-05-8605 | Legoland Japan

Food to eat

13. Miso-katsu

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Misokatsu Yabaton

This is a must-eat for tonkatsu fans! Tonkatsu is a fried pork cutlet, usually paired with a sweet sauce. In Nagoya, the tonkatsu is topped with a thick and savoury miso sauce called miso-katsu.

The main ingredient of the sauce is hatcho miso, traditionally made with soya beans to produce a darker, reddish-brown miso. When paired with tonkatsu, you get this intense, umami flavour.

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Misokatsu Yabaton

One of the most popular restaurants in Nagoya that serves miso-katsu is Misokatsu Yabaton, which has more than 15 outlets in Nagoya. 

Their recommendation is the Teppan Tonkatsu, which serves miso-katsu on a hot plate with cabbages. You can get this local speciality at ¥1,500 (~USD11.14) per serving at their restaurant.

Check out their outlets here.

14. Tebasaki

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Tebasaki, also known as tebasaki-karaage, are deep-fried chicken wings coated with a tasty, sweet, and salty sauce. The chicken wings are fried without using any batter, generously dusted with a mixture of fine pepper, and usually topped with sesame seeds.

Locals often order a huge amount because tebasaki is easy to eat and addictive. They even say that good tebasaki can be chewed off its bones in one bite.

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Sekai no Yamachan is a famous brand that sells tebasaki. They have 31 outlets in Nagoya, expanding to other prefectures in Japan and even overseas. You can select how much of their “phantom pepper” you want to  sprinkle on your tebasaki, with options of none, less, standard, and more.

Check out their outlets here.

15. Ankake spaghetti

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This may look like Italian cuisine, but you’d be pleasantly mistaken. Ankake spaghetti is spaghetti prepared Nagoya-style, made with noodles that are extra thick. Measuring 2.2mm in diameter, they are 30% thicker than the normal spaghetti noodle. 

The boiled noodles are fried with lard, and then paired with a rich, spicy sauce made from vegetables, potato starch, and a tomato base.

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Classic toppings include onions, green peppers, and wieners, but it can differ from restaurant to restaurant. Fried shrimps, hamburger steaks, and seafood are popular add-ons.

16. Hitsumabushi

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Whilst similar to unadon – grilled eel on top of rice served in a ceramic bowl – hitsumabushi is prepared in a wooden, circular vessel called ohitsu. The eel is also sliced and the entire portion is supposed to be eaten in a specific way – in quarters. 

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The first quarter – just the rice and eel – is to be eaten as is. The second quarter is paired with condiments such as nori, green onions, and wasabi. The third quarter is to be eaten with the addition of broth or tea, just like rice in soup or ochazuke. The last quarter is left for you to be creative and eat however you like.

17. Ogura toast

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Tsubame Bread & Milk

Ogura toast is red bean paste, butter, and fresh cream on top of a warm, thick toast. Whilst it seems like an odd combination, the sweetness of the red bean complements the savoury butter and fluffy cream. It is usually eaten for breakfast with an accompanying cup of coffee or drink.

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Locals love ogura toast not only for its mouth-watering taste but also for its health benefits. The adzuki beans that make up the red bean paste contain high mineral and fibre. They are great for your bones and teeth, and helps to improve digestion.

18. Doteni

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Doteni is a traditional dish of pork or beef entrails in hatcho miso. Common inclusions are konjac and daikon radish, finished with spring onion and peppers. Doteni is usually paired with rice and is the comfort food of many.

19. Nagoya snacks

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If you like snacking, speciality Nagoya snacks are worth a try. There are plenty of popular and trending ones to choose from, especially in Nagoya. 

Nagoya is the biggest producer of uiro, a sweet and chewy mochi rice cake. It is rectangular in shape and comes in different flavours – yuzu, matcha, aduki and sakura.

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Kaeru manju is a frog-shaped dumpling filled with red bean paste, usually paired with a glass of milk. Kaeru manju also comes in different seasonal fillings such as sweet potato, chocolate, and more.

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Visit Nagoya

Moriguchizuke is a thin pickled radish usually more than 1.5-m long. It is usually pickled in sake and mirin and paired with rice.

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Oni Manju are steamed buns with sweet potato chunks, well-loved by the locals. They are soft and rich in taste. Oni is a kind of yokai or demon in Japanese folklore, and the sweet potato chunks are said to resemble the horns or spiked clubs of the oni

Places to visit near Nagoya

20. Nagashima Resort

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Located in Mie Prefecture and 50 minutes from Nagoya, Nagashima Resort is a major attraction featuring 5 main leisure facilities and an Anpanman museum. 

Nagashima Spa Land is a fun-filled theme park packed with all kinds of rides. It boasts the Steel Dragon 2000, the world’s longest roller coaster, with a total length of 2,479 metres.

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Joyful Waterpark has plenty of water slides, lazy rivers, and a huge wave pool. However, it is only open during summer.

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長島温泉 湯あみの島

Nagashima Spa Yuami no Shima is a hot spring that has indoor and outdoor baths. Here, you can spend a day of relaxation going for massages and detoxing in the sauna.

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Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima has over 300 foreign and domestic shops selling practically everything – from crepes to sporting goods. 

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Nabana no Sato is a flower park that hosts flower festivals and boasts its jaw-dropping, stunning winter illuminations.

All facilities have their respective prices and opening hours, please check their website for updated information. 

Address: 333 Urayasu, Nagashima-cho , Kuwana City,  511-1192 Mie Prefecture
Contact: 0594-45-1111 | Nagashima Resort Website 

21. Toyota Automobile Museum

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If you’re a fan of cars, travelling slightly out of Nagoya to check out the Toyota Automobile Museum is definitely worth the trip. Located in Nagakute prefecture and 45 minutes away from Nagoya, the museum features over 140 cars of all eras. This includes President Roosevelt’s 12 cylinder Packard Twelve, which is the first car to be armour-plated and fitted with bulletproof glass.

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At the Cultural Gallery, there are an estimated 4,000 cultural artefacts such as miniature cars, car mascots, and posters on display.

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Toyota Automobile Museum

There are plenty of other things to do at Toyota Automobile Museum. Read up on automobile history at the library, grab a bite at their in-house restaurant or cafe, and even take a few souvenirs purchased at the museum shop home.

Admission: ¥1,200 (~USD8.91)/pax for adults | ¥700 (~USD5.20)/pax for seniors aged 65 and above | ¥600 (~USD4.46)/pax for middle and high school students | ¥400 (~USD2.97)/pax for elementary school students
Address: 41-100 Yokomichi, Nagakute, 480-1118 Aichi
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9.30am-5pm (Last admission at 4.30pm) (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: 0561-63-5151| Toyota Automobile Museum Website 

22. Ghibli Park

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Located in Nagakute prefecture, Ghibli Park is a theme park featuring the fantasy worlds of Studio Ghibli. Park tickets for each of the 3 park areas are to be purchased in advance and they have separate prices

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Yubaba’s office from Spirited Away.
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Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse has a variety of Ghibli-related attractions, a screening room for short movies, and even a children’s play area.

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Elevator Tower from
Howl’s Moving Castle.
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Hill of Youth features the World Emporium and the Rotary from Whisper of the Heart, the Cat Bureau from The Cat Returns, and the Elevator Tower from Howl’s Moving Castle.  

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Satsuki and Mei’s House from
My Neighbor Totoro.
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The most distinct feature of Dondoko Forest is Satsuki and Mei’s House from My Neighbor Totoro. Dondoko Forest also includes Dondoko-do, a wooden structure where only children can play inside. If you’re a major Ghibli fan, this is the place to be.

Address: 1533-1 Ibaragamama Otsu, Nagakute City, 480-1342 Aichi
Opening hours: Mon & Wed-Fri 10am-5pm | Sat, Sun & PH 9am-5pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
Contact: 0570-089-154 | Ghibli Park Website 

Nagoya guide

Whether you want to learn about old samurai culture or new and futuristic automotive inventions, Nagoya is a great place to travel and experience Japan. So the next time you plan to visit Nagoya, this guide has got you covered. 

For more guides and places to visit in Japan, check out these articles:

Cover image adapted from: @rienne_gram, @wandernhunger, @train_airplane, 大須観音(北野山真福寺寶生院)