How to Spend 1 Day in Nagoya
Situated 1.5 hours east of Kyoto by train, Japan’s fourth-largest city is less visited than Tokyo or Osaka but makes for a convenient stopover from a variety of locations. The city offers lots of sightseeing options and activities, from an Edo-era castle to hands-on cooking classes. Here’s how to see the city a day.
Morning: See Nagoya Castle
Undoubtedly the city’s highlight—and one of Japan’s most famous castles—this stunning 17th-century structure dates back to the Tokugawa shogunate. Take a guided tour to learn about the building’s history and architectural details; most itineraries also include the Tokugawa Garden and a samurai-themed art museum. A half-day tour gives you a good overview of the city’s history with and lets you extend your sightseeing to landmarks like Osu Kannon Temple, Noritake Garden, and Atsuta Shrine. Alternatively, spend your morning at the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology and enjoy exhibits highlighting the best of Japanese manufacturing.
Afternoon: Cooking and Cuisine
Visiting a local’s home is a rare experience in Japan, but one way to get an insider’s view of the city is to take a cooking class hosted by a home chef. Spend the afternoon exploring the local markets and learning about ingredients commonly used in Japanese cuisine. Then get a hands-on experience preparing classic dishes like onigiri (rice balls) and red miso stew. You can also take a sushi-making lesson at Yanagibashi Rengo Ichiba, Nagoya’s famous fish market, and learn how to shape decorative sushi rolls, or enjoy a tour of the Kirin Beer Nagoya Factory.
Night: Subway Snacking
Nagoya Station is a hub of activity, and not just for the thousands of commuters who travel by rail or subway each day. The station’s underground malls are teeming with shoppers, and after work, you’ll find the city’s “salarymen” stopping by for an evening snack at one of the many eateries. Grab a drink and some pub-style bites like yakitori (grilled skewers). When you’re ready for some fresh air, take a pleasant evening stroll around Sakae, a shopping and entertainment district.