Nagoya is an industrial city and provides a large portion of Japan’s economy. It is home to Toyota, Mitsubishi Aircraft, Marukawa Confectionery Company, ceramics company Noritake, Fuji Heavy Industries, Matsuzakaya Department stores (oldest in Japan – founded in 1611), Brother Industries, aerospace companies, and many more large corporations.
It is also home to Nagoya Castle completed in 1612. I have visited 15 different castles throughout Japan. Each had something unique and this one was the very large garden area. The ownership changed hands many times by feudal lords with the Owari clan holding on for the longest period.
The castle was partially destroyed during WWII and in 1959 restoration was completed. In it’s early history there were many fires and as a result you will see statues throughout the castle and grounds of the Kinshachi (a mythical dolphin that summons water to prevent fires).This is just one of the stories about the Kinshachi, others claim the dolphin was a sign of power.
On the grounds we encountered a historic performance by several daimyo lords with large drums in the background. Although I am not very good with the language, the performance was self-explanatory and I enjoyed it along with the other spectators.
You want to take the Castle tour because the history is very interesting and much has taken place since 1612. Almost all of the displays have English language plaques.
Do not forget to catch a glimpse of the Torreya Nut Tree near the north gate. It is over 600 years old and is designated as a government national monument.
For a free English tour on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, or Saturday at 1300, call 0561-75-6977
You can use the subway, city bus, or the Me-guru sightseeing bus from Nagoya station.
A 15-minute walk from the Castle is our second stop the Nagoya TV Tower. In most every city in Japan you will find a tower with an observation deck. This is a great way to get a look at the skyline and see where the points of interest are located.
The observation deck is 90 meters (295 feet) up has a great view of the city and surrounding area. From the deck you can see a building just below the tower that looks like a flying saucer and it was our next stop.
Oasis 21 is a multi-level park complex. Since we visited in the winter there was an ice skating rink at the bottom level surrounded by a host of stores and restaurants. We walked on the roof and it was an eerie feeling as it was covered with rippling water. Oasis 21 was a nice change of pace.
After all the walking we had picked up quite an appetite and headed back towards the station. Nagoya is famous for tasty Tebasaki (chicken wings), Ebi Fry (very large Shrimp), Miso Katsu (Pork filets soaked in a special miso sauce), Hitsumabushi (Marinated and barbecued eel), Miso Nikomi (Boiled miso broth with Udon noodles) and top it all off with Uirou (Japanese sweets).
For Supper we experienced a Nagoya traditional meal at a restaurant in the Lucent building across the street from our hotel. The meal consisted of Miso soaked pork filets, Chicken wings, Chicken in spicy sauce, and various veggies.
Nagoya offers many great attractions and is only a 2 and 1 half hour Shinkansen train ride from Tokyo. If you want to do it right plan on staying several days.