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Nagoya Travel Guide, Japan

The fourth largest city of Japan, Nagoya lies strategically along the vast Ise Bay opening to the Pacific Coast which makes it one of the country’s major ports. Set within the Chūbu region on Central Honshu and the designated capital of the Aichi Prefecture, it is also the center of Japan’s third largest industrial zone- the Chūkyō Metropolitan Area. Nagoya currently has 16 wards and has five sister cities specifically Los Angeles in the United States of America, Mexico City in Mexico, Nanjing in People’s Republic of China, Sydney in Australia and Turin in Italy.   


The population increase was significant at the end of World War II. Nagoya’s total area is 326.45 km² and presently has an estimated population of 2.22 million.


Presently, Nagoya’s major public airport is the Chūbu Centrair International Airport located in Tokoname. The Nagoya Airport, formerly an international airfield, currently operates as a domestic airbase facility.

The Nagoya Station in Nakamura-ku is said to be the world’s largest train station based on floor area and accommodates the Central Japan Railway Company’s control center. It provides the city’s main railway and subway services.


During the 16th century, the Nagoya area was expanding mainly by the castles built by the Imagawa and Oda clans. In the year 1610, Tokugawa Ieyasu founder of the Shogunate Government transferred the Owari capital from Kiyosu to the Nagoya area. In 1612 a larger Nagoya-jo Castle was built for his son Yoshinao who was then the appointed Governor of the Owari province. The entire township was moved near the castle including the temples and shrines. The town continued to thrive and eventually became a small city.

Nagoya became an industrial center for the surrounding regions. Towns of Tokoname, Tajimi and Seto were known for their flourishing pottery industry. Cotton and lumber were also major industries at that time.

As part of the Meiji Restoration effort they saw the need to establish prefectures as Nagoya’s economy was also rising. There was also a shift from a family rule to government officials.

During the World War II the city was largely devastated.  Nagoya was rebuilt after the war and most of its public roads and infrastructure was greatly improved. Nagoya was declared as a city on October 1, 1889 and officially recognized in September 1, 1956 by government ordinance.


Two major sights to see in Nagoya are the Nagoya Castle and Atsuta Shrine. The Nagoya Castle, which was constructed in 1612, lures many tourists in Nagoya for its fascinating architecture. The castle stands with two towering shachi-hoko or dolphin-like creatures on its roof which often symbolizes Nagoya. It also contains significant exhibits of armors and family artifacts.

Originally built in the 3rd century, the Atsuta Shrine is regarded as one of the most venerable shrines of Japan. It is believed to enshrine the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi which is assumed to be one of Japan’s sacred regalia. Presently a small museum, it contains several important Shinto and Tokugawa artifacts. The shrine also hosts several yearly festivals.

The towering and lofty JR Central Towers of Nagoya Station is another attraction in Nagoya.

The Nagoya Port Area includes a unique shopping mall named Italia Mura and the site of the famous Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium.

The Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens are sure attractions for every nature lover.

The two Toyota museums: the Toyota Automobile Museum and the Toyota Museum of Industry and Technology are the places where guests can know more about this giant automaker company.

The Noritake factory is an attractive place for those who want to take a peek at the company’s history and learn something about Japanese ceramics.


At this time Nagoya’s primary economic industry remains to be the automotive business as many of Japan’s world-renowned automotive companies and suppliers are based here.

Aside from the automotive companies, other notable companies are also in Nagoya. Marukawa, a Japanese confectionery company can be found in Nagoya along with the ceramics company Noritake. Ibanez Guitars are also based in this city. There are also a notable number of aerospace, electronics and robot industries in Nagoya.

Most of Nagoya’s GDP percentage comes from the services, the wholesale and retail industries and the manufacturing industry followed by the shipping and communications,  real estate, administrative services, supply construction and finance and insurance industries consecutively.

Education and Culture

The Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts is an art attraction and a sister museum of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. It was established primarily to bring about aspects of MFA’s collection and art influences to Japan. Famous universities in Nagoya include the University of Nagoya and Nanzan University.

Nagoya also has its local festivities and celebrations. But one unique thing about Nagoya is its earliest St. Patrick’s Day celebration. It is held annually two weeks before the 17th of March. The first before the entire world celebrates it.


Nagoya’s professional sports teams include the Chunichi Dragons (baseball), the Nagoya Grampus Eight (football) and the Nagoya Oceans (futsal). The city’s amateur football club the Shonai FC and the Nagoya Barbarians, its rugby football counterpart, are also local sports favorites. Since 1984 Nagoya has also been hosting the yearly Nagoya marathon race for women.

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