A major thoroughfare and port city in central Japan, Nagoya has long been a hub for some of the country’s most important and interesting history. As such, things to do in Nagoya are as diverse as the city itself. Two can’t-miss attractions are the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology and Nagoya TV Tower, made famous by one of Japan’s most famous celebrities – Godzilla!
Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium
Loved for its dolphin shows in the world’s largest outdoor water tank, Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium is an incredible place to visit. Dolphin shows aren’t all the aquarium does well, either. The aquatic museum houses marine life from several regions around Japan and the Antarctic Ocean. Waddling penguins, sea turtles, whales and more are on display at Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium.
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Ticket prices: 2,030 JPY (20 USD)
Nagoya TV Tower
Nagoya TV Tower was built in 1954 as a communications tower, but the tower quickly gained fame when it starred in the 1964 “Mothra vs. Godzilla” movie. It appeared again in the 1992 remake “Godzilla vs. Mothra,” and now the tower serves as one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Nagoya TV Tower contains two main observation decks, the indoor Sky Deck at 295 feet (90 meters) and the outdoor Sky Balcony at 328 feet (100 meters). About 30 meters up the tower, a restaurant and gallery welcomes guests to enjoy a meal and learn more about the unique history of Nagoya TV Tower, today a Nationally Registered Tangible Cultural Property in Japan.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays April through December; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays January through March. The tower opens at 11 a.m. on weekends and national holidays.
Ticket prices: 700 JPY (7 USD)
Built in the heart of Japan at the crossroads between Osaka and Tokyo, Nagoya Castle once served guard over the territory where two of the country’s most important trade routes connected. The restored 1612 castle now serves as a museum, and visitors can see the remains of the castle’s moat along with pieces of the outer wall and corner turrets. One of the most impressive buildings is a re-creation of the original castle palace. The palace museum opened to the public in 2018 and is a grand display of traditional Shoin architecture. Visitors lucky enough to tour Nagoya Castle in late March and early April will be delighted with the cherry blossom trees that bloom throughout the complex and in connecting Meijo Park.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily (last entry to buildings at 4 p.m.); closed December 29 through January 1
Ticket prices: 500 JPY (5 USD)
Osu Shopping Street
A shopping trip in city center is a must while visiting Nagoya. The city’s most prominent and popular shopping street, Osu Shopping District, is a jackpot of retail stores, souvenir shops, specialty stores and restaurants. The street itself contains more than 400 shops, and with the combined stores along connecting Wakamiya Boulevard, Fushimi Street and Minami Otsu Street, shoppers are looking at more than 1,200 electronics stores, secondhand shops and boutiques featuring anime, manga and cosplay! If that’s not enough, Osu Kannan, a re-creation of an ornate 14th century Buddhist temple, is at the end of Osu Shopping District.
Nagoya’s Top Museums
Nagoya contains an impressive number of interesting museums dedicating to preserving history and promoting science and the advancement of technology at the same time. The best things about going on a museum tour in Nagoya is that the city is easy to navigate, and the best museums are spaced just minutes apart from one another.
3 can’t-miss museums in Nagoya
- Nagoya City Science Museum – the giant silver globe in Shirakawa Park makes this museum a sight to behold anyway, but on the inside, visitors can experience one of the world’s largest planetariums, astronomy programs and displays and seven floors of educational, fun and mind-blowing exhibits. Nagoya City Science Museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (closed Monday, the fourth Friday of each month and from December 29 to January 3). Tickets are 800 JPY (8 USD) for the museum and planetarium or 400 JPY (4 USD) for the museum only.
- Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology – just a 15-minute drive from Shirakawa Park, this epic museum documents the founding and flourishing of one of the world’s most recognized auto makers. Visitors can trace the timeline of Toyota from its inception to its modern-day marvels. The museum is housed in the original red brick building of the “Toyoda” textile factory and research center. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with last admission at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are 500 JPY (5 USD).
- Nagoya City Art Museum – another standout in Shirakawa Park, Nagoya City Art Museum is a fascinating space dedicated to art. The museum rotates three permanent collection galleries each year and showcases several smaller exhibition halls. The museum stays busy with regular events, lectures and conferences, and visitors are welcome – and encouraged – to enjoy the museum’s library and relax in the sculptured gardens that surround the art space. Nagoya City Art Museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entrance at 4:30 p.m.) daily (closed Monday). Friday hours are 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last entrance at 7:30 p.m.). Tickets to view the permanent exhibits are 300 JPY (3 USD).
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