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Recognized by UNESCO as a Creative City of Design, Nagoya is home to Noritake tableware products, the Toyota industry, and the maglev (magnetic levitation) train line. The city also boasts Japan’s largest—and one of the world’s busiest—railway station, with a shopping labyrinth underground. Here are some ways to spend two days in Nagoya.
Day 1: Sightseeing, Shopping, and Shows
Morning: Start the day seeing the city highlights on a guided walking tour. Osu Kannon Temple and Nagoya Castle may be the city’s most popular landmarks, but the Osu Shopping District is also well worth a visit. You can also take quick subway ride downtown to the Sakae retail and entertainment district.
Afternoon: Devote the afternoon to Nagoya’s many sites of innovation and craftsmanship. Start at the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park, which offers a fascinating look at the history of train engineering and design from steam locomotion to the Shinkansen. Afterward, head to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology or to Noritake Garden to learn about the company’s popular tableware.
Night: Head to a contemporary-style Kabuki show. The action-packed performances are suitable for all ages with a plot that’s easy to follow even if you don’t understand Japanese. If you’d rather be a performer than watch a show, join a wadaiko (Japanese drumming) workshop for a music lesson and hands-on practice.
Day 2: Pop Culture and Cuisine
Morning: Get an early start at Yanagibashi Rengo Ichiba, the city’s centrally-located fish market near Nagoya Station. Watch fishermen bring freshly-caught seafood in from the nearby bay and enjoy breakfast at one of the on-site eateries. Opt for a guided tour of the market to learn about the lively action and enjoy options like sashimi tastings and sushi-making classes.
Afternoon: Foodies can continue the day’s trajectory with an afternoon cooking class; learn to make soba (buckwheat noodles) or other dishes typical of the Nagoya region. Or, for a change of pace, take a manga drawing class, or book a cosplay photoshoot and dress up in Japan’s “Lolita” style clothing.
Night: Return to Osu in the evening to find dinner and last-minute souvenirs among the more than 1,200 shops and restaurants. Or head to Oasis 21 in Sakae: This multi-level shopping complex features a rooftop pool that provides visitors with 360-degree views that include the illuminated Nagoya TV Tower.