Three weeks ago, I shared to you how I conquered the ₱50,000 x 13-day Japan trip challenge. I went around 7 different cities in the southern part of Japan. I mentioned there that I will blog about the 7 cities I visited in 4 different posts. So yeah, here’s the first one!
European vibe in Noritake Garden
The first 3 days & 2 nights of the trip were spent exploring the beautiful & laid-back city of Nagoya. Nagoya is the capital of the Aichi Prefecture & is also one of Japan’s famous port cities. People normally skip this city because they say there isn’t much to see compared to Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka; but I am here to debunk that notion. This city has some of the most beautiful gardens I’ve been to in my whole trip. Let me elaborate below on where I stayed & what I did in my short stay in Nagoya.
Meijō Park near Nagoya Castle grounds
It’s not a secret that accommodation is one of the most expensive in all of Asia. Just like my previous Japan trip, I stayed in hostels. You still get a your private space (beds with curtains) in a room for 3-6 people at a very affordable rate. I stayed in 7-bed dormitory room in Glocal Nagoya Backpackers Hostel in Nakamura Ward. It is a 5-10 minute walk from the JR Nagoya Station & also near to both Willer Express pick-up & drop off points. The hostel is also located near different convenience stores & local restaurants. You won’t have any problem looking for food in the middle of the night. 😉
My dormitory room in Glocal Nagoya Backpackers Hostel
The hostel staff were really nice & helpful. I remember one of the staff told me he loved the Philippines when he visited a few years back. He also wants to fly back soon & explore more places / provinces. The hostel has an on-site bar & restaurant in the ground floor where you can meet & interact with local people & tourists. It also has a communal dining & lounge area in the 3rd floor exclusively for the guests. The property also offers free Wi-Fi to all guests. If you ever plan to go to Nagoya, I recommend that you stay in Glocal Nagoya Backpackers Hostel. The hostel also has private rooms for those who do not want to stay in dormitory rooms.
Going around Nagoya is not difficult. The city has numerous JR & local subway lines that take you to almost all tourist attractions. Transfers between train stations & lines are convenient & tourist-friendly.
I didn’t get the Japan Rail Pass or the 1-day tourist pass during my stay; I only re-used my IC card from last year’s trip. I added credit & used it in every train ride. I also used this IC card in convenience stores, fast food restaurants & other shops.
Places Visited in Nagoya
Atsuta Jingu entrance
Atsuta Jingu is one of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines in all of Japan. This is somewhat similar to Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine. Each entrance to the shrine grounds has a torii gate. I went there on a Sunday & there were many Japanese families spending some quality time in the shrine grounds. Anyway, the shrine can be reached by a 5-minute walk from Meitetsu Nagoya Line’s Jingumae Station or Meijo Line’s Jingunishi Station. (No entrance fee)
Shirotori Garden is a traditional Japanese garden with pathways around ponds & streams. This garden is also home to different events & fairs. Luckily, there was an organic food fair the day of my visit. The garden can be reached by a 5-minute walk from the Atsuta Jingu Shrine. (Entrance fee: ¥300)
Beautiful morning in Shirotori Garden
Noritake is one of the world’s leading tableware brand that originated in Nagoya in the 1900s. Noritake Garden was built in the former production grounds of the company. It has a craft center where you can see & experience how these wares are being done. There is also a museum which houses the exceptional crafts of Noritake through the years.
Inside Noritake Garden
The garden & recreation area provides a European vibe making you think if you are really in Japan. This is one of my favorite places in Nagoya; I will definitely visit again when I go back. (Entrance fee: Garden grounds: free | Craft center: ¥500)
Peaceful yet beautiful walkways around Noritake Garden
Osu Kannon Temple & Osu Shopping Street
Osu Kannon Temple is Nagoya’s most famous Buddhist temple. The temple’s center of attraction is the wooden status of Kannon, the Japanese goddess of mercy & pets. I went to the temple grounds during night time I wasn’t able to get a decent photo of it. (No entrance fee)
Beside the temple is the Osu Shopping Street. Compared to Tokyo’s Akihabara District, it has hundreds of shops specializing in electronics, anime, cosplay & Japanese goods. This shopping street is a good place for buying souvenirs . (No entrance fee)
Osu Shopping Arcade at night
The Osu Kannon Temple & Shopping Street can be found a few steps from Tsurumai Subway Line’s Osu Kannon Station. Alternatively, you can go down at Kamimaezu Station, a common station of Tsurumai & Meijo subway lines.
Afternoon stroll at Nagoya Central Park
Sakae is Nagoya’s downtown district. Department stores, specialty stores & restaurants are all located in this area. The local party scene can also be found here. It is also in this area where you will find 2 iconic Nagoya landmarks – the Oasis 21 & Nagoya TV Tower plus their own version of Central Park.
The futuristic Oasis 21 in Sakae Ward
Nagoya TV Tower from the Central Park
This area can be accessed by going down at Sakae Station or by a 20-30 minute walk from JR Nagoya Station.
Don’t get me wrong, my initial plan was to go & see the Nagoya Castle. When I walking at towards the entrance, I saw a park full of red, orange & yellow leaves. Since I already know how Japanese castles look like (from my visit in Osaka Castle in 2015), I opted to just go to the nearby Meijō Park. Autumn was definitely at its peak when I went there. I enjoyed walking around, sitting on different wooden benches, observing people & thinking about random stuff. I tell you, it was the best decision I made that day.
The Meijō Park can be found a few meters walk from Meijō Kōen Station (nearest) or Shiyakusho Station (other station; this one is near Nagoya Castle). (No entrance fee)
Best decision I made that day – skip Nagoya Castle & walk around Meijō Park 😍
You might notice I didn’t go to so many places in Nagoya. Um… Yes. To be honest, I wanted the itinerary to be as flexible as possible. I didn’t plan on where to go or what to do; I only asked a few suggestions from the hostel staff & people I met plus check some online sites. I took my time in exploring & enjoyed every single minute I spent in these places.
3 days (or strictly speaking 2 full days) are not enough to explore the beautiful city of Nagoya. The city has so much to offer I want to go back there soon!
It was also announced last year that Legoland Japan will open a theme park in Nagoya. It will be the 8th in the world & the first in East Asia. Legoland Japan is expected to open to the public next month, 1 April 2017. Another park to add in the list for my next visit!
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PS. All photos above were shot using my HTC Re.