Nagoya Itinerary: Things to Do + Travel Tips

Conveniently located between Tokyo and the Kyoto/Osaka area, Nagoya makes for a perfect stopover destination. Not only is it the capital of the Aichi prefecture, but its also the 4th largest city in Japan. If you’re looking for things to do or how to get there, check out this Nagoya Itinerary!

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Itinerary Nagoya Things to Do Travel Tips | Footsteps of a Dreamer

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Is Nagoya Worth Visiting? For How Long?

To be 100% honest, there are only a few scenarios where I believe Nagoya would be worth visiting:

  • Your first visit to Japan is more than 2 weeks long
  • This isn’t your first trip to Japan and you’ve already been to the big cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima
  • You’re looking for off the beaten path (less touristy) destinations

For those visiting Japan for the first time, there are just so many other places I would recommend that I feel would be better for truly getting immersed in Japan and its culture. This is especially true if time in Japan is limited.

However, due to Nagoya’s convenient location between Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka, it makes for a great stopover city. If you have the extra time in your itinerary, then it’s definitely worth spending a half a day to a day in Nagoya.

Top Things to do in Nagoya

Nagoya Castle

Nagoya Castle is one of the castles in Japan that have been rebuilt. This means that, while the outside still looks like the traditional Japanese castle, the inside looks more like a modern museum. Inside they have all sorts of samurai equipment, statues, old documents, and more on display.

Nagoya Castle | Footsteps of a Dreamer

Also inside the Nagoya castle gates is Honmaru palace. It’s doesn’t cost anything extra and it’s definitely worth exploring. The building is made of really fine wood, and the sliding doors are decorated with exquisite paintings.

Honmaru Palace | Footsteps of a Dreamer

Tokugawa Garden

If you’ve visited some of the parks and gardens in Tokyo, Tokugawa Garden will likely pale in comparison as it is much smaller and unassuming. However, it’s still a nice place to visit. It has one big pond, and on the opposite side of the pond is a traditional style building which you can rent out for events. There is also a small path that allows you to stroll around the pond.

Tokugawa Garden | Footsteps of a Dreamer

Tokugawa Garden | Footsteps of a Dreamer

Tokugawa Garden | Footsteps of a Dreamer

Osu Kannon Dori

On the way to Osu Kannon Temple is Osu Kannon Dori, a popular shopping street. Here, you’ll find all sorts of food, clothes, accessories, and Japanese souvenirs. Even better is that many of the shops along Osu Kannon Dori and the surrounding streets are mom and pop shops. By shopping here, you’re supporting the local community. However, also be prepared for the fact that many of them speak very limited English.

Osu Kannon Dori | Footsteps of a Dreamer

Osu Kannon Dori | Footsteps of a Dreamer

Osu Kannon Dori | Footsteps of a Dreamer

Osu Kannon Temple

After making your way down, Osu Kannon Dori, you’ll eventually arrive at Osu Kannon Temple. The temple is typically lively with many people. Plus the many flag poles that surround the temple give the place a festive feel.

When I was at Osu Kannon temple, there was a guy with some bird seed in front of the temple, and he must have been surrounded by more than 50 pigeons. They all wanted the food so badly that they were actually flying onto his arm. It was pretty amusing to watch.

Osu Kannon Temple | Footsteps of a Dreamer

Other Things to Do in Nagoya

If you’ve got more than half a day in Nagoya, you can also check out these activities:

Transportation

Getting to Nagoya from Kyoto

That fastest way to get to Nagoya from Kyoto is by taking the shinkansen (bullet train). It only takes about half an hour to get there, but if you don’t have the Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass), it will cost about ¥5,800.

The cheaper (but slower) option for getting to Nagoya from Kyoto is by highway bus. With the Willer Express buses, it takes approximately 2 and a half hours to get to Nagoya (including stops), costs about ¥3,000.

Getting to Nagoya from Tokyo

That fastest way to get to Nagoya from Tokyo is by taking the shinkansen (bullet train). It only takes about 2 hours to get there, but if you don’t have the Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass), it will cost about ¥10,890.

The cheaper (but slower) option for getting to Nagoya from Tokyo is by highway bus. When I went to Nagoya, I didn’t have the JR pass, so I chose this option and booked a ticket with Willer Express. It takes approximately 5 and a half hours to get to Nagoya (including stops), but was only about ¥4,000. Personally, I thought it was a great way to see the more country side of Japan.

Getting to Nagoya | Footsteps of a Dreamer

Getting Around Nagoya (Nagoya One Day Pass)

While the JR Pass is useful for getting to Nagoya, it unfortunately doesn’t help much when trying to get around the city. The easiest way to get between the top attractions in Nagoya is by local bus and/or subway.

However, there is something called the Nagoya One Day Pass (or 1-Day Tickets). Depending on the type of pass, it allows you to ride the bus or subway an unlimited amount of times in a day for one flat fee. One Day Passes range from ¥500 to ¥850.

If you were to visit all of the top things to do in Nagoya, your travel itinerary for the day might look something like this:

  • Nagoya Station -> Nagoya Castle (¥210)
  • Nagoya Castle -> Tokugawa Garden (¥210)
  • Tokugawa Garden -> Osu Kannon (¥410)
  • Osu Kannon -> Nagoya Station (¥200)

That’s a total of ¥1,030, meaning the one day pass could save you ¥180 to ¥530.

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Itinerary Nagoya Things to Do Travel Tips | Footsteps of a Dreamer

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