Nagoya is one of Japan’s largest and most important cities with both a rich history and a modern and comfortable lifestyle. The list of things to do in Nagoya covers aspects from traditional cultural activities to sports – many set in the verdant surroundings.
Such activities include the Japanese tea ceremony, sightseeing on the city’s Me-guru tour buses, golf, English-language cooking classes, and even strawberry picking.
Hop on a Me-Guru, Nagoya’s famous yellow-and-white tour buses and enjoy many of the city’s famous attractions such as Nagoya Castle, Noritake Garden, Tokugawa Museum, the Toyota Commemorative Museum and Nagoya Station. One-day passes are recommended as you can also get discounts at most city attractions when you display them at the gate. These can be purchased on the bus. This is truly a fun and economical way to see Nagoya.
Opening Hours: Tue – Sun from 09:30 – 17:30, no service on Mondays
Location: At bus stops around town
Nagoya is home to two active English-language theatre groups. The first one was established in 1975 and is called the Nagoya Players consisting of members of all ages and nationalities. Some of their past shows have been The Red Oni Cried, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, The Boys Next Door and The Vagina Monologues. The second and much younger group is called Maidenagoya Productions. It consists of members from Japan, UK, Germany, Australia, USA and France. Its previous shows included Bent, Death and the Maiden and a bilingual version of Romeo & Juliet. If you are interested to see one of their productions, get in touch with them for the latest schedules.
Opening Hours: Shows vary depending on each group
Location: Nagoya City
Tel: +81 (0)52 733 2025
Ukai or cormorant fishing is one of the world’s most fascinating traditional fishing methods and has been practiced in Japan for over 1,300 years, although nowadays it is primarily for the benefit of the tourist industry. The fishermen use a flat-bottomed boat and light a lantern at the prow before letting their cormorants, which are on leashes, dive down to look for the fish. The cormorant has a ‘snare’ or a ring at the base of its throat to prevent it from swallowing larger fish (although it can swallow the smaller ones) which it regurgitates for its master once back onboard. Ukai fishing is truly an amazing scene to witness, especially to see the fishermen in their traditional working costumes and working in harmony with their well-trained birds.
Opening Hours: Nightly from 19:00 – 21:30 during the ukai fishing season.
Location: Along the banks of Kiso and Nagara Rivers.
Surprisingly enough, baseball is one of Japanese's most loved sports. Visitor can catch this phenomenal game at the Nagoya Dome during the season, which runs from April until September. Tickets for certain matches can run out fast, so it is best to reserve them in advance. They are available at convenience stores like Family Mart and Lawsons.
Opening Hours: Regular season runs from April until September
Location: At the Nagoya Dome which is a three-minute walk from Nagoya Dome-mae Yada Subway Station.
Unbelievably, strawberry picking tours are quite popular in the Nagoya area, especially as a children’s activity. If you want to join in, it’s more likely that you’ll be doing so in a greenhouse rather than in an open field far out in the countryside. All the same, somehow or other strawberries are even tastier when you pick them yourself.
Opening Hours: By season
Location: Check with your hotel receptionist desk as to where the nearest farm is. There are a few well-known operators located in Iida City (part of Nagoya Prefecture) about two hours away by bus.
A simple gateway to enter into the world of Japanese old charm is to try its traditional stage play, noh. It dates back more than 700 years and is probably the only traditional show that is still performed in its original style. Out-of-town visitors interested in noh may pay a visit to the Nagoya Nohgakudo, a modern and well facilitated theatre. It sometime offers headphones with commentary in English too. This is to help the first time noh audience to appreciate the drama even more.
Opening Hours: Varies depending on the show but usually on the weekends. The small adjacent noh museum is open daily with free entrance
Location: Nagoya Noh Theatre is at Sannomaru, close to the Naka Ku area. (Try Shiyakusho Station which is the nearest station to the theatre)
Tel: +81 (0)52 231 0088
Participate in an elegant and rich-in-detail tea ceremony – an integral part of Japanese culture since Sen no Rikyu (1522 - 1591) invented the ceremony. The use of powdered green tea prepared by a skilled host and served to a small group of guests in an attractive tea room or tranquil garden is a must-do experience for out-of-town visitors. It’s also a chance to appreciate the beautiful utensils used in the ceremony such as ceramic tea bowls, delicately fashioned bamboo whisks and tea scoops.
A typical tea ceremony can last from one to five hours depending on the food and tea served.
The most famous tea ceremony location in Nagoya, located within the Uraku-en Garden, a short walk from Inuyama Castle in Inuyama City.
Opening Hours: Daily from 09:00 - 17:00
Location: Located within Uraku-en Garden in Inuyama City
How to get there: Around 30 minutes by express train from Nagoya on the Inuyama Line.
Kirakuya Café is in the Marutan Building, downtown Nagoya, with rooms devoted to the tea ceremony.
Opening Hours: From 11:00 onward
Location: In Marutan Building, 2-10-2 Nishiki, Naka-ku
Tel: +81 (0)52 223 0717
Golf might not be the oldest and most-established game played in Japan but it sure is one of the most popular sports in the country. One can easily tell by the growing number of new golf courses and many of them have opened up to non-members, including foreigners. If you fancy a game of golf or just want to practice your swing, Nagoya has many beautiful courses to choose from – please see the list below.
An 18-hole course with lovely surrounding waterfalls and lakes.
Tel: +81 (0)33 403 0511
Featuring 18 holes, Fujioka was founded in 1971 and covers 80 acres/32 hectares.
Tel: +81 (0)56 576 2331
This is another well-known course in the Nagoya area.
Tel: +81 (0)52 801 1111
This is a good rainy day idea and it sure beats wandering around Nagoya City getting soaking wet. Many large Nagoya cinemas feature from seven to 10 screens with good sound systems and show a mix of Japanese and foreign movies. Such places include Midland Square Cinemas and 109 Cinemas Nagoya.
Location: On 5th Floor of Midland Square Building located across the road from JR Nagoya Station.
Tel: +81 (0)52 527 8808
Opening Hours: About 10-minute walk south of JR Nagoya Station.
Tel: +81 (0)52 541 3109
It can be so much fun and quite an accomplishment to learn to cook like a professional while on holiday. Here in Nagoya you can learn to cook traditional Japanese dishes and understand the different sauces and spices used in their daily food preparation.
There are quite a few interesting English-language cooking classes held regularly in Nagoya area, please check with your hotel receptionist desk for the nearest one or see the ones listed below.
Location: At 9-45 tsukasa-cho, kariya-shi, Aichi-ken.
Tel: +81 (0)56 621 0363
Tel: +81 (0)80 1559 9744
How to get there: A 10-minute walk east of ext 2 of Shiyakusho Subway Station
Tel: +81 (0)52 211 2586
A trip to Japan would not be complete without visiting an onsen (Japanese sauna), found all over the country. In the Nagoya area, out-of-town visitors can enjoy a few local onsens including;
The Utopia Takara Onsen offers 10 baths, three different saunas, an outdoor Jacuzzi with a gazebo and a children’s bath with slide. Other facilities include accommodation, a movie theatre, hair salon, restaurants and games room. Note: If you have tattoos please cover them, especially while bathing or you may be either refused entry or asked to leave.
Opening Hours: Daily 24 hours
Location: At Maehama dori Minami ku
Tel: +81 (0)52 611 1126)
How to get there: A 10-minute walk from Nagoya Station on the JR line, a five-minute walk from Kasadera Station JR.
Dai-Nagoya Onsen is an onsen adjacent to a hotel located by the Shonai River. It features several pools with different temperatures as well as a sauna room, massage chairs and restaurant.
Opening Hours: 09:00 – 22:00, closed on Mondays
Location: It is part of Hotel Dai-Nagoya Onsen located next to the Shonai River in Nakamura, Nagoya
Tel: +81 (0)52 411 1577
Nagashima Onsen, also known as Nagashima Spa Land, is a huge place consisting of an amusement park, a few hotels and a spa resort which offers 13 outdoor baths.
Opening Hours: All year round from 09:30 – 21:00
Location: in NagashimaTown, Mie Prefecture
Tel: +81 (0)59 445 1111
How to get there: There is a direct bus regularly from Nagoya Station which takes 45 minutes.
Nagoya is proud to be the home of many famous national ice skaters including Midori Ito, the country’s first Olympic medalist skater. Visitors who like to practice their Midori trademark triple axel jumps or just want to have fun on the ice can try out a few skating arenas around Nagoya such as Nippon Gaishi Arena which is the city’s largest ice rink and the Nagoya Sports Center Rink as well as the Wel Sunpia Gifu Rink.
Opening Hours: Tue – Sat 10:00 – 20:30, Sun and holidays 10:00 - 18:00
Tel: +81 (0)52 614 6211
How to get there: A 5-minute walk from JR Kasadera Station
Opening Hours: All year round from 11:30 - 18:00, weekends and holidays 10:00 - 18:00
Tel: +81 (0)52 321 1591
How to get there: A 3-minute walk from exit 2 of Osu Kannon Subway Station
Opening Hours: Early November until the second week of April from 13:00 - 19:00, weekends and holidays 10:00 - 18:00
Location: Located on the outskirts of Gifu City in a big entertainment complex
Tel: +81 (0)58 274 8300
How to get there: About a 7-minute walk from the South Exit of JR Nishi Gifu Station, off the JR Tokaido Line