- About Nagoya
NAGOYA, BASIC INFORMATION
Nagoya City is home to over 2.3 million people. It is Japan's fourth largest incorporated city, and Japan's third most populous urban area. Centrally located, it is one of the nation's most important transportation hubs, historical centers and industrial powerhouses.
Nagoya city central's streets are laid out in an easy to navigate grid-like pattern designed by the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu upon the construction of the iconic Nagoya Castle.
As the most centrally located major city, Nagoya evolved early as a major transportation hub and offers complete infrastructure for land, sea and air transportation, making it an ideal base for businesses and tourists. Numerous major highways lead to and from Nagoya. The Shinkansen Bullet Train system is centered in Nagoya, as are a number of standard rail systems, and from 2027, the Linear Mag-Lev super high-speed Bullet Train services linking Nagoya and Tokyo in 40 minutes is to commence operation. There is easy access to the two airports, the Komaki based Nagoya Airport, just 35 minutes north of the city center, and the multi award winning Central Japan International Airport, Centrair, located about 30 minutes by express train south of the city. The Port of Nagoya is Japan's busiest port, connected to 170 countries world-wide and handling over 197 million tons of cargo annually. Nagoya is without a doubt the central hub of Japan, the hub that keeps Japan Inc. on track and its wheels rolling smoothly.
Nagoya is the capital of Aichi Prefecture, and together they form Japan's financially strongest region.
Surrounded by sea, mountains, rivers and plains, centrally located Nagoya had long been the envy of the many neighboring warlords. The wide, flat, fertile Nobi Plains were ideal for rice and crop production. The sea to the south was a rich fishing grounds and like the many surrounding rivers, was ideal for transportation and trade. Fine timber, clays and stone from the mountains made it most desirable, and so this bountiful region found itself at the heart of the Sengoku, or Warring States period. It is little wonder the Oda clan, and later the mighty Tokugawa clan chose Nagoya for the site of their great castles. Naturally, increased samurai military presence invited talented craftsmen, and many traditional industries were formed.
Innovation has always been part of Nagoya's culture, and this is where the Japanese art of manufacturing was perfected. The worlds's first wooden robots, mechanized puppets known as karakuri dolls, were developed in Nagoya during the early 1600's. Originally used atop the traditional festival floats unique to this area and as playthings for the affluent, the technology from these handcrafted wooden mechanical wonders led to automated loom manufacturing, which in turn influenced vehicle production line techniques, launching Nagoya's powerful industries.
Innovation has always been part of Nagoya’s culture, and this is where the Japanese art of manufacturing was perfected. The worlds’ first wooden robots, mechanized puppets known as karakuri dolls, were developed in Nagoya during the early 1600’s. Originally used atop the traditional festival floats unique to this area and as playthings for the affluent, the technology from these handcrafted wooden mechanical wonders led to automated loom manufacturing, which in turn influenced vehicle production line techniques, launching Nagoya’s powerful industries.
The Nagoya region has also been a ceramics production area for over 1,000 years and is famed for its historical and modern textiles industry too.
Some of the world's biggest names Toyota, Rinnai, Brother, Noritake, NGK, Buffalo, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, DMG Mori Seiki, and so many more call Nagoya and the greater Nagoya region home. Today the Nagoya region is the nation's leader in automotive, machine tooling, robotics, fine ceramics and aerospace industry, and because of this, remains the financial powerhouse of Japan.
HISTORY & CULTURE
Nagoya boasts a long and exciting history. Japan’s second most venerated shrine, the Great Shrine of Atsuta was established here 1,900 years ago, and is home to the legendary Kusanagi Sword, one of the nation’s Three Sacred Treasures and Three Imperial Regalia. Nagoya is the birthplace of the very first Shogun, Minamoto Yoritomo, and the origins of the Three Unifiers, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, along with a host of other famous samurai whose successes forged the strong foundations for modern Japan. Being at the heart of the Sengoku, or Warring States period, many of history’s most famous samurai battles happened in and around the greater Nagoya region too.
Nagoya Castle features one of Japan's largest castle tower keeps, and arguably, the finest palace of any castle in Japanese history. Built by the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu and completed in 1612, it was the first of Japan's castles to be designated a National Treasure before its destruction through wartime bombing. Nagoya is also home to the world's finest collection of daimyo (warlord) armor, weapons and daily life items, including furniture, clothing, tea ceremony implements and personal effects housed in the magnificent Tokugawa Art Museum.
NIGHT LIFE & SIGHTSEEING
Sprawling and mostly flat, Nagoya at night provides an amazing sight. Try a helicopter night flight over the city from the Komaki based Nagoya Airport, or see the city landmarks from the Sky Promenade on the top 3 floors of the of Nagoya’s highest building, the 46 story Midland Square. Alternatively, Higashiyama Sky Tower is said to be among Japan’s best night views.
Popular summertime rooftop Beer Gardens dot the city center, while the central Nishiki 3-Chome areas’ nightclubs, pubs and discos really only come alive after dark.
Other night attractions include the Nagoya Port fun park, Sea Train Land with its huge illuminated Ferris Wheel and other side-shows. This can be coupled with a weekend Nagoya Port Night Cruise taking in the surprisingly beautiful-at-night factories lit up like year-round X-mas trees. See the towering Nagoya Castle lit up at night, or for something a little more cultural, one of Nagoya's oldest remaining traditional restaurants dating back over 400 years, the Kawabun, offers Cultural Nights, with traditionally trained Geisha providing song, dance and timeless entertainments while interacting directly with the clientele.
(NAGOYA STATION / SAKAE AREA)
The citizens of Nagoya are said to have the nation's highest levels of personal savings, and the people of Nagoya love their shopping. This is most evident around the upmarket Nagoya Station area, and the popular Sakae area, where many famous brand name stores and quality department stores can be found.
One of the world's oldest remaining department stores is Nagoya based Matsuzakaya, established in 1611. The flagship store is located in the city central Sakae area, beside such other famed stores as Mitsukoshi, the popular LaChic and Parco. In between are brand name and specialty stores catering to a wide range of tastes, styles, ages and wages. The advantage of shopping in Nagoya is a large range of items in a more convenient compact area.
GOURMET / NAGOYA-MESHI(Local Cuisine)
Nagoya’s cuisine, known affectionately as “Nagoya Meshi”, is without doubt the most unique food culture within mainland Japan. Although it is undoubtedly Japanese, it is among the most Western-friendly of Japanese cuisines, and often a welcomed alternative to the unfamiliar Japanese fare one encounters on trips to Japan.
While Japanese food is as much a feast for the eyes as it is the palate, Nagoya Meshi admittedly looks a little bland. Everything is brown, but what it lacks in color, it certainly makes up for in taste. A highly nutritious and delicious traditionally fermented soybean paste called miso is often used in Nagoya Meshi.
Must try items include Miso Nikomi Udon, thick, udon noodles simmered in a rich miso-based broth, perfect for those cold winter days. Tebasaki, Nagoya Fried Chicken Wings, deep fried wings dusted with an eclectic mix of herbs, salts and seasoning, enjoyed anytime, anywhere. Kishimen are long flat noodles in a unique soup supposedly enjoyed by the samurai of old. Hitsumabushi, grilled eel served on a bed of rice with various condiments included to enjoy in four ways, and Miso Katsu, soft pork cutlets smothered in a topping of miso sauce. Large fried shrimp, known as Ebi Fry, also the locally bred Nagoya Kochin chicken, Ogura Toast, being sweet red beans served on toast, and Temusu, fried shrimp in rice-balls, are perennial local favorites. There's so much more to discover, taste and enjoy when you visit Nagoya.