Sightseeing Guide

In and around Nagoya

Nagoya Castle

Nagoya Castle (Nagoya Jo, 名古屋城) was constructed in 1615 by the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康), the originator of the Edo shogunate (Edo Bakuhu, 江戸幕府). The Castle is also known as “Kin Shachi Jo (金鯱城)” (Golden Tigerfish Castle) derived from the rooftop decorations (Shachi is an imaginary creature with tiger head and fish body). The highlight is not only the majestic main building (Tenshu, 天守) but also gorgeous walls and sliding doors decorated with breathtaking paintings inside the Palace (Hommaru Goten, 本丸御殿).

Access from Nagoya Station: less than 20 min. by train, subway or sightseeing route bus “Me-guru”

Useful link: Official website

Inuyama Castle

Inuyama Castle (Inuyama Jo, 犬山城), built in 1537, is the oldest one that remains the main building (Tenshu, 天守) survived the rough waves of history with the original conditions, and is one of only five Castles designated as National Treasure (Kokuho, 国宝). There you will find the strategic importance of the Castle for which great Samurai warlords, Oda Nobunaga (織田信長), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉) and Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康) competed.

Access from Nagoya Station: less than 1 hr. by train and on foot

Useful link: Official website

Atsuta Shrine

Atsuta Shrine (Atsuta Jingu, 熱田神宮), one of the greatest centers of worship in Japan since its foundation in 113 (2nd Century!), enshrines Amaterasu-Omikami (天照大御神, The Goddess of the Sun, considered as the ancestral Kami (神) of the Imperial family) represented by the Holy Sword Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (草薙剣), one of the Three Sacred Treasures (Sanshu-no-Jingi, 三種の神器) that symbolize the Imperial throne. The serene and mysterious atmosphere invites you to the age of ancient myths.

Access from Nagoya Station: less than 30 min. by train

Useful link: Official website

Osu Kannon Temple

Osu Kannon (大須観音, Kannon (観音) is the Buddhist Goddess of mercy and compassion) is one of the three major Kannon temples in Japan (other ones are Asakusa Kannon (浅草観音) in Tokyo and Tsu Kannon (津観音) in Mie Prefecture). It was originally built in 1333 and then moved to the current location in 1612 on the order by Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康), as he decided to construct Nagoya Castle (名古屋城) at the original location. The Temple also maintains copy of Kojiki (古事記, National Treasure, considered as the oldest historical writing in Japan) and many other Important Cultural Properties (重要文化財).

Access from Nagoya Station: less than 20 min. by train (transfer necessary) or about 30 min. on foot

Useful link: Aichi Now

Tokugawaen Garden/Tokugawa Art Museum

Tokugawaen (徳川園) is a calm, traditional Japanese style garden with streams, ponds, woods and rocks symbolizing the natural scenery of Japan – rivers, waterfalls, forests and ocean. Late June is the best season to enjoy iris (hanashobu, 花菖蒲) in full blooming. And in the premise locates Tokugawa Art Museum (徳川美術館) where the Tale of Genji Illustrated Scrolls (Genji monogatari emaki, 源氏物語絵巻, National Treasure), swords (katana, 刀), armors and helms (yoroi kabuto, 鎧兜), lacquerwares (urushi zaiku, 漆細工) and many other collections in Edo era (early 17th to late 19th Century) are maintained.

Access from Nagoya Station: about 30 min. by train or sightseeing bus

Useful link: Official websites

Arimatsu Narumi Traditional Townscape

Arimatsu (有松), a small town with old houses, shops, and warehouses, was established in 17th Century along Tokaido (東海道), the ancient highway linking Kyoto and Edo (江戸, current Tokyo). The townscape was designated as National Important Traditional Constructions Preservation Area (重要伝統的建造物群保存地区) in 2016. Its specialty cloth products, Arimatsu shibori (有松絞), is made by a dying technique with clothes wringed.

Access from Nagoya Station: less than 30 min. by train (transfer necessary)

Useful link: Aichi Now

Tokoname Pottery Footpath

Tokoname Pottery (Tokoname yaki, 常滑焼) footpath is located on the hill of Tokoname city, Chita Peninsula. It had been considered difficult to produce pottery with iron-containing clay, as it becomes darkened and swells when being burned. However, Tokoname yaki successfully produces earthy red-brown pottery utilizing the iron contents. It is said that Tokoname yaki teapot (kyusu, 急須) brings green tea milder and deeper flavor.

Access from Nagoya Station: less than 1 hr. by train

Useful link: Aichi Now

The Museum Meiji Mura

The Museum Meiji Mura (明治村) is an open-air museum where exhibits buildings in Meiji era (late 19th to early 20th Century), survived from the fate of being dismantled. You will experience the passion of the era when the country reopened the border and people dreamt a bright future of catching up with the Western Powers and realized it.

Access from Nagoya Station: less than 1.5 hr. by train (transfer necessary) and on foot

Useful link: Aichi Now

One-day Trip from Nagoya

Ise Grand Shrine

Ise Grand Shrine (Ise Jingu, 伊勢神宮) consists of 125 jinja (神社, Shinto (神道) shrine) including Kotaijingu (皇大神宮, or Naiku, 内宮) which enshrines the Goddess Amaterasu-Omikami (天照大御神). The Goddess was originally worshipped in the Imperial Palace (Gosho, 御所, in Kyoto) by successive Emperors of Japan (Tenno, 天皇). However, the 10th Emperor Sujin (崇神天皇) felt fear to live with the Goddess and decided to move the Holy Mirror (Yata-no Kagami, 八咫鏡, representing the Goddess and one of the Three Sacred Treasures (Sanshu-no-Jingi, 三種の神器)) from the Palace. Then, the 11th Emperor Suinin (垂仁天皇) ordered his princess, Yamatohime-no-mikoto (倭姫命), to seek the most appropriate place to permanently enshrine and worship the Goddess. After searching in many regions, finally the princess received a revelation that the Goddess should be enshrined and worshipped eternally in Ise.

Access from Nagoya Station: about 2 hrs. by train, bus (transfer necessary) and on foot

Useful link: Official website


Shirakawa-go (白川郷, meaning “white river village”), a World Cultural Heritage site, was once isolated by the high mountains and heavy snowfall in winter. That is why there remains the original landscape of Japan woven by natural beauty and traditional lifestyles. The unique shape of roofs, called “Gassho zukuri” (合掌造り), is to prevent collapsing due to the heavy snow and named from gassho (合掌) 🙏, gesture of praying for peace in mind.

Access from Nagoya Station: about 3 hrs. by bus (reservation required)

Useful link: Official website


Needless to say, Kyoto (京都), another World Cultural Heritage site, the ancient capital and the center of politics, economy and culture of Japan, has enormous numbers of historical constructions including the former Imperial Palace (Gosho, 御所), famous temples and shrines. You will definitely find your own favorite ones. And of course, don’t forget to taste Kyoto cuisine.

Access from Nagoya Station: less than 1 hr. by super-express train (Shinkansen, 新幹線)

Useful link: Official website