Sightseeing in Nagoya, Japan

Nagoya is in central Japan, and is one of that country’s five largest cities.  The area is the heart of Japan’s automotive manufacturing industry and therefore sees a lot of business travelers throughout the year.  More recently, Nagoya was the host of the 2005 World Expo, so the city is definitely getting additional exposure — though it still lags far behind Tokyo and Kyoto as vacation destinations.  Nevertheless, if you find yourself traveling to Nagoya on either business or pleasure, there are plenty of great things to do and see.  Here are a few of the highlights.

Atsuta Shrine
According to the official Atsuta Shrine website, this place of worship for the Shinto religion has existed in one form or other for more than nineteen hundred years.  The shrine is one of the most famous in all of Japan, and contains relics that are considered very sacred to adherents of Shinto.  Although visitors to Atsuta Shrine are not allowed to view the religious relics,  you’ll be able to walk through the vast grounds and see other things, including the treasure exhibition hall (containing ancient swords, mirrors, masks, documents, etc.) tea ceremony houses, a Noh theater, a giant camphor tree that is said to be more than 1,300 years old, and much more.

Nagoya Castle
The original Nagoya Castle, which was all but razed to the ground in World War II, was built back in the 1600s during the height of the Edo Period of Japanese history.  The current structure is therefore a reconstruction that was completed in 1959.  The castle consists of seven floors, each containing artifacts from Japan’s shogun era.  As with most other Japanese castles, Nagoya Castle is surround by a beautiful, expansive park and garden that is filled with cherry trees and innumerable flowers. 

Italian Village
The Italian Village (also called Little Italy) is a new attraction in Nagoya that opened in 2005.  It is basically a small theme park that is supposed to call forth images of Italy.  There are shops selling Italian goods (ranging from Gucci and Prada to various pastas), restaurants offering Italian fare, and buildings boasting Italian facades.  You can even take a gondola ride on manmade canal. 

Nagoya City Museum
The Nagoya City Museum houses collections that highlight the cultural importance of the Owari region of Japan.  The permanent displays fall under several different headings, including fine art, archaeology, history, and even folk tradition.  You’ll be able to see samurai swords, suits of armor, and other artifacts of this nature.  In addition, the Nagoya City Museum occasionally hosts traveling exhibitions from other museums in the country or around the world. 

Nagoya Dragons Baseball Game
If you’re a sports fan, you’ll want to take in a baseball game at the Nagoya Dome.  The Japanese professional baseball season runs from April to September, just as the American baseball season does.  The Nagoya home team is called the Dragons, and they play in the Central League.  Japanese baseball games are quite different from American games, at least from the fans’ standpoint.  You’ll be treated to constant cheering, chanting, and drumming from a fan-led music section in the outfield bleachers.

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