Begin your exploration of the city at Nagoya Castle, which dates back to the Edo period when Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa family. While many of the castle buildings were destroyed during the Second World War, a reconstruction of the castle keep houses a museum where you can delve further into the landmark’s fascinating history. There are also moats and turreted walls to explore in the expansive grounds, which are especially beautiful during the springtime cherry blossom season. Also worth a visit is the ancient Atsuta Shrine, which enshrines the Sun Goddess Amaterasu and draws millions of visitors every year, and Tokugawa Art Museum.
Those seeking more modern cultural highlights should head for the Toyota Automobile Museum or hit the shops – Nagoya is a great retail therapy destination for shopaholics who want to avoid the crowds of better-known Japanese cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Sakae is Nagoya’s shopping hotspot, where you’ll find upscale malls and department stores stocking a range of designer brands such as Gucci and Chanel along with high-street fashion favourites like Zara. Head to the area around Osu Kannon temple for an eclectic monthly flea market and a range of smaller boutiques selling clothes and souvenirs.
Nagoya boasts a fantastic culinary scene, with an array of restaurants serving everything from traditional cuisine to stylish fusion fare. Try Kawabun, an exclusive rotei restaurant dating back to when Nagoya Castle was built, for classic Japanese dishes prepared using seasonal ingredients; or join the ever-present queue to sample some of the country’s best eel delicacies at Atsuta Horaiken Honten. Taiko Honten provides a novelty factor, with mouthwatering dishes cooked at your table as you watch.
Nagoya offers a range of accommodation, from luxurious Western-style hotels with high-end restaurants and spas to traditional ryokan (Japanese inns) and minshuku (bed and breakfasts), which offer a more authentic experience of staying in the city.
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