Nagoya is located at the center of Honshu (the main island of Japan) with a population of 2.24 million. Thanks to the rich water resources of the Kisogawa, Nagaragawa and Ibigawa Rivers, the fertile land which enjoy the blessings of the rivers, and other advantages including good transportation links, its people have lived affluent lives since early days.
Nagoya has a long history and is the birthplace of three notable feudal lords, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Also in Nagoya, traditional industries like ceramics and textiles, and today’s key industries like automobiles, aviation and machine tools have developed, and Nagoya has an important role in Japan’s industrial society.
Today, Nagoya grabs attention and keeps on developing as a Japanese international city.
Nagoya has a long history dating to 1900 years ago when Atsuta Jingu, which has a close relationship with the legendary persons appearing in kojiki (the oldest history book of Japan), was established. Nagoya is especially defined by its history after the establishment of Nagoya Castle.
In the 16th century, after a prolonged war-torn era, Tokugawa Ieyasu was victorious at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. This event marks the start of the Edo Period which lasted for 300 years. Ieyasu, who became the first Shogun (commander-in-chief), built Nagoya Castle and moved the whole town of Kiyosu, the center city of the region until then, to Nagoya. This migration is called kiyosugoe and occurred in 1614.
Then, the first lord of Nagoya Castle, Tokugawa Yoshinao promoted the infrastructure of Nagoya as a castle city, which contributed to the prosperity of the Owari Tokugawa family. In the era of the 7th lord, Muneharu, culture, including noh, kyogen and tea ceremony blossomed.
The City of Nagoya held the World Design Expo in 1989 and that experience led Nagoya to further emphasize its cityscape as well as city functions. The City of Nagoya is a safe and convenient city, while practicing innovation in design that beautifies the whole city and allows the citizens to live comfortably. Night illumination makes the city very attractive.
As a traditional folk song goes, “The well-being of the Owari-Nagoya District is maintained by the castle”, local residents are proud of Nagoya Castle. Governmental offices, including the Aichi Prefectural Hall and the Nagoya City Hall, are concentrated in this area around the castle.
At Nagoya Castle, seasonal events and nature scenes, such as the Cherry Blossom Festival in April and more, can be enjoyed all throughout the year.
Nagoya has prospered as a key junction for traffic between Edo (Tokyo) and Osaka for the past 400 years. The city’s symbol, Nagoya Castle, was destroyed in a World War II air raid, and the present castle is a modern reproduction; however, it was constructed in a manner that makes it easy to understand the life of the samurai warriors. The Golden Shachihoko set at the roof ridges of the castle are also a symbol of Nagoya.
The area also boasts Nagoya Noh Theater, where you can appreciate noh performances, a Japanese traditional performing art, and Meijo Park, where wisteria, cherry blossoms, azaleas and other seasonal followers charm you all year round, offering an affluent historic and cultural touch.
Nagoya castle is one of the three greatest castles in Japan. The castle was originally built by the order of Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1612. Nagoya Castle remained the home of Owari Tokugawa clan of Tokugawa family until 1868.
Nagoya Castle is a classic Japanese castle.
Nagoya Castle is almost in the center of Nagoya City, and is famous for ‘shachihoko,’ the golden orcas that adorn the roof of its castle tower. The Castle florished as the residence of the Owari Tokugawas, the largest of the three Tokugawa houses.
Much of the castle burnt in 1945 during the World War II air raids, but the tower was rebuilt in 1959 as a reinforced concrete building with seven stories above ground and a basement.
Since then, the castle has continued to be a beautiful symbol of Nagoya.
The inside of the castle has been opened up as exhibition rooms, and you can see up-close, items that tell the history of Nagoya, including objects related to the Owari Tokugawas.
Inside the castle;
;Also on display are various insects such as butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, moths, and many more.
The pair of golden fish-like statues on top of the donjon is called ‘Kinshachi’ and is the symbol of Nagoya Castle. When Tokugawa Ieyasu built the castle in 1610, 215 kg of gold was used for the statues, while 88 kg was used for the current ones. The Kinshachi has been stolen four times since they were installed but fortunatly, all of the thieves have been arrested.
A Shachi is an imaginary fish-like creature thought to resemble a dolphin, is believed to ward off fire.
Meijo-koen Park, which was constructed around the castle, contains flowers that bloom in different seasons, and many people like to walk here. There are also many events that should not be missed, such as the Sakura-matsuri which is the cherry blossom festival in spring, the summer festival at Nagoya Castle, and the chrysanthemum doll show.
The neighborhood to the east of Nagoya Castle has original 17th-century residences and warehouses. The scene around Nagoya Castle is one where the old and new blend harmoniously.
Midland Square, JR Central Towers, and Nagoya Mode Gakuen Spiral Towers, which was newly added to the area in March 2008 compliment the scenery with those landmark skyscrapers symbolizes energetic Nagoya.
Department store buildings line the streets at ground level, while underground, Esca, Termina, Unimall and other huge underground malls sprawl like a spiderweb. These underground malls are connected to each other and to nearby buildings, forming a gigantic shopping zone that combines the underground and above the ground into a whole.
The Nagoya station building, the JR Central Tower, was created as a new landmark. Standing 245 meters high, it is the tallest station building in Japan.
Various facilities are incorporated, including a department store, restaurants, and hotels. During the Christmas season, many people come to view the beautiful lights.
Around the station, there has been a great deal of redevelopment, such as Midland Square, the Nagoya Lucent Tower, and other department stores, hotels, and office buildings stand side-by-side, all connected by a huge underground shopping arcade.
Akamiso a reddish-brown fermented bean paste is a food ingredient peculiar to Nagoya and its surroundings. Although its appearance is not very appetizing, it is an ingredient with unique flavor and can be used in preparing a wide variety of dishes. The representative examples are miso-nikomi-udon (Nagoya style udon served hot in a pot with miso soup) and miso-katsu (fried pork cutlet with rich red miso sauce). People can savor different flavors from those of Tokyo or Osaka and enjoy combinations of ingredients or ways of cooking peculiar to Nagoya. The unique cuisine of Nagoya is closely watched.
Another hot favourite unique to Nagoya, is Hitsumabushi. To put it simply, its a dish consisting of eel, consumed in different ways, in 4 – 5 servings.
First thing about this district that impressed me, was its cleanliness. It was sparkling clean everywhere; With restaurants, entertainment of all kinds, shops selling many kinds of stuff, parks all around a HUGE, well maintained residential area. Also, an awesome Baseball stadium, home to the Chunichi Dragons . Very well connected to the rest of Nagoya, making it a VERY ideal place to live in, and definitely on the top 3 position of amazing places I would LOVE to live, in Japan.
JR, Metitetsu and subway lines have stations in this area. The area’s landmark is the all-weather domed stadium, Nagoya Dome. This home ground of the Chunichi Dragons was swarmed by enthusiastic fans of the local team during the baseball season. The modern shopping arcade, Oz Mall, houses about 40 shops featuring fashion, gourmet foods and other items. The annual Ozone Tanabata Star Festival is held at the end of July.
A temple town grown around Osu Kannon Temple, which has been fondly referred to as “Kannon-san” since the Edo Period. The shopping arcades have shops for electric appliances, second-hand clothes and sundries.
This old neighborhood boasts specialty foods, and the chaotic space is perfect for strolling around, where everyone including children, young people, adults and foreigners are attracted.
The temple holds fair on the 28th of each month with many street stalls. There is an antique fair as well twice each month, and many people flock to search for a lucky find.