Nagoya is Japan’s 4th populous city after Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama, and nowadays it is known as a hub of industry and technology. The birthplace of Toyota and home to Japan’s largest seaport.
It is a region rich in history and blessed with beautiful nature, and has a strong focus on traditional Japanese arts, crafts, and other forms of culture including food.
In short, Nagoya is an incredibly well-rounded destination where you can experience all sides of Japan in one place. But for some unknown reason, it is not a popular tourist destination. More a secret off-beat place with as much (or even more) to offer as cities like Osaka minus the crowds.
For this reason, we would like to invite you to learn more about Nagoya and to come and visit and experience it in person once travel to Japan becomes possible again.
In the meantime, we are working hard on showing the world that Nagoya is not boring!
If we want to describe Nagoya to someone who has never heard of it we need to talk about 7 different building blocks that make up the city of Nagoya at its core.
Throughout history, Nagoya and its surroundings with its unique location in the center of the country have played an important role.
During the Warring States Period (1467 - 1615) it was the seat of warlord Oda Nobunaga from which he fought to unify the country. His two successors Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu also came from the region. This was before Nagoya, as a city was even founded.
Tokugawa Ieyasu became the first leader of Japan to unify the whole country under his rule and in 1610 after setting up his capital in Edo, now Tokyo, he founded Nagoya as a strategic defense line against his enemies in Osaka.
And every master plan needs to have a strategic point, so Nagoya was built to be the center of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s strategies and plays an important role for the following centuries of peace and prosperity in the country.
Nagoya Castle was constructed as one of the most impressive, beautiful, and strong castles the country had ever seen. As the seat of the powerful Tokugawa Owari clan, Samurai lords ruling over the center of Japan, it was built to intimidate enemies and impress allies.
In fact, it was the first to be recognized as a National Treasure in 1930 before unfortunately being utterly destroyed in 1945 by air raids.
Over the years Nagoya Castle has been reconstructed, and the only recently finished Honmaru Palace, a one-story wooden structure with mesmerizing golden wall paintings and intricate wood carvings is a must-visit.
Because Nagoya was so important historically it is home to many beautiful Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples and the surrounding area is rich in ancient castles. In fact, the second most important Shinto shrine Atsuta Jingu is situated right in Nagoya.
In Nagoya, 4 temples were designated as the 4 Kannon of Owari, they were believed to protect the new city of Nagoya, Nagoya Castle, and the ruling Samurai lords. The 4 temples are Jimokuji Kannon, Ryusenji Kannon, Arako Kannon, and Kasadera Kannon.
All of these temples and shrines reflect the beauty of Japan with their thoughtful but simplistic designs and elements inspired by nature.
Natural beauty can also be found in the many parks and gardens around Nagoya, first of all the Tokugawa and Shirotori Gardens as well as mountains and shores in the surrounding area.
Nagoya takes great pride in its many traditional festivals and its own typical crafts that relate to the deep history of the place.
As mentioned before religion played an important role in Nagoya’s past, and it still does today. We can see this in the great number of festivals and rituals with their origin in Shintoism and Buddhism held throughout the year.
The Nagoya Festival for example is the most important festival highlight in Nagoya during autumn with parades all throughout the city.
The area also has a strong connection with traditional Japanese fireworks, as it was the only place allowed to produce fireworks. This resulted in a fascinating tradition of Tetsuzu Hanabi, hand-held fireworks, and many festivals surrounding this tradition.
Crafts such as tie-dying, Japanese kite production, Washi paper making, as well as the production of pottery all have a long tradition in Nagoya and surrounding cities. It is an amazing place to try your own hands at these crafts learning from passionate instructors and masters at their crafts.
Thanks to the powerful Owari clan the arts such as Sado (tea ceremony), Kado (flower arrangement), and Noh theater experienced a rise in popularity during the long peace of the Edo Period (1611-1868) and even today you can experience these traditions in Nagoya.
The Osu district is the home to sub-culture in Nagoya. If you are into electronics, games, Anime, Manga, or cosplay you will find a shop catering to your interests.
Osu is also one of multiple locations of the yearly World Cosplay Summit, one of the biggest Cosplay events around the world. It draws passionate cosplayers from countries around the world to Nagoya who fight for the crown in different categories to be recognized as the best cosplayers in the world.
Locations such as the Meiji Mura, and open-air theme park displaying a collection of houses from the Meiji Period (1868-1912), and Laguna ten Bosch, a theme park with rides, a flower park, water park, and other facilities, are great for cosplayers to take pictures.
If you are a fan of Dragon Ball, you should also know that the creator Akira Toriyama was born in Nagoya! And still has his Bird Studio here in Nagoya.
Every Anime fan should check out the new Netflix movie A Whisker Away, a love story playing in Tokoname city, famous for a long tradition of pottery not far from Nagoya.
Nagoya is actually a treasure trove of local food and Sake, it is a place that offers a variety of fragrances, aromas, and flavors.
The local food is known as Nagoya Meshi, and it is famous for having strong flavors (something very unusual for the rest of Japan).
The top ingredient in many local dishes is red Miso, a dark reddish-brown paste made from fermented soybeans. Try Miso Nikomi Udon (Udon noodles stewed in a Miso broth), Miso Katsu (a deep-fried pork cutlet with Miso sauce) or Miso Oden (a variety of ingredients such as egg, radish and meat stewed in Miso for a long time).
The regional Sake is produced by award-winning Sake breweries with long histories and especially the Chita Peninsula, the region south of Nagoya, is home to many of them. During the Edo Period (1611-1868), the Chita Peninsula became the second production area of Sake in Japan. This is because of the easy procurement of raw materials, the development of the shipping industry, and the support of the Owari clan. Having a lot of Sake breweries will lead to other brewing industries such as Miso, and soy sauce production.
The advanced technology born from the craftsmen of ancient days pathed the way to the area's of automobile, clockmaking, train car, and aviation industries. This history of continuously developing new types of businesses and industries makes Nagoya a manufacturing mecca.
Nagoya became the industrial powerhouse of Japan as the seat of Japan's first car manufacturer Toyota and other industries such as the production of steel.
You can learn about the local industry and technology at one of multiple museums. Our top recommendation is the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology.
High-speed trains, local trains, magnetic trains, subway, shuttle buses, city buses, water buses, even rickshaws!
Just name your favorite form of transport, Nagoya has it all!
Nagoya is not only specialized in efficiently moving people around the city (and the country) but also products that come into the country via Japan’s largest seaport and the biggest airport of the Central Japan region.
The use of planes, trains, and gigantic container ships makes it easy to transport wares to places all over the country and of course also export Japanese goods to countries all over the world.
If you have read this far, by now you probably agree with us that Nagoya is not boring. Spreading the word has been our mission since we founded the experience booking platform of the same name.
'But why this name?' You might be wondering.
It is actually because Nagoya is often described as the most boring city in Japan, and even the locals living here often say there is nothing interesting to do in Nagoya.
We strongly disagree! As outsiders who came to live in Nagoya from other countries, we really appreciate all that Nagoya is and has to offer. We have spent several years uncovering the wonders of Nagoya and now we work on making more of it easily accessible to foreigners.
Let us introduce ourselves and Nagoya is not boring very quickly:
We (Elly and Lena), the founders of Nagoya is not boring, had been working separately at promoting Nagoya and Aichi on our websites as reporters, bloggers, tour guides, and inbound tourism consultants.
When we met for the first time in November 2019, we realized right away that our passions were aligned and that we could be so much stronger if we worked together. We came up with the idea of Nagoya is not boring fairly quickly and got started, highly motivated to build a website, recruit hosts, and launch by April 2020.
And then COVID-19 hit the world and Japan. And during the worst time to start a tourism business, we went ahead and launched Nagoya is not boring as planned in April 2020. We had to adjust our expectations and decided to see this crisis as an opportunity. To set up and be ready to welcome travelers to Nagoya as soon as the country reopens and is ready to welcome tourists again.
In the past months, we have been working tirelessly at spreading the word on social media, writing articles, connecting with motivated hosts to create exceptional experiences. And all of this without making any money.
We see the Japan Tomorrow project as an opportunity to promote Nagoya, to get you, the future guest, interested in what the region has to offer and to work hard to offer you more amazing experiences in English once you visit.
The money we raise will be used to keep spreading the word about Nagoya, to help potential experience hosts create amazing and unforgettable experiences in English, and to create resources that make travel in Nagoya and Aichi easier and more fun.
No matter how big or small your pledge you will have our gratitude, as well as some amazing rewards coming your way!
Here are some of the tours and experiences you can join: