The center of the region that was the birthplace of Japan's greatest samurai warriors has so much to offer. It's also where you can see half-naked men fighting for fortune and the best view of the universe this side of the stratosphere.
Being in the heart of Japan it is easy to get to Nagoya from almost anywhere in the country.
From Tokyo the Shinkansen bullet train takes just one hour and 45 minutes, and from Kyoto it's a mere 40 minutes.
Nagoya is Japan's third largest city
The city is famed for having close connections to history's three most famous samurai
Home of Toyota Motors
Not content with being the world's biggest, Nagoya Station is also one of its busiest transport centers with more than 193,000 people passing through each day. And with extensive shopping opportunities and great restaurants, you need not even leave the station to sample many of the delights of the city.
With that said, you certainly should leave.
Nagoya is near the physical center of Japan. The centrality, both physically and strategically, of the area around Nagoya has continued through the centuries, and includes the great warlords Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu, the three most famous samurai in Japanese history. These three warlords re-unified Japan after a century of civil war.
Hideyoshi was born in what is now Nagoya, as was Nobunaga, who made Nagoya Castle his home for many years. Ieyasu's importance to Nagoya may exceed even that of the others. Ieyasu was born in Okazaki Castle in Aichi prefecture (Nagoya's prefecture), and the legacy of the most important sub-branch of the Tokugawa Clan lives on in the Tokugawa Art Museum, which continues to be managed by the family foundation, and has its home in Nagoya.
Though the castle at Kiyosu is the oldest in the area, it is the towering Nagoya Castle that is the symbol of the city. Walking its grounds while chatting with ‘samurai warriors' dressed in full armor will give you an unmistakable taste for the historical importance of the city.
And it should only be your first taste. Nagoya is famed for its full-flavored, piquant cuisine, and throughout the station area you can find fantastic restaurants dishing up peppery teacake chicken wings, succulent red miso pork cutlets, and spicy ‘Taiwan' ramen.
No matter what time of year you are in central Nagoya, you are bound to come across a major spectacle, event or festival. Whether it is the combatting sumo wrestlers of the Nagoya Basho, the competitive dancers of Domatsuri, the elaborately dressed anime aficionados of the World Cosplay Summit, or the half-naked men braving the February chill of Konomiya's Naked Festival, you will find something that you cannot find anywhere else in Japan.
With Aichi so important to Japan's past and present, there are plenty of museum exhibitions in the city center underlining this. Within 15 minutes of the station you can see the galaxy and beyond in the world's largest planetarium at the City Science Museum, learn about the history of Aichi's most famous company at the Toyota Tecno Museum, or discover samurai culture at the Tokugawa Art Museum.
Despite it being a thriving city center, in late March everyone stops what they are doing to enjoy the glorious cherry blossoms. To join the lively party, head over to Tsuruma Park. But if a more mature and refined approach is your style, then the Nagoya Castle grounds or nearby Meijo Park will probably be more to your liking.
Whether you head to the station for its upmarket department stores, Sakae for its high street shopping, or Osu for its 400 year old commercial arcade, there are plenty of opportunities for all your shopping needs.