The city of Nagoya, located in Aichi prefecture, is one of Japan’s biggest metropolitan areas following Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama. The city if filled with historical sites like the Nagoya Castle, local delicacies such as Misokatsu pork cutlets, and of course, shopping. Spend a day in Nagoya’s downtown area, Sakae, for a day of shopping and fun, with a lunch or dinner of a local cuisine.
Sakae locates in the center of Nagoya, and is just the perfect size to explore on foot. Two subway lines, the Meijo Line and the Tsurumai Line, run through Sakae Station, making it accessible wherever you are in the city. Even within the bustling streets, Sakae still preserves some of the remnants of Edo-era Japan. Sakae is a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary culture.
Sakae During the Day
Nagoya Parco – 名古屋パルコ
Nagoya Parco is your destination for a day of shopping in the city. Since its opening in 1989, Nagoya Parco has boasted some of the highest sales amongst all Parco department stores nation wide. With a Southern Building opening in 1998 and the Parco Midi annex opening in 2015, Nagoya Parco is constantly flourishing.
Aside from famous fashion brands, Nagoya Parco also has special shops selling handmade accessories and goods. After a hard day of shopping, you can grab dinner at Yabaton, a miso-katsu restaurant. Miso-katsu is one of Nagoya’s specialty dishes, and are pork cutlets drizzled with thick miso sauce.
Hisaya-odori Park – 久弥大通公園
Hisaya-odori Park locates on Hisaya-odori, a wide, lengthy street running through Nagoya. The 2-kilometer long park is equipped park benches and a spacious lawn area, so you can rest here after your shopping spree.
Within the park, you can find the Hisaya-odori Garden Flarie, a cute little garden with a café and a beer garden inside. Garden entrance is free of charge.
Atsuta Houraiken – あつた蓬莱軒
At Atsuta Houraiken, you can taste Hitsumabushi, a grilled eel on rice dish. Hitsumabushi is one of Nagoya’s representative dishes, and the Hitsumabushi sauce used at Atsuta Houraiken has been a secret recipe since its opening in 1873.
Compared to a regular unagi (eel) on rice dish, the eel for Hitsumabushi is cut into smaller pieces, making it easier to eat and more versatile. You can even pour soup over the dish to create an eel ochazuke, a rice-soup dish.
Other foods at Atsuta Houraiken are worth trying as well, such as the Umaki (eel wrapped in fried egg) and eel liver.
Sakai During the Night
Oasis 21 – オアシス21
Oasis 21 was completed in 2002 as a facility to encourage Nagoya in becoming a more environmentally sustainable metropolis while maintaining its bustle. The building is designed to combat the heat-island phenomenon and to create more green spaces.
In the underground floors, you can find a shopping area and a bus terminal. The Oasis 21 facility itself is resemblance of a spaceship, and nicknamed the “Spaceship Aqua”. Oasis 21 is one of Nagoya’s newest landmarks, so make sure you don’t miss it.
The view of Oasis 21
Sunshine Sakae – サンシャイン栄
If you find the Ferris wheel in the middle of the city, then you’ve found Sunshine Sakae! Along with Oasis 21, Sunshine Sakae is one of Nagoya’s iconic buildings.
You can ride the Ferris wheel, named the Sky-boat, from the third floor for ¥500. The entire ride lights up at night, and the view from it and of it is a Nagoya delight.
Yamamotoya Sohonke – 山本屋総本家
Have a Nagoya-style dinner of nikomi-udon at Yamamotoya. Established in 1906, Yamamotoya specializes in nikomi-udon, a noodle dish of udon noodles simmered in a thick miso broth. The restaurant is popular amongst locals and visitors, and there is usually a wait to get inside, so make sure save some time for Yamamotoya.
In the Sakae area, there are many cafes open until 10 or 11p.m. You can have a light meal or just stop by for dessert. For a less formal, more relaxing environment, you can go to a café instead of feasting at a restaurant.
At Late-night Café
Nagoya TV Tower – 名古屋テレビ塔
The Nagoya TV Tower used to serve as a TV tower, and currently serves as a symbol for the city of Nagoya. You can find the tower in Hisaya-odori Park. Climb up the tower for a beautiful view of the entire city. Inside are many attractions like event venues, wedding halls and even a monument signifying the tower as a "sacred place for lovers".
Nagoya City Science Museum – 名古屋市科学館
The Nagoya City Science Museum is home to the largest planetarium in the world, measuring 35 meters in diameter. Children and adults can have a fun learning experience at the museum, since they provide many hands-on activities and experiences. The building has a unique build too, and is worth just stopping by to see the exterior.
Osu Kannon Temple – 大須観音
The Osu area is known for its many bustling businesses, and Osu Kannon Temple is known to provide luck in business prosperity and household safety. The antique market it hosts twice a month is loved by both locals and tourists.