(UPDATED – August 10, 2019)
Although not as big as Osaka or Tokyo, Nagoya is a destination worth 2-3 days of your trip in Japan. The city is home to a number of iconic attractions such as Nagoya Castle, Osu Kannon, Railway Park, Toyota Museum and Legoland.
We list down five ways to get more bang from your buck in your next trip to Japan’s third largest city.
- Bus and subway day passes
One of the best ways to go around many of Nagoya’s best attractions without the hassle of planning your itinerary is the Nagoya Sightseeing Tour Me-guru Pass (Y500). The first trip begins at 9:30 a.m. from Nagoya Station and takes travelers to Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, Nagoya Castle, Tokugawa Art Museum, and Sakae, among others (Click here for the timetable). Show your pass when you enter to these museums; they will extend 10-20% discount for entrance fees.
Here are the other bargain tickets in Nagoya:
Nagoya 24-hour subway ticket: Y740
This ticket allows you unlimited use of the subway in a span of 24 hours. If you use this in the afternoon at 2pm, it expires the next day just before that time. This is best used if you only have a day in Nagoya to spare. Use this to go to other attractions such as Osu Kannon Temple and its shopping district, Atsuta Shrine, Legoland, and Railway Museum.
Donichi Eco Kippu: Y600
If you are staying over the weekend in Nagoya, try their weekend pass, called Donichi Eco Kippu. The good thing with this ticket is that it allows you unlimited rides across trains and buses, including the Me-guru bus line. This is only applicable on Saturdays, Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, and on the 8th day of each month.
Unlimited Bus Ride Ticket: Y600
This ticket is more expensive by Y100 compared to Me-guru, but you get to ride unlimited times outside the usual tourist bus line for one day and explore other places in Nagoya.
Bus & Subway Ticket: Y850
If you need unlimited rides in trains and buses for a day, this might be worth your buck.
You can also buy a Manaca card — Nagoya’s own prepaid card — for convenient traveling and store purchases. It will save you so much money — a one-way trip in the subway costs Y270 to Y300.
2. Rent a portable WiFi
When we were having a hard time being understood by locals or locating our destination, we turned to Google Translate or Google Maps (which provide an option of itineraries to take). Make sure you rent a wifi modem at the airport, or ask your hotel/accommodation provider if you can borrow/rent from them.
Coming from Manila? You can have your wifi delivered. Find out here how to rent a wifi modem for just P350-390 daily.
Prefer to pickup upon arrival in Nagoya, Japan? Click here for information.
3. Diversify your shopping itinerary
The shopping area that covers Osu and nearby streets comes to life at 10 in the morning, offering a range of items from clothing to shoes to food. We recommend to spread around your shopping dollars and to try vising places such as one of the Aeon Malls, Uniqlo, and ABC (shoes).
Understand Nagoya’s tax-free policy – Stores have various ways to give discounts to non-Japanese shoppers. Some take off the 8% consumption tax but require a minimum purchase amount (at Aeon, it’s around Y5,000). At stores like ABC, they provide an outright 5% discount but never the tax reimbursement. Before you buy an item below the minimum accumulated purchase, double check with the salesperson if the price tag reflects that with tax or none (Oftentimes, the price tag will still be added with tax).
4. Use train lockers for your baggage
If you are flying in the evening and need to check out during the day, you can store your baggage in train lockers instead of paying for late check-out at your accommodation. Major bus and train stations like Kanayama and Nagoya Station have these lockers, with price ranging from Y400 to Y600.
5. Hit the grocery
Breakfast may perhaps be the most important part of the day for locals. Nagoya is filled with various options for breakfast. Throughout your stay, make sure you try local creations such as Kishimen and Neapolitan Spaghetti (pasta on top of half-done egg!).
But if you’re like us who don’t care much about whether we try the rarest or most prestigious restaurant in our destination, we suggest you hit the grocery store and explore the Nagoya locals’ everyday food. Grocery is a feast to the eye with the different wet goods you don’t see every day.
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