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 the recently opened 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 train day passes
The best way 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.
On your second day, buy a subway pass (Y790) or better yet, a Weekend Eco Pass (Y600) if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday for unlimited rides. Use this to go to other attractions such as Osu Kannon Temple and its shopping district, Atsuta Shrine, Legoland, and Railway Museum. It will save you so much money — a one-way trip in the subway costs Y270 to Y300.
You can also buy a Manaca card — Nagoya’s own prepaid card — for convenient traveling and store purchases.
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.
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.