Tourist Attractions around Nagoya

Trip Start Apr 02, 2006
Trip End May 17, 2008

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Flag of Japan  , Chubu,
Friday, January 6, 1984

When I was a kid, "the world" meant small cities and towns in my vicinity. As I grew up, I moved from place to place and lived in different cities of Japan and foreign countries. However, even after I got out of the original world of my childhood, it has been and will be forever "home" to me. I'd like to show off some tourist attractions from my home in this post.  

1. Inuyama Castle: It was considered as the oldest castle of Japan (now in controversy), which has one of the four national treasure castle keeps. When I reached the castle at 5:30 P.M. the gate was already closed. 
*There are only 12 surviving castle keeps all over Japan: Hirosaki, Matsumoto, Maruoka, Inuyama, Hikone, Himeji, Matsue, Bichu-Matsuyama, Marugame, Matsuyama, Uwajima, and Kochi Castles.  Inuyama, Himeji, Hikone, and Matsumoto Castles are designated as national treasures and the rest are registered as important cultural properties.
*I revisited Inuyama Castle in December, 2010. I was finally able to enter the castle this time.

2. Japan Monkey Centre: It is located in Inuyama Yuen with an amusement park. The world's largest number of primate species gathered at one place. Pygmy Marmoset is the world smallest monkey and Japan Monkey Center keeps some in one of the cage which doesn't stand out. Actually, lemurs looked more popular. 

Pygmy Marmoset - The Smallest Monkey
They are about five inches tall, or 13 cm, excluding the length of their tail. Amazingly, they can jump more than 16 ft, or 5 m!

3. Niimi Nankichi's House & Memorial Museum: Nankichi is a late Japanese children's book writer. His house was just an old house with an audio explanation. Not so impressive. Niimi Nankichi museum is closely located to the house. If you visit it in late September, it may be an idea to also visit the cluster amaryllis bank of Yakachi River. His memorial museum has been built near the house and river, displaying his storybooks, manuscripts, letters, diary, etc.

4. Toyokawa Inari Fox Shrine: It is one of the most famous Inari fox shrines. There are quite a number of fox statues at the fox mound and they were more impressive than the shrine buildings. Another feature is Senbon-nobori, meaning "one thousand flags" along the approaches. The shrine is very accessible from JR Toyokawa Station or Meitetsu Toyokawainari Station.

5. Handa Canal & Doll Festival in Handa: Akira Kurosawa's debut work "Sugata Sanshiro" was partly shot in the canal. The Doll Festival is an annual event to pray for good health of girls. (It was originally for both boys and girls, but it has been just for girls since the Edo Period.) Late February to early March, Hina Dolls are displayed everywhere around Japan. In Handa, you can see them in the chamber of commerce. 

Akira Kurosawa - Sugata Sanshiro (1943)
Check out some photos from the film.
6. Handa Canal & Mitsukan Museum of Vinegar "Su-no-Sato"
The carp stream display along the Handa Canal is an annual event held in April to early May. The carp streams have been donated to the municipal tourism association by a number of locals including my mam to the municipal tourism association. Mitsukan is a nationally leading vinegar company established in 1804 and its head office building and museum are located along the canal. The museum is admission free and booking is officially essential for an entry, but I was able to enter the museum and to join a guided tour on the spot without booking. You can see a small part of the vinegar factory and learn about the making process and benefits of vinegar from a guide and exhibits.
7. Mt. Ninbo: The mountain is located in back of Handa City Library. It's more of a hill than a mountain with a small park and an observatory at the top, where you can get a good view of the city and the sea beyond it. If you spend time in the library in the morning, it is an idea to go to the observatory and to eat lunch overlooking the city. 

8. Centrair (Central Japan International Airport): It was newly openend in Feb, 2005. It houses a lot of restaurants, shops, and gallaries. The Toyota robot plays the trumpet and you can sit in a futuristic car, i-unit. They have a quilt exhibitions with different themes every year, such as the Tale of Genji in 2008, World Festivals in 2009, and World Castles in 2010 (No picture).

9. Toyohashi Fire Festival (Hono-no-Saiten): The festival is mainly composed of firework displays including the locally traditional hand-held fireworks which has more than 450-year history. It is unusual to pay for a firework display, but the festival is held in a ballpark and people have to buy an admission ticket. The Japanese drum band Shitara enhanced the festive mood. Frankly speaking, their performance was more entertaining than the fireworks.

Shitara in Fire Festival 2010
I have listened to Japanese drums many times, but their performance was the best of all.
10. Tsushima Tenno Festival: It is famous for the lantern boats. Each boat has 365 plus 12 lanterns which means 365 days and 12 months a year. Unfortunately, I couldn't see them, because I left the venue in the middle of the exhibitions.

11. Tokoname: Central Japan International Airport is situated in the city. The city is famous for its pottery and motorboat race. Old districts of the city still have some pottery kilns with ruined chimneys. A large beckoning cat head welcomes you from the top of a hill near Tokoname Station.

Walking in Date de Chita Tokoname City (YouTube video in Japanese with English subtitles) 
12. INAX Museums: INAX is a ceramics company located in Tokoname and it has a unique museum complex with collections of tiles and ceramic products of the world. Tiles on display were all artistic and impressive, but I got more interested in a collection of toilet bowls. Especially, the bowls with Japanese paintings were so beautiful, and I would never have a chance to use a bowl like them for the rest of my life. 
13. Red Brick Beer Factory Ruin: It is the ruin of the five-story beer factory built in Handa in 1898. Kabuto beer, which was brewed there, is still produced in Chita Beer in Minamichita, although the number of the product is very limited. It is registered as a national cultural property, because there are only a few brick buildings remaining in Japan. It is opened about three times a year, or only ten days in total, but illuminated every night.

14. Nakatajima Sand Dunes: It is located in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. I mistakenly thought it was the first time to see sand dunes, but come to think of it, it was not the first, because I had visited Kujukuri Beach before that. Nakatajima was said to be one of the top three sand dunes in Japan. I am not sure how many sand dunes exist in Japan and actually, five sand dunes claimed one of the top three. (You may think what "top three" specifically mean. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of "top three things" in Japan and they are usually not well-defined...) 

15. Souri Pond Plum Blossoms: I have been to the pond on a field trip, when I was an elementary school kid. The pond has a plum blossom festival from late February to early March every year. I visited the pond only 4 days after the festival finished in 2010, but most of the blossoms were gone.

16. Former Nakano's House: It is a nationally important cultural property, located in Handa. The house is used as a cafe specializing in black tea. The point is that it was built around the end of the Meiji era, having an uncommon architectural style for the era. It may look like a beautiful house in its picture below, but it appears to be a really old house, seen in person.

17. Hazu Promontory: The cape is located at the tip of Chita Peninsula, Morozaki. This was the second time to visit Morozaki and the first time was more than two decades ago. My father and I took a ferry boat to Toba, Mie. Actually, the cape is an unknown tourist attraction, but the Japanese idol group SKE 48 sings the song titled "Hazu Promontory", so that some fans of them seem to visit the cape even from a distance. (I would like to make it clear that I am not a fan of them. If you are interested in the music video, search by "羽豆岬 SKE48" on YouTube.) The promontory is a part of Mikawa Bay Quasi-national Park. To be honest, a view from the observatory is just O.K., but the cape is not worth visiting from a distance.
18. Taketoyo Town Museum of History And Folklore: I have visited the museum for the first time in many years. I got interested in the exhibition of model ships held in the autumn of 2010 and one of them was a Tang Envoy Ship model. I saw its life-size rebuilt ship in Nara, but I wanted to get a birds-eye view. Another interesting model was the one of Atakemaru, which was a military ship both built and destroyed by the Edo Shogunate. All the ships there were meticulously built for detail.    

Walking in Date de Chita Taketoyo-cho (video in Japanese with English subtitles) 
It mainly features a brief history of the town and its specialities.
19. Handa City Museum: The local museum houses the different festival floats from Handa. When I visited the museum, the float was of Kamezaki festival, which is designated as a national important intangible cultural heritage. I got a permission to take pictures of the museum collections, but the staff looked surprised to hear that I used the pictures for my blog.

Walking in Date de Chita Handa City (video in Japanese with English subtitles) 
This video is short, but well-organized.

 Handa, City of Storehouse 
This one introduces all the tourist attractions of the city.
20. Shurakuen Park: It is also called Shiawase-mura. The park is located in Tokai City, holding an autumn leaf festival every year. It is not so famous but the closest autumn leaf viewing spot to my house. Because it's not famous, the number of autumn leaf viewers of the park is much fewer than that of other viewing spots. You can see its 18.79-meter-high Giant Buddha at the top of a hill and even from Shurakuen Station. My mom and I had ceremonial tea with Japanese sweets in the tea house Oumei-an, which had a small, but beautiful garden.

The Tearoom Vidoe
Tea ceremony has traditionally been a sophistication among Japanese, but you can have tea even without the proper manner at most tearooms in the present.

21. Oike Park: Oike Park is another park of Tokai. The park has a large pond in the centre and two-kilometer-long jogging track around it. It holds an iris festival early in June. When I visited the park, there are not many blooming irises, but I enjoyed walking on the track. 

Walking in Date de Chita Tokai City (video in Japanese with English subtitles) 
22. Korankei Autumn Leaves (Illuminated): Korankei is a gorge of Toyoda, famed for its autumn leaves. Every late November, there is a super-heavy traffic jam around the gorge from morning till night. I have been there twice, but I still hesitate to recommend this gorge to someone. Generally speaking, the Japanese love autumn leaves, and people around Nagoya are crazy about colourful leaves of the gorge. When I went to Korankei for the second time, I got off my bus caught in a traffic congestion and walked 2.2 km up to the gorge. Illuminated leaves in the darkness were surely beautiful, but I didn't know whether autumn leaves themselves were beautiful. Incidentally, I was annoyed by a traffic congestion as well as a disruption to bus services on my way back.   

23. Self Defence Force Gifu Base Air Festival: For people of Kakamigahara, the base is just noisy except for the day of the festival. On the festival day, hundreds of thousands of people visit Kakamigahara. It was supposed to take five minutes to get to the base from the nearest station, but it took 15 minutes on the day. I heard my dad had taken me to the festival more than 30 years ago, but honestly, I didn't remember anything about it. I saw a lot of infants with their parents in the venue and I wondered whether I had enjoyed the show 30 years ago.

24. Hamanako Flower Exhibition: My mom and I attended a flower exhibition on Lake Hamana of Shizuoka in the spring of 2004.  

25. Owari Manzai: Owari Manzai is said to be the original form of present Japanese Manzai, or the comical talk show which has become popular in Kansai and other parts of Japan.

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starlagurl on

Cool, have you been to all of these places before already?

Louise Brown
TravelPod Community Manager

misocutlet on

Yes. These are all in my neighbourhood. It is fun to find out minor attractions near my hometown.

misocutlet on

Thank you for the compliment. I continuously make an effort to post quality pictures.

Mary Grace on

Hi there..I like to emulate your passion I do love to travel. You are so brave and with so much determination to do what you want in life. I salute you. Keep it up!


misocutlet on

I try my best to live life to the fullest and hope to share my great experiences with my blog readers. Thank you for encouraging me.

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