NAGOYA (ATT.JAPAN ISSUE 12)
Visit a historic castle, and experience Japanese culture and shopping with a little Western yet individual twist, at Kansai’s neighbor, Nagoya.
Historical City, Nagoya
Located roughly in the heart of Japan, Nagoya is a major urbanity of the country as well as the capital of Aichi Prefecture. Aichi Prefecture is one who’s manufacturing industry rages. To this day it cradles and supports Japan’s image as a country that makes things. In the outskirts of Nagoya City is Toyota, famous all over the world as a maker of motor vehicles. This is where TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. is located; the vicinity is studded with a number of similar businesses.
From the later half of the Muromachi Era (16th century), historical figures as Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and Ieyasu Tokugawa (shogunate) have left their names for posterity. Nagoya is also the birthplace of many great captains and generals throughout history. Imperative to the story of Nagoya is, of course, the Nagoya Castle. Built in the Edo Era in the year 1612 by the Owari Tokugawa family, this castle served as their living quarters in a time when they prospered. The brilliant gold killer whale on the roof of the castle tower is a symbol of Nagoya.
Nagoya Station, a main traffic junction
JR Central Tower, opened in December 1999, stands dominant atop Nagoya Station, the gateway into Nagoya. The fan-shaped tower to the right of this is the office block. The circular tower is the hotel block, and cropping out in the center area, the highest rises stand triumphantly tall.
Other than JR lines, there is also the Meitetsu Line running between Nagoya and destinations like Gifu, Inuyama, and Toyohashi, as well as the Kintetsu Line that reaches Ise, Shima, and Osaka Namba. Also, a tangle of subway lines runs between key traffic junctions throughout the city.
The underground market, a gigantic labyrinth of passages, is the source of Nagoya’s Sakae bustle, where fashion stores and gourmet restaurants are centered. Although Sakae is Nagoya’s largest shopping and entertainment district, the reason there are so few people on the streets is largely due to all this activity going on underground. The TV Tower, located in the center of Hisaya Odori Koen Park (named after the 100 meter road that runs through it) is a Nagoya landmark. In the area can be found arts and cultural establishments. This is a town that is no stranger to shopping.
Nagoya’s Old Town, Osu
Osu, located in the south of Sakae, is an old-town shopping street with a long history. Starting some twenty years past, when used clothes stores and appliance shops had their glory days, the place is teeming with youth.
In the precincts of Osu Kannon Temple on the 18th and 28th of every month an antique fair is held, where perhaps you will stumble upon a great find. Explore the streets of Osu, they are overrun with old town emotion.
Nagoya’s Food Culture
Nagoya’s food culture is one-of-a-kind, especially miso-nikomi udon (a simmered dish) and miso-katsu made with red miso. Other noteworthy foods include tebasaki with a bit of a spicy flavor, kishimen, flattened yet thick noodles, and hitsumabushi, eel (or unagi) eaten in several ways. Exploring and trying the many flavors of Nagoya may turn you into a Nagoya connoisseur.