Nagoya is Japan’s 4th populous city and a great place to check out as a backpacker, or as anyone.
Interesting sights, cheap accommodation, local food, and a lively foreigner community are just some of the highlights of the city.
Things To Do In Nagoya
Find places to stay in Nagoya here.
Exploring Nagoya on the Cheap
You want to explore Nagoya but aren’t willing to pay an arm and a leg for it?
No problem, here are some ideas on how to spend your time in Nagoya on the cheap.
These are things to do in Nagoya that you should get up to.
Make sure to check out Atsuta Shrine, it is the second most important Shinto shrine in Japan, right after Ise Shrine.
The grounds are located in the south of the city and have been there for almost 2000 years.
The main object of worship is the sword Kusanagi given by the sun goddess Amaterasu to the emperor. This sword represents the right of the emperor and his descendants to rule over the Japanese people.
Unfortunately, it is not open to the public.
Still, the shrine buildings and surrounding woods are lovely for a stroll and some soul seeking, if this is your thing.
Osu Shopping Streets
The Osu Shopping Streets are the place to check out if you like street food, second-hand clothing, and electronics.
The roofed-over network of arcades is a colourful mix of new and old, and even if you don’t plan to spend much money strolling the streets for a couple of hours is a lot of fun.
Don’t forget to visit Osu Kannon, one of the most popular Buddhist temples in the city, and maybe look away from the main path to discover little shrines and thereby a different side of Osu.
Sakae at Night
If you are a night owl and are looking for a bar or club you need to head to the Sakae/Fushimi areas. Here is where you can dance the night away at one of the popular local clubs.
International bars here are frequented by Japanese and foreign visitors alike and it isn’t unusual to make some new friends here.
Small World is an international community in Nagoya organizing regular events such as quiz night and international parties. Check out their Facebook page for the next party!
Eating in Nagoya on a Budget
If you want to save some money on food your best options are convenience store meals or a local ramen joint.
But there are also some reasonably priced local dishes to be found in Nagoya.
Taiwan Ramen at Misen:
Trying to explain Misen to an outsider is always hard. It is the most popular Taiwanese restaurant in Nagoya, but it is definitely a local Nagoya speciality.
Especially the Taiwan Ramen they created quite some time ago. Taiwan Ramen was so popular that a variation can nowadays be found at most Chinese style restaurants and Ramen joints in the city.
But for your first try, you should really head to one of the multiple Misen shops.
Kishimen at Miya Kishimen:
Another local dish is called Kishimen. A variation of Udon noodles that is flatter and broader which gives the noodles a very different consistency.
Kishimen are served either hot or chilled with different broths and toppings.
The best restaurant to try Kishimen in Nagoya is Miya Kishimen. They have multiple shops, but the most authentic one can be found on the grounds of the Atsuta Shrine.
The Best Hostels and Capsule Hotels in Nagoya
Staying in Nagoya as a backpacker is no problem at all. There are a variety of hostels to choose from.
The best area to stay in Nagoya is close to Nagoya Station and around here you can find multiple reasonably priced and highly rated hostels.
Leo Star Hostel and Glocal Nagoya Backpackers Hotel are both not far from the main station of Nagoya and come highly recommended.
For a uniquely Japanese experience, you could skip the hostel and spend the night at a capsule hotel for a change.
First Cabin TKP Nagoya Station is the capsule hotel close to Nagoya Station most popular with foreign visitors.
You can also check out Nine Hours Nagoya Station which just opened in 2019. Both capsule hotels have separate floors for male and female guests.
At these hotels, you probably won’t find a community of foreigners, but rather a crowd of tired-looking Japanese businessmen.
Still, it is an experience you should have one while in Japan, so why not in Nagoya?
You can find places to stay in Nagoya here.
The Cheapest Ways to Get to Nagoya
Transportation in Japan is famously expensive. And your best option is usually to take the bullet train.
But if you don’t want to invest a lot of money in a Japan Rail Pass or pay the exorbitant prices for tickets on the world’s most punctual train there are another way cheaper options to get you to Nagoya.
Highway buses in Japan are usually very cheap, clean and comfortable and therefore a viable option if you have the time to spend multiple hours on a bus.
Many lines between the big cities are operated as night buses, so you can try to get some sleep while getting from A to B. It has the added bonus effect that you save money for a hostel bed for the night.
In Nagoya itself, the best way to get around the city is by subway. If you are planning on exploring different parts of the city in one day it might be a good idea to get a day ticket.
There are special tourist day tickets costing only 620 yen. The SHORYUDO Nagoya Subway & Bus 1-Day Ticket can be used on all subway lines as well as city buses for one day.
You can buy it at one of these locations.
Nagoya really is a stop you shouldn’t miss while traveling Japan.
And once you are done with the city itself the surrounding areas really have a lot to offer as well.
Towns like Inuyama, Nishio, Takayama, and Gero Onsen are worth checking out!
This is a guest post by Lena Yamaguchi
Lena is in love with Japanese food and she wants to share this love with all travelers coming to Japan. Her home Nagoya has a lot to offer in terms of travel and unique food culture which she shares with the world on her website Nagoya Foodie. Find Nagoya Foodie on Facebook and Twitter.
Nagoya is included in my post about the best day trips from Osaka which is good to read for more travel ideas in the area.
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