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Japan’s Least Attractive City!? Tourist Spots and Local Foods of Nagoya!

Unfortunately, Nagoya City of Aichi Prefecture, despite being one of the representative cities in Japan, has recently been voted as “the least attractive city in Japan”. However, Nagoya is actually packed full of attractions. We are taking this opportunity to introduce to you to great things about Nagoya from two different perspectives; Tourism and Food. Title: photo by flickr


Major Tourist Spots

1. Nagoya Castle

photo by flickr

Nagoya Castle is the most famous symbol of Nagoya. Since June this year, one of the castle’s rooms called “shimo gozen sho” has become open to the public for viewing. It was used by generations of the local feudal lords when they hosted banquettes and met their families.

2. Atsuta Jingu Shrine

photo by flickr

Atsuta Jingu Shrine, the grand tutelary shrine of Nagoya, is another important tourist spot. Its sacred atmosphere will surely soothe your soul.

Related Articles:
How to Fully Enjoy Atsuta Jingu, One of the Three Major Shrines in Japan

3. Inuyama Castle

photo by flickr

Take a little extra trip from Nagoya toward Inuyama City, and you will find many tourist spots including Inuyama Castle, the national treasure, and Meiji Mura, the theme park featuring many old buildings from the Meiji Period (late 19th – early 20th century) and filled with a great atmosphere of old Japan.

Besides, Iwamura-machi, the area originally developed as the castle town around Inuyama Castle, and an outlying island called Sasajima in the southern part of the city are among many other great tourist spots. You will have no trouble finding a place to enjoy in the city of Nagoya.

One way to enjoy Nagoya is to start at the city center of Nagoya and then extend your trip to suburban areas with various attractive spots such as mountains, islands, and castles. Another reason you wouldn’t regret planning your itinerary based from Nagoya City is “Nagoya Meshi,” or literally Nagoya grub.


Nagoya Meshi, the Local Food of Nagoya

One of the greatest things you can enjoy nowhere else but in Nagoya is “Nagoya Meshi,” the unique local foods of Nagoya.

1. Miso Katsu

photo by flickr

What you can see in the photo above is “miso katsu”, a representative dish of Nagoya. It is pork cutlet seasoned with a sauce based on the Japanese seasoning ingredient miso. Miso is often associated with a salty flavor, but Nagoya style miso is usually made a little sweet with sugar. The sauce used for the miso katsu in this photo is nicely sweet and salty too.

“Yabaton” is a famous and popular restaurants serving miso katsu. Their miso katsu is seasoned with a miso sauce that is thinner in consistency, while the typical miso katsu Nagoya locals envision is shown in the picture; it is served with a thicker sauce unlike that from Yabaton.

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2. Ankake Spaghetti

photo by flickr

Another “Nagoya Meshi” we want to introduce to you here is “ankake spaghetti.” It is pasta stir-fried in oil and served with a starchy tomato base sauce. Unexpectedly from its appearance, the spice from the black pepper gives a nice strong accent to this dish.

“Spaghetti House Yokoi” is a famous restaurant known for serving ankake spaghetti. Their fame comes from the fact that they were the very first restaurant who invented and served this dish. From this restaurant, the dish spread rapidly all over Nagoya.

Related Articles:
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3. Deep Fried Chicken Wing

photo by flickr

Deep fried chicken wing (Tebasaki Kara-age) is another famous dish which originated in Nagoya. Nagoya has two major restaurant chains well known for their chicken wings. One of them is “Furaibo,” who serves very crisp-fried chicken wings with salty-sweet dipping sauce. The other is “Sekai No Yamachan.” Their chicken wings are characteristically seasoned spicy with black pepper.

4. Breaded-fried Prawn

photo by flickr

Breaded-fried prawn is yet another dish considered to be a specialty of Nagoya. But the dish was actually created in Tokyo. The reason for the strong association people have between the dish and Nagoya dates back to when a celebrity made a joke on TV about how people in Nagoya pronounce the name of the dish Ebi-Furai (Prawn Fry) with their strong accent as Ebi-Furya.

5. Hitsumabushi

photo by flickr

Another dish you cannot miss out in Nagoya is Hitsumabushi. It is eel seasoned with sweet soy sauce, grilled over open fire in a method known as “kabayaki” which is then cut in thin strips and served on rice, typically in a bowl-like dishware called “Hitsu.”

This hitsumabushi is first enjoyed as-is from a small portion served in your rice bowl. Then for the next step, you can add some seasoning to enjoy the variation of taste. Then lastly you pour some dashi or soup stock over the remaining portion in your rice bowl. The characteristic of hitsumabushi is that you can enjoy 3 different types of flavors in one dish.

“Atsuta Horaiken” which is close to Atsuta Jingu is a famous restaurant for serving  hitsumabushi. But most “unagi” or eel restaurants scattered around Nagoya serve the hitsumabushi so you can practically enjoy it anywhere. If you’re looking around Nagoya Station, we would recommend the hitsumabushi from “Maruya.”

Other than the above, in terms of ingredients, there is a brand of chicken called “Nagoya Kochin” chicken which is often used for yakitori. As for noodle dishes, there is one called “miso nikomi udon (miso braised udon noodle)”. There are actually a countless more “Nagoya Meshi” food and dishes out there around the city that we cannot introduce them all in this article.


It was unfortunate for this city of Nagoya to have been selected as “the least attractive city.” But the questionnaire was conducted as part of a half joking event. The fact is that Nagoya is filled with a lot of unique and attractive things to see, eat and do.

As introduced here, the recommendation is to base your trip around Nagoya, enjoy Nagoya meshi, and at the same time incorporate the areas surrounding Nagoya in your sightseeing trip. There are not many trips that are as attractive as Nagoya to plan your trips around.

Related Articles:
Touring Iwamura-cho, Gifu Prefecture: Town that Still Lives the Japanese Tradition

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About the author

I hope to convey various information from tourist destinations in Japan to pop culture. I look forward to showing you about the excitement of my favorite Japanese manga.

View all articles by Takuma