Mon, September 10th, 2012 - By

Spotlight on Nagoya, Japan

Nagoya is Japan’s fourth largest city and the most populated in the Chūbu region on the Pacific coast. Nagoya is a major port and a business and industry hub, being the automotive equivalent of America’s Detroit. It’s also home to the charming “Cultural Path”, a lot of architectural heritage, museums, shrines and art galleries in typically Japanese style. As well as being traditional, Nagoya also presents an ultra-modern dimension and its vast array of consumer goods and quality shopping experiences rival those of any great American or European city.

Nagoya is surrounded by rivers (the Kiso, the Shōnai, the Hori and the Tempaku) and is near a beautiful bay in the centre of Japan. This location was crucial to its economic and cultural development. The Nagoya-based warlords Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, under the protection and guidance of Oda Nobunaga, used this strategic base to eventually unify Japan around the early 17th century. The magnificent Nagoya Castle and associated central roads and shrines were constructed during this period.

Industrialisation followed, with the production of pottery, gunpowder, cotton and a local unique type of mechanical doll. The transition from dominating family to government rule was also gradually introduced during this era. Later, the WW2 bombing of Japan by the Allies included industrial Nagoya, which incurred heavy attacks and also had its 1612-built Castle destroyed.

Today, the 1959-restored Nagoya Castle with its famous Golden tiger-headed carp roof decorations and the Atsuta, Japan’s second-most highly respected of shrines, are the main Nagoya visitor attractions. The Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Tokugawa Art Museum with its Japanese garden are charming. The City Science and Art Museums by Fushimi Subway Station are also worth visiting. If you’re interested in the city’s industrial past, the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology and the Mitsubishi Museum are excellent.

In order to witness the city’s modernity, try visiting Hisaya-Odori park’s TV Tower (best seen in the dark), Nagoya Station’s JR Central Towers and the building housing the Bank of Tokyo.

Image credits: Shino, Paul Davidson, Phil Kates, Robert Mongomery, Benjamin Hollis

Karen Bryan

As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save

Posted : Monday, September 10th, 2012 at 10:00
Category : Spotlight
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