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A Second Serving of Nagoya

Updated: Apr 9

A Second Serving of Nagoya
Nagoya Castle

As 2023 drew to a close, I found myself grappling with an abundance of expiring airline credits from previously canceled trips and denied refunds. So, in a last-ditch effort to not let the airline treat my cash as if it found it in their couch cushions, I dug around the internet for a bit and decided on a weekend jaunt to Nagoya, Japan. It fit neatly into the snug budget of my remaining credits, promising an adventure that wouldn’t bleed my wallet dry.

I was well aware that my time in Nagoya, a city as industrious as it is lovely, would be brief. But the idea of a quick getaway during the late fall felt right. My regular readers might recall my family visit to Nagoya earlier in the year, which was an entirely different adventure from my previous Nagoya airport hotel layover stays. If you missed it, now's your chance to catch up here. This time, without my kids, I opted for the practicality of a business hotel over the more extravagant digs we choose for family adventures. With my plane ticket and a lightweight suitcase, I caught a blissfully smooth early morning flight to Chubu Centrair International Airport. Thanks to the flight's punctuality and a swift pass through immigration, baggage claim, and customs, I was on the Meitetsu Limited Express train heading to Nagoya Station before the clock struck noon.

One thing that consistently tricks me is the difference between how things appear on a map and their actual reality. This became all too clear when I chose Meitetsu Inn Nagoyaeki Shinkansenguchi (Noritake 1-6-3, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya-city). On the map, it seemed a stone's throw from Nagoya Station, promising easy access to nearby shopping and food venues. Yet finding an efficient path beneath the tracks to the hotel, which appeared so convenient on paper, was anything but straightforward.

My initial attempt to walk to the hotel turned out to be quite the learning curve. Fortunately, the convenience of catching an Uber or taxi in the area quickly solved that problem, thanks to reasonable fares. The hotel itself was a model of efficiency. Despite its no-frills, business-oriented design, it was surprisingly comfortable and welcoming. The neighborhood, too, was a pleasant discovery—safe, easily navigable on foot, and peppered with a good variety of food and drink options.

After dropping off my bags, my first stop was Nigiri no Tokubei Oasis 21 (1 Chome-11-1 Higashisakura, Higashi Ward). I had not realized that Oasis 21 is a shopping mall until I arrived in front of the amazing structure - I realized I was in for more than just a meal. Finding the restaurant was an adventure in itself, but I did manage to find it after a bit of walking. Once seated, I indulged in an array of sushi and other Japanese delicacies, consuming more than I should have. The combination of delicious food at affordable prices made it the perfect kickoff to my journey. After lunch, I browsed through the NHK/Studio Ghibli shop, picking up a few treasures before stepping out into the crisp October air. A leisurely stroll around Hisaya Ōdōri Park, with the Chubu Electric Power Mirai Tower in the middle, was the ideal way to digest the meal and take survey of a part of the city I hadn’t visited earlier in the year.

As night fell, I grabbed a warm coat and strolled over to the Nakamura-Ju Esca Underground Shopping Center for a cozy Miso Katsu dinner at Misokatsu Yabaton (6-9 Tsubakicho, Nakamura-Ku Esca Underground Shopping Center). Having visited this chain with my kids earlier in the year, I knew the Teppan Tonkatsu and Waraji Tonkatsu portions were more generous than I could manage alone. So, I opted for the Hire Tonkatsu instead, a perfect fit, especially after my lavish lunch. It was the ideal meal for rounding off the day's food experiences.

Later, a brief walk led me to an Irish Pub called Peter Cole (Nakamura Ward, Noritake, at 1 Chome−5−3, 1F), conveniently located next door to my hotel. There, I savored a glass of Guinness, a fitting end to the evening, before calling it a night.

Day 2ish

Waking up in Nagoya on the morning of my only full day, I didn't realize just how exhausted I was until my phone displayed “10:05 am.” A brief wave of panic washed over me, quickly quelled by an overpowering sense of laziness that reset my pace to casual. After a leisurely start, checking the weather to dress accordingly, I ventured out for an early lunch at Karamiso Ramen Fukurou (Meieki-ten)  (2 Chome-1 Kamejima, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya). I am a bit of a ramen snob at this point in my life, so seeing the long line at the restaurant next door made me second-guess my decision for a moment. However, my choice was rewarded with a delightful bowl of ramen, served up by a friendly team in a laid-back environment that I really appreciated. The meal was delicious—I thoroughly enjoyed it and would happily return for more.

A Second Serving of Nagoya
Tsutaya Bookstore

Then I was off to the Tsutaya Bookstore (AEON Mall, 3-1-17 Noritake Shinmachi, Nishi-ku, Nagoya) and the Kientsu Pass’e department store, the Meitetsu Department Store, and the JR Gate Tower Mall, for some gifts for my kids and family, and to by stuff I really don’t need, but apparently can’t live without. Thankfully, my trek up and down numerous escalators was peppered with an generous number of coffee shops and eateries, guaranteeing I was comfortably sated at every turn.

By dinner time, despite knowing better, I couldn’t resist indulging in some barbecued unagi (eel) at Maruya Honten Meieki (1-2-1 Meieki, Nakamuraku Meitetsu Department Store 9F, Nagoya). I regret nothing. LOL. It was so good.

After dinner, I had plans to catch a cab back to the hotel, freshen up, and then venture out for a drink. However, once I reached my room, the only thing I craved more than nightlife was a hot shower and deep, uninterrupted sleep.

The Last Day

On my last day, I checked out early and made my way to the Osu Shopping District, eager to explore the anime shops my children had discovered during our previous visit. True to form, the streets were bustling, yet the courteousness of the crowd and the brisk, refreshing weather combined for a delightful experience. I found myself ducking into countless coffee shops, indulging in snacks, meandering, and getting lost more times than I can count, yet, miraculously, I still found my way back to the hotel in time to collect my luggage for the journey back to the airport.

As the train glided towards the airport, I took in the final views of the city, contemplating my growing fondness for Nagoya and its inhabitants. After two visits, the city started to feel like a familiar friend, comfortable and welcoming. Nagoya, with its rich tapestry of stories and landscapes, beckons for deeper exploration, promising that each visit is just another chapter in an ongoing adventure.

As the plane ascended, distancing us from the twinkling lights of Nagoya, a fireworks display erupted in the distance off the starboard side, painting the night sky. Farewell, Nagoya, until we meet again.

If you’re like me and are shopping a bit online, use the Rakuten service

for cash back and discounts – save yourself some money.


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