Comfort Hotel Kariya
1-8-1 Aioi cho
Phone: (81) 566 62 6511
Fax: (81) 566 62 6912
This unusual museum is dedicated to the humble roofing tile, because of the industrial history of the city as a roofing tile producer. Although the subject may be unassuming, one of the more interesting aspects is the onigawara (ornamental tile pieces found on ridge ends and eaves of roofs) often shaped like the faces of ogres to serve as charms to ward off evil spirits and to protect the building. In addition to examples of tiles going back more than a millennium, there are also photographic exhibits of architecture from around the world that utilize the roofing tile.
The Hirabari Catholic Church is a community church made up predominantly of Japanese people and headed by a Polish priest, Father Richard, who speaks fluent Japanese. The mass is in Japanese, but an English text translation is available to help you follow along. The format of the mass is almost identical to what you are probably used to back home, with the slight exception of a bow replacing a handshake when the time comes to offer peace to your neighbors.
One of the newest and largest aquariums in Japan, this one divides its aquatic life into five different ecosystems representative of the Pacific Ocean. Also involved in scientific research, including the breeding of sea turtles and other aquatic life, the aquarium's natural exhibits are heavily supported with multimedia displays. The underwater tunnel and the penguin exhibit are especially popular. The aquarium is located at the port's Garden Pier along with many other attractions. Call to know the open hours.
If you have already seen the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and the Ise Shrines in Mie, a visit to Atsuta Jinja will complete your tour of the three most sacred sites in Japan. An ancient, Japanese prince's sword (kusanagi) is housed here. The shrine itself is modest, but the approach lined with cypress trees merits a visit in itself. Other national treasures are on display at an on-site museum.
Nittaiji Temple is brand new as temples go, completed in 1904 (and rebuilt in 1984). But the significance of the site is momentous, if often overlooked. It houses some of the bones of the Buddha Shakyamuni that found its way to Thailand, parts of which were donated by the king of that country to be enshrined in Nagoya, for which purpose Nittaiji ("Japan-Thai Temple") was constructed. Do not miss the gold-leaf tablet inscribed by a more recent king of Thailand to commemorate the rebuilding of the temple in the 1980s.
If you are in the Osu area of Nagoya, then you must call in at Bansho-ji, especially if you have children with you, for a novel and entertaining experience. The robotic karakukri ningyo mechanical dolls step out onto the temple stage to perform a drama. The dolls are all dressed in samurai costume and the dramas celebrate some of the historic scenes associated with the area; and the show is free. In case of rain, you had better check that the performance is still on.
One of the city's newer attractions, this park specializing in orchids and other flowering plants is located downtown in a major shopping district. One fairly large greenhouse and a number of exhibit rooms surround a walled-in garden with walkways that take you around a small pond and past various flowerbeds. Several small climate-controlled huts have been setup within the garden to grow rare orchids from different tropical regions of the world. Both indoor and outdoor cafes can also be found within the park. Various events and seasonal exhibitions are held throughout the year.
One of the largest and more distinctive buildings in the city, Nadya Park is actually a complex of two towers designed by a young American architect and opened in 1996. The building houses the International Design Center Nagoya and various businesses as well as a variety of shops, including Loft, Kinokuniya Book Store and an LL Bean outlet. The huge, 50-meter-high atrium filled with natural light joins the two towers and is a popular meeting spot. Centrally located, but slightly off the main thoroughfares of the city, it is also serving to energize the neighborhood around it.
Located in the very center of the city and standing 180 meters tall, this tower is one of the city's most visible modern landmarks and features observation decks that provide spectacular views of central Japan. Built in 1954, this tower was the first multipurpose television transmission tower in Japan and continues today to transmit TV programs for a number of different broadcasting companies. It also houses coffee and souvenir shops.
The Hisaya Odori Park, stretching the length of central Downtown Nagoya, seems to set the tone of the entire city with its relaxed feel and its open design. Tall trees line the outer edge and separate the tranquility of the interior from the bustle outside. There is a wonderful spot around the base of the Television Tower, with a shallow river stocked with koi (carp) flowing through shaded groves of flowering bushes. Also, from the plaza at the south end, you can get a great view of the green laser that shoots from the tower`s tip to a statue on the ground after dark. Check out the underground shopping mall, as well as the Mitsukoshi and Matsuzakaya department stores near the park.
Whether you are going to be in town for a couple of days or a couple of years, make this your first outing in Nagoya. The Nagoya International Center provides information in a host of languages and gives advice on everything from shopping and dining to visas, employment, and even hiking. The NIC subscribes to newspapers and magazines from around the world, so take advantage of its library, which is open to the public.
Momoyama Period specialists will find the Kano School paintings and wooden doors that belonged to the Honmaru Palace interesting. Fortunately these beautiful works of art were not destroyed during the Pacific War air bombings. The motifs include genre scenes, landscapes and the ubiquitous flowers, birds and trees, the bulk of which are in black and white. Other pieces representing castle paraphernalia are armor, maps, clothing and even roof tiles. The golden dolphins, which used to adorn the castle roof as a symbol of the feudal lord's authority, are perhaps the best known treasures of Nagoya Castle.