Nagoya has something for everyone! I’ve been to Japan 3 times and every time I explore new places with Nagoya being one of my favourite places. Whether you’re into history or culture, there is always something to do in Nagoya!
If you’re not sure what to do for two days, then here’s a great itinerary that will show you the best of the city.
From food tours to ancient temples, there’s something here for everyone. Follow our two day itinerary and you won’t miss out on any of the great things Nagoya has to offer.
Planning a trip to Japan and want to enjoy a city that seamlessly blends modernity with tradition? Consider a 2-day trip to Nagoya, a city in the Chubu region on Honshu island.
Nagoya is a city often overlooked by tourists, but it’s a hidden gem in Japan that offers many attractions and experiences. In this 2 day itinerary for Nagoya, we’ll share with you how to explore the highlights of Nagoya and make the most of your visit.
Aside from being Japan’s fourth-largest city, Nagoya is a significant economic and industrial hub. Amidst its bustling metropolis, there is also a charming sense of local culture and history in different local attractions.
One of the city’s most famous landmarks is Nagoya Castle, a magnificent 17th-century structure that underwent meticulous reconstruction and now stands as an excellent example of traditional Japanese architecture.
To explore the cultural side of Nagoya, the Atsuta Shrine, one of Japan’s most sacred Shinto shrines, is also a must-visit. Other attractions in Nagoya include the Toyota commemorative museum, Nagoya Public Aquarium, and Nagoya City Science Museum.
When visiting Nagoya City, it is also essential to consider the weather conditions. If you want to be assured that your 48 hours in Nagoya will be free from rain and humidity, the best time to visit Nagoya is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. However, these months also fall during the peak season.
Meanwhile, when it comes to the place of your accommodation, we highly recommend looking for one near Nagoya Station and Sakae District. Nagoya Station will be your best bet if you prefer to be near the main transportation hubs.
Still, if you want to stay centrally located near restaurants, shopping areas and tourist spots in Nagoya, you should remain in Sakae District.
Overall, even with just 48 hrs in Nagoya, it’s already enough for you to explore the city and be captivated by its unique blend of history, innovation, and culture.
Plan your trip?
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Overview of 2 Days in Nagoya Itinerary
Here’s a glance at what you’ll see and do in two days in Nagoya:
Day 1 in Nagoya
- Have breakfast at Komdeda’s Coffee
- Visit the Atsuta Shrine
- Explore the Nagoya Public Aquarium
- Check out Nagoya Castle
- Lunch at Asadaya
- Learn at Nagoya City Science Museum
- See Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
- Explore the Sakae District
- Dinner at Yamamotoya
Day 2 in Nagoya
- Get breakfast at Konparu
- Stroll around Tokugawen
- See the Tokugawa Art Museum
- Visit the Osu Kannon Temple
- Lunch at a Maid Cafe
- Explore Ghilbi Park
- Admire the city from Midland Square’s Deck
- Shop at Don Quijote
- Dinner at Shirakawa
Day 1 in Nagoya
Have breakfast at Komeda’s Coffee
An excellent kickstart to your Nagoya adventure is breakfast at one of their iconic cafes, Komeda’s Coffee. The iconic breakfast place is a locally founded cafe in Nagoya known for its unique and delicious coffee and breakfast offerings.
A must-try delicacy at Komeda’s is their ogura toast. It’s a thick slice of toast topped with a sweet red bean paste and butter. Their Shiro noir coffee is an excellent pair to the ogura toast, which offers a sweet and bitter taste blend.
Besides their tasty meals, the cosy atmosphere at Komeda’s Coffee makes it an excellent place to set off your Nagoya escapade.
Visit the Atsuta Shrine
The Atsuta Shrine is one of Japan’s most sacred and significant shrines, and your 2 days in Nagoya will only be complete with visiting. It has a history dating back over 1,900 years, is believed to have been founded during the reign of Emperor Keikō, and is dedicated to the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu Omikami.
When visiting, you can explore the shrine grounds with various buildings, torii gates, and breathtaking natural surroundings. You can also visit the treasure hall that houses the Imperial family’s artefacts and cultural items.
Traditional ceremonies and festivals are held annually, allowing visitors to witness Shinto rituals and cultural performances. Atsuta Shrine provides a good insight into Japan’s ancient past.
Overall, Atsuta Shrine provides a peaceful atmosphere for visitors to explore.
Explore the Nagoya Public Aquarium
After looking into Japan’s ancient past, it’s time to engage in Nagoya’s spectacular Public Aquarium near Nagoya Port.
The Nagoya Public Aquarium is one of Japan’s biggest aquariums, showcasing the diverse marine life worldwide. It features a variety of aquatic exhibits and educational events, where you can watch dolphin shows. You can also see different types of fish, penguins, turtles, seals, and playful killer whales.
Take advantage of the spectacular shows and feeding sessions during your visit, making your – [ weekend in Nagoya even more memorable! Conveniently, it is connected by subway, so travelling to the aquarium is more accessible with a rail pass.
Check out Nagoya Castle
Another iconic landmark we have included in this Nagoya itinerary is the Nagoya Castle. It is a magnificent structure built in the 17th century with impressive samurai architecture.
At Nagoya Castle, take your time to explore the spacious castle grounds, which include beautiful gardens, stone walls, moats, and historical structures. Remember to bring out your camera and capture the beauty of the castle and the stunning scenery.
You can also take a peaceful stroll in the picturesque surrounding gardens, a perfect area to relax and appreciate nature’s tranquillity and beauty.
Meanwhile, the castle grounds have become a popular spot for cherry blossoms, so you may even witness them in full bloom when visiting during the spring!
Lunch at Asadaya
After your tranquil experience at Nagoya Castle, it is time to fill up with traditional Japanese cuisine at Asadaya. This charming restaurant offers an authentic dining experience and serves seasonal cuisine cooked with ingredients acquired locally.
A must-try at Asadaya is their pork curry kinsmen. It is made with chewy flat noodles with a fragrant curry-flavoured broth topped with green onions and pork belly.
This dish is mildly spicy, so be sure to request a non-spicy variant if you like it. We also suggest that you order their authentic tempuras for a complete experience.
Learn at Nagoya City Science Museum
Nagoya City Science Museum is a prominent and one of Japan’s most significant science museums. The museum features fascinating exhibits on various scientific subjects, including space, robotics, and natural history, which you should see.
During your visit to the museum, you can explore different exhibits, but something to notice is their planetarium show. It is one of the world’s most giant planetarium domes where you can immerse yourself in the universe’s wonders.
You can enjoy stunning visuals of stars, planets, and galaxies at the show while learning about astronomy and celestial phenomena.
There are also several hands-on activities throughout the museum, where you can conduct experiments, solve puzzles, and interact with scientific phenomena.
Of course, before leaving, you can also visit the museum’s gift shop, where you can find science-related toys, books, and souvenirs to take home as mementoes of your visit!
See Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
As the city that gave birth to Toyota, Nagoya proudly houses the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. This is one of Nagoya’s most famous tourist destinations, and you should not miss it in this 2 days itinerary for Nagoya.
At the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, you may explore the past of the renowned automaker and discover its technological advancements. You can also explore the evolution of Toyota’s automotive technology, from its early models to the latest car manufacturing and design innovations.
Some Toyota concept cars and prototypes may be on display, so be sure to document such models.
While visiting the museum, you can learn about the renowned Toyota Production System, which revolutionised manufacturing efficiency and became a model for industries worldwide.
Aside from looking at different exhibits, you can also participate in interactive displays and hands-on activities that allow visitors to learn about manufacturing processes, engineering principles, and other technological aspects – something to look forward to!
Explore the Sakae District
As the sun sets, you can now head to Sakae District. This bustling district of Nagoya offers a blend of modernity and tradition. You can dedicate the rest of your time before dinner to shopping at Sakae’s department stores and trendy boutiques.
Some popular shopping destinations in the area include Oasis 21, PARCO, Matsuzakaya, and Nagoya Mitsukoshi. It is also home to theatres, art galleries, and performance venues, providing opportunities to enjoy cultural events and exhibitions.
Afterwards, you can take a short stroll to the Nagoya TV Tower, an iconic landmark in the city. Ascend the tower for stunning night views of Nagoya’s sparkling cityscape.
If you want to rest and relax after all the walking, you can also visit green areas at Sakae, such as Hisaya Odori Park.
Dinner at Yamamotoya Honten Sakaechuoten
What’s a day without some good food to end it? Head over to Yamamotoya Honten Sakaechuoten, a restaurant that serves exquisite traditional Japanese cuisine.
It is part of the “Yamamotoya” brand, renowned for its delicious and authentic Japanese confections.
From savouring fresh sashimi to enjoying the artful presentations of multi-course kaiseki meals, Yamamotoya promises an unforgettable dining experience that captures the essence of Japanese culinary finesse.
Day 2 in Nagoya
Get breakfast at Konparu
To kickstart your second day in Nagoya, have breakfast at Konparu, a renowned restaurant that serves traditional Japanese morning meals. Here, you can indulge in a flavorful spread of grilled fish, rice, miso soup, pickles, and other seasonal delicacies.
We recommend trying their famous hitsumabushi, a grilled eel dish served over rice. The hitsumabushi is typically enjoyed in three ways: by itself, with toppings like green onions and wasabi, or savoury dashi soup.
Plus, with the cosy and welcoming ambience of Konparu, you’ll be provided with an authentic experience, setting the tone for a delightful day ahead!
Stroll around Tokugawaen Garden
The Tokugawaen Garden is another historic site in Nagoya. It was built to serve as the retirement residence of the Owari Tokugawa clan, the region’s ruling family during the Edo period.
This garden exudes elegance and tranquillity, making it the best place to take a morning stroll. You can take a leisurely walk through the meticulously landscaped gardens, featuring a central pond, stone bridges, walking paths, and various seasonal flowers and trees.
During your visit, you can also admire the stunning architecture of the tea houses, stroll along the serene ponds, and enjoy the seasonal beauty of the carefully manicured landscape.
See the Tokugawa Art Museum
After visiting Tokugawa, you can head to the Tokugawa Art Museum, which houses an impressive collection of artefacts and art pieces from the Tokugawa family’s rich history.
As you explore the museum, you get to discover beautiful displays of the museum, which feature historical artefacts, cultural treasures, ceramics, calligraphy, armour, and traditional fabrics.
This is also where you’ll learn about the Tokugawa era’s rich history and cultural legacy while admiring the beautiful craftsmanship.
Visit the Osu Kannon Temple
Just 20 minutes from the Tokugawa Art Museum, you’ll find the Osu Kannon Temple, a revered Buddhist temple in Nagoya, attracting locals and tourists alike.
Osu Kannon Temple was built in dedication to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, Kannon. It has been around for over 1,300 years and has undergone numerous renovations and reconstructions due to fire and war damage.
Yet, it has maintained its historical and cultural relevance, making it a famous destination among locals and tourists.
As you discover the temple, you can shop from the numerous stalls selling traditional goods, souvenirs, and delicious street food. Take a moment to offer your prayers and soak in the serene ambience.
Lunch at a Maid Cafe
One of the most unique and unforgettable things you can try in Nagoya, Japan, is to dine in a quirky Japanese maid cafe. There are a variety of maid cafes in Nagoya, and visiting one of them is a must!
These cafes feature servers dressed in cute maids who provide exceptional service and entertainment. Maid Cafes serve various attractive and creative dishes and drinks, so you can expect to find cute latte art, adorable desserts, and themed dishes with cute names.
Besides themed meals, the maids will often draw cute designs or write personalised messages on your food or drinks so your experience is even more special!
Explore Ghibli Park
Just a few minutes outside Nagoya lies Ghibli Park, a place perfect for anime enthusiasts and nature lovers. This theme park is named after the famous Studio Ghibli animation studio, offering lush greenery, picturesque landscapes, and charming Ghibli-themed attractions.
While half a day might not be enough for you to explore the three main areas at Ghibli Park; Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, Hill of Youth, and Dondoko Forest – you can still enjoy the park by viewing exclusive short movies, exploring exhibition areas, and seeing a scale model of notable scenes and structures of Ghibli Studios.
Just some of the structures you can visit are the elevator tower seen in “Laputa: Castle in the Sky” and “Howl’s Moving Castle” and the house from “Whisper of the Heart.”
Admire the city from Midland Square’s Deck
After leaving the lush Ghibli Park, you can head back to Midland Square, one of Nagoya’s famous skyscrapers, and climb to its observation deck for a stunning city perspective.
From a higher perspective, you can witness Nagoya’s impressive skyline and iconic spots, such as the Nagoya Castle, Atsuta Shrine and the Nagoya Port. It’s also an excellent spot to catch a mesmerising sunset or night view of the bustling city below, so remember to take photos!
Shop at Don Quijote
Just a few minutes walk from Midland Square; you’ll find Japan’s most famous discount store Don Quijote, or “Donki”. This is a renowned shopping store where you can find almost anything you can imagine, making it a favourite among tourists and locals.
You can browse various items, from cosmetics to electronics, souvenirs, and clothing. Also, remember to munch on the store’s quirky Japanese snacks.
Don Quijote offers tax-free shopping on specific items for foreign tourists, so be sure to bring your passport to complete the store’s tax-free procedures. Enjoy a fun shopping spree and discover unique finds to take home!
Dinner at Shirakawa
Conclude your second day with a memorable dinner at Shirakawa, a restaurant specialising in traditional Japanese kaiseki cuisine.
Shirakawa serves food in artful presentation, meticulously prepared to showcase the finest flavours and textures. Plus, the elegant ambience and attentive service make Shirakawa a perfect place to savour the essence of Japanese culinary artistry.
Tours in Nagoya
Street Food Tour
Nagoya has more to offer besides historical, scientific, and quirky sites. Going on a Nagoya food tour is an adventure that will entice your taste buds and let you immerse in the city’s vibrant street food culture all at the same time.
You will be taken on a private tour of the city’s most mouthwatering attractions as you are led through its busy alleyways and vibrant neighbourhoods.
Not only will you be able to satisfy your taste buds but also your mind as you are introduced to the city’s history and rich culinary heritage.
If you are a first-time tourist in Nagoya and want to be accompanied by a professional guide to get the most out of your 48 hours in Nagoya itinerary, we recommend you try this walking tour.
During this tour, you will visit the city’s most iconic landmarks, cultural sites, and charming neighbourhoods that allow you to immerse yourself in the essence of Nagoya’s rich history and contemporary allure.
2-Day Itinerary for Nagoya Wrap-up
No matter how many days in Nagoya you’ll spend, exploring this vibrant Japanese city is a captivating experience you would not want to miss. If you visit Japan and travel to this charming city for 2 days, we hope this Nagoya travel guide sheds light on what a trip to the city can be.
Recommended tours in Nagoya
- Origami Class in Nagoya
- Ghibli Park Ticket and Nagoya 2 Days Package (No Guide)
- Private Full Day Magome &Tsumago Walking Tour from Nagoya
- Nagoya Highlight Tour guided by a friendly local
- Nagoya Endoji Food and Cultural Tour
- Full-Day Small-Group Kisoji Nakasendo Trail Tour
- Experience Japanese calligraphy & tea ceremony at a traditional house in Nagoya
- Private Tour Guide Nagoya with a Local: Kickstart your Trip, Personalized
- Market Tour and Authentic Nagoya Cuisine Cooking Class With a Local in Her Home
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