48 Hours In Nagoya – 2 Day Itinerary

Nagoya – a city in the Chubu region on Honshu island – is often overlooked by tourists, but it’s a hidden gem in Japan that offers many attractions and experiences, and seamlessly blends modernity with tradition. In our 48 hours in Nagoya itinerary, we’ll share how to explore the highlights of Nagoya and make the most of your visit.

Ancient temples, history, culture, food, technology and innovation, as well as a touch of quirkiness, there is lots to do and see in Nagoya!

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. 

Nagoya castle and city skyline in Japan at sunset

If you want to be assured of 48 hours in Nagoya free from rain and humidity, the best time to visit is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). However, these months also fall during the peak season. 

Choosing accommodation near Nagoya Station and Sakae District is highly recommended, with Nagoya Station being your best bet if you prefer to be near the main transportation hubs.

However, 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 hours in Nagoya, it’s enough time to explore the city and be captivated by its unique blend of history, innovation, and culture.

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Making last-minute plans for your Nagoya itinerary. We’ve got you covered. Our recommended hotels and tours for a getaway to Nagoya are listed below.

Recommended hotels:

Recommended tours:

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Overview of 2 Days in Nagoya Itinerary

Here’s a glance at what you could do and see in two days in Nagoya:

Day 1 in Nagoya

  • Have breakfast at Komeda’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 the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
  • Explore the Sakae District
  • Dinner at Yamamotoya Honten Sakaechuoten

Day 2 in Nagoya

  • Breakfast at Konparu
  • Stroll around Tokugawaen Garden
  • 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
Nagoya, Japan Skyline and tower.

Day 1 in Nagoya

Have breakfast at Komeda’s Coffee

A good start to your Nagoya adventure is breakfast at one of their iconic cafes, Komeda’s Coffee, which is known for its unique and delicious coffee and breakfast offerings. 

A must-try delicacy at Komeda’s is their ogura toast – a thick slice of toast topped with a sweet red bean paste and butter. Their Shiro noir coffee pairs well with the ogura toast, offering a sweet and bitter taste blend. 

Visit the Atsuta Shrine

The Atsuta Shrine is one of Japan’s most sacred and significant shrines, and will be the highlight of your two days in Nagoya. 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. It offers a good insight into Japan’s ancient past. 

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.

Tour Pick

Nagoya Highlight Tour

  • 6 hours 
  • Affordable Private Tour
  • Friendly Guide
Atsuta - jingu (Atsuta Shrine) in Nagoya Japan

Explore the Nagoya Public Aquarium 

Near Nagoya Port you’ll find Nagoya’s spectacular Public Aquarium – one of Japan’s biggest aquariums, showcasing the diverse marine life worldwide. It features a variety of aquatic exhibits and educational events.

You can also watch dolphin shows and feeding sessions, and see different types of fish, penguins, turtles, seals, and playful killer whales close up. Conveniently connected by subway, so travelling to the aquarium is more accessible with a rail pass.

Check out Nagoya Castle

The iconic landmark of Nagoya Castle was built in the 17th century and features impressive samurai architecture. At Nagoya Castle explore the spacious castle grounds, which include beautiful gardens, stone walls, moats, and historical structures. The castle grounds have become a popular spot for cherry blossoms, so if you’re visiting in spring, you may even witness them in full bloom.

Nagoya, Japan - Main keep of Nagoya Castle in Nagoya, Japan.

Lunch at Asadaya

Asadaya is a charming restaurant offering an authentic Japanese dining experience and serves seasonal cuisine cooked with ingredients acquired locally. 

A must-try at Asadaya is their pork curry kinsmen. Made with chewy flat noodles with a fragrant curry-flavoured broth topped with green onions and pork belly, it doesn’t get any better than this. This dish is mildly spicy (non-spicy option available on request), and don’t forget to order their authentic tempuras for a complete experience. 

Learn at Nagoya City Science Museum 

Nagoya City Science Museum is one of Japan’s most significant science museums featuring fascinating exhibits on various scientific subjects, including space, robotics, and natural history. 

Don’t miss the planetarium show. It is one of the world’s biggest planetarium domes where you can immerse yourself in the universe’s wonders. Enjoy stunning visuals of stars, planets, and galaxies 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.

NAGOYA, JAPAN - Nagoya City Science Museum and Planetarium.

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.

Being one of Nagoya’s most famous tourist destinations, explore the past of the renowned automaker and discover its technological advancements. Discover the evolution of Toyota’s automotive technology, from its early models to the latest car manufacturing and design innovations. 

Look out for concept cars and prototypes on display, and learn about the renowned Toyota Production System which revolutionised manufacturing efficiency and became a model for industries worldwide.

Participate in interactive displays and hands-on activities to learn about manufacturing processes, engineering principles, and other technological aspects.

Tour Pick
Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology also known as Toyota Tecno Museum is a technology museum located in Nishi-ku in the city of Nagoya central Japan.

Guided Half-day Tour(AM)

  • 4 hours 
  • Max of 6 people 
  • Entrance fees included
Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology also known as Toyota Tecno Museum is a technology museum located in Nishi-ku in the city of Nagoya central Japan.

Explore the Sakae District

As the sun sets, head to Sakae District – a retail and entertainment district offering a blend of modernity and tradition.

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.

Then take a short stroll to the Nagoya TV Tower and climb the tower for stunning night views of Nagoya’s sparkling cityscape.

NAGOYA, JAPAN - Cityscape of Nagoya in autumn Oasis 21 and Nagoya TV Tower in Sakae, Japan., A shopping complex and its large oval glass roof structure floats above ground level.

Dinner at Yamamotoya Honten Sakaechuoten

For the perfect end to the day, head over to Yamamotoya Honten Sakaechuoten, a restaurant that serves exquisite traditional Japanese cuisine.

It is part of the Yamamotoya brand, which is renowned for its delicious and authentic Japanese confections. From enjoying 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.

Haute multi course Japanese cuisine such as seafood, noodles, meats, green tea, rice, miso soup and dessert. Better known as kaiseki

Day 2 in Nagoya

breakfast at Konparu

To start your second day in Nagoya, try breakfast at Konparu, for traditional Japanese morning meals. 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 on rice. Hitsumabushi is typically enjoyed in three ways: by itself, with toppings like green onions and wasabi, or savoury dashi soup. 

Stroll around Tokugawaen Garden

The Tokugawaen Garden is another historic site in Nagoya, and was built to serve as the retirement residence of the Owari Tokugawa clan, the region’s ruling family during the Edo period.

Take a leisurely walk through the meticulously landscaped gardens, featuring a central pond, stone bridges, walking paths, and various seasonal flowers and trees. Admire the architecture of the tea houses, stroll alongside serene ponds, and enjoy the seasonal beauty of the carefully manicured landscape.

Idyllic landscape of Japanese garden at summer day. Nagoya is a manufacturing and shipping hub in central Honshu.

See the Tokugawa Art Museum

The Tokugawa Art Museum houses an impressive collection of artefacts and art pieces from the Tokugawa family’s rich history, as well as 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, the Osu Kannon Temple is a revered Buddhist temple attracting locals and tourists alike.

The Osu Kannon Temple was built in dedication to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, Kannon, and has been around for over 1,300 years, undergoing numerous renovations and reconstructions due to war and fire damage.

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.

NAGOYA, JAPAN -  Osu Kannon temple in Nagoya, Japan

Lunch at a Maid Cafe

One of the most unique and unforgettable experiences you can try in Nagoya is to dine in a quirky Japanese maid cafe. Featuring servers dressed as cute maids who provide exceptional service and entertainment, Maid Cafes serve various creative dishes and drinks, so expect to find 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 to make your experience even more special!

Explore Ghibli Park 

Just 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 time 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 short movies, exploring exhibition areas, and seeing a scale model of notable scenes and structures from Studio Ghibli – like the elevator tower seen in Laputa: Castle in the Sky and the house from Whisper of the Heart.

Park located at Noritake Garden Nagoya Japan. Dinosaur in the park.

Admire the city from Midland Square’s Deck

For a stunning city perspective, head to Midland Square, one of Nagoya’s famous skyscrapers, and climb to its observation deck to take in Nagoya’s impressive skyline and iconic spots, such as the Nagoya Castle, Atsuta Shrine and the Nagoya Port. Catch a mesmerising sunset or night view of the bustling city below – perfect memories to take home.  

Aerial view of modern city in Nagoya, Japan. Nagoya is the 4th largest city in Japan with population of 2.28 million.

Shop at Don Quijote

A short walk from Midland Square you’ll find Japan’s most famous discount store, Don Quijote, or “Donki” – a renowned shopping experience where you can find almost anything you can imagine, making it a favourite among tourists.

From cosmetics to electronics, souvenirs, and clothing, 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.

Dinner at Shirakawa

Wind up your second day with a memorable dinner at Shirakawa, a restaurant specialising in traditional Japanese kaiseki cuisine. Shirakawa serves food beautifully presented and 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 than just historical, scientific, and quirky sites. Going on a Nagoya Food Tour is an adventure that will entice your taste buds as you immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant street food culture. Through its busy alleys and vibrant neighborhoods, satisfy not only your taste buds, but also your mind as you take in the city’s history and rich culinary heritage.

 Sushi cook working at traditional restaurant in Nagoya, Japan.

Walking Tour 

If you are a first-time tourist to 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.

Visit the city’s most iconic landmarks, cultural sites, and charming neighborhoods that allow you to immerse yourself in the essence of Nagoya’s rich history and contemporary charm.

2-Day Itinerary for Nagoya Wrap-up

No matter how many days you spend in Nagoya, exploring this vibrant Japanese city is a captivating experience not to be missed. For all the best of Nagoya in just 48 hours, we hope our Nagoya itinerary helps you plan the trip of a lifetime.  

Recommended tours in Nagoya

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  • Angelica Peralta

    Meet Angelica, who at 22, boldly pivoted from a legal career to pursue her passions in travel and writing. With a focus on sustainable travel, she has explored Asia and Europe, emphasizing local cultural engagement along the way | Specializing in digital nomad travel, crafting comprehensive itineraries, identifying top tour guides, sharing regional insights on Asia, The Americas, and Europe, and advising on eco-friendly travel practices.

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