Getting To Know You: Nagoya Port

ByBert Wishart
Jun 25, 2023

Getting To Know You: Nagoya Port

To the south of the city, Nagoya’s port is one of Japan’s busiest, servicing the country’s central region of Japan, the hotbed of the nation’s automotive industry. And I know what you’re thinking: that doesn’t exactly sound like a fun day out, right?

And you would have been mostly right up until a few years ago, but the whole area had an entire revamp, turning it into a pretty comprehensive leisure district. With shopping, dining, and numerous family-oriented attractions, it can be a great place to spend the day right into the evening when it is spectacularly lit.

Nagoya Aquarium

Whether you are a fan of fishes, an admirer of the aquatic, a fan of fins, or feel deeply for the deep blue, there is a lot to enjoy at the Nagoya Aquarium. One of Japan’s biggest and best aquariums, Nagoya Aquarium at Nagoya Port, covers all manner of sea life between Japan and the Antarctic. While stimulating for kids, it still makes a pretty good day out for friends, couples, or even just exploring on your own.

The theme of Nagoya Aquarium’s North building is “A journey spanning 3.5 billion years: Animals that have returned to the seas,” and various media displays teach you all about cetaceans and aquatic mammals. But most excitingly, it is here that you get to meet the aquarium’s star attractions: the dolphins in the world’s largest outdoor tank.

The south building’s theme is “A Journey to the Antarctic” and is a breeding exhibition that takes you from Nagoya through to the Antarctic, cutting across the seas around Japan, the deep sea gallery, the equatorial ocean, the Australian waterfront, and the Antarctic ocean, the highlight of which is the penguin enclosure.

Where: 1-3 Minatomachi, Minato-Ward (map)

Fireworks Festival

In Japan, summer is all about fireworks festivals, and Nagoya’s most popular is the Nagoya Port Festival or Nagoya Minato Matsuri, as it is also called. It began in 1946 as a celebration to help raise spirits and encourage positivity following the destruction caused by WW2. The festival is held over two days in mid-July, but the main draw for the huge crowds is displaying around 3,000 fireworks and enjoying the cooling ocean breeze on the Umi no hi national holiday (Marine Day).

Where: 1-3 Minatomachi, Minato Ward, Nagoya (map)

Nagoya Port Sea Train Land

Free to enter, Nagoya Port Sea Train Land is an amusement park covering the repurposed site of the JR Freight Railway Company’s Nagoyako Station and has 16 different attractions for both kids and adults to enjoy.

The standout ride is the Ferris wheel, and at 85m tall, it is the biggest in all of the Chubu area. Its see-through gondolas give 360-degree panoramic views, affording you sights as far out as Ise Bay and the Suzuka Mountains. Also good fun are the merry-go-rounds, a maze, and a Western-style haunted house called Zombie Panic.

Where: Minato Ward, Nishikuracho, 1−51 (map)

Antarctic Museum and Fuji Antarctic Museum

The Nagoya Maritime Museum and the Fuji Antarctic Museum are engaging, informative, and educational attractions showing how Nagoya’s port contributes to the livelihood of the city’s excellent manufacturing and trade traditions and further into the seas surrounding the area.

Perhaps most exciting is to wander around the former research vessel, the Fuji, which is now permanently moored in the port. You can really understand what life would have been like for those on board this icebreaking ship as they explored the polar regions.

Where: 1-chome-9 Minato-ku (map)

Shopping – Lalaport

There are around 217 shops, from discount stores 3 Coins and Daiso to luxury brands such as Armani and Diesel, the high street fashion of GAP and H&M, a Disney store and Toys R Us for the kids, jewelry at Sophie Ferie, Yogibo, and Style for furniture, and a Godiva chocolatier amongst many, many more.

Lalaport is also a great place to eat, as there are many restaurants, including Japanese and Western cuisines. One perhaps not to miss is a KFC with an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet.

Where: 2 Chome-3-2 Komei, Minato Ward (map)


Image: Emran Kassim via [CC BY 2.0]

Image by Cris Anderson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via (modified)

Image: Kenji Yamanaka via [CC BY 2.0]


About the author

Bert Wishart editor

Novelist, copywriter and graduate from the most prestigious university in Sunderland, Bert whiles away his precious time on this Earth by writing about popular culture, travel, food and pretty much anything else that is likely to win him the Pulitzer he desperately craves.