Whether you love or loathe the hustle and bustle of the big city, there are no two ways about it: Nagoya is a fantastic place. There is so much going on and so much to take in. It is a mass of contradictions and a fascinating hodge-podge of contrasting traditional and futuristic styles.
There is perhaps no better way to take all of that in, than from the air. All around the city, there are high-rise buildings that you can access, and from their observation decks, you can take it all in.
At 247m (810ft), Midland Square is the tallest building in Aichi prefecture and the 7th tallest in Japan. Between the 42nd and 46th floors is the Sky Promenade, an open-air observation deck some 220m from the ground. Feel the wind whistle around you (on days when the weather allows it) as you get a near 360 degree of the city, taking in sights such as the JR Central Towers, Nagoya Castle, and Nagoya Port. Depending on the season it is open in the evenings until 21:00 (January and February), 22:00 (March to June and October to December) and 23:00 (July to September) and from 7 pm, every half an hour a fine mist is sprayed which refracts the cityscape’s lights offering an enchanting display.
Closely resembling the Eiffel Tower, Nagoya TV Tower is the oldest of its kind in Japan. At 180 meters high, the tower is one of Nagoya’s most iconic structures and has two main observation decks at 90 meters (the indoor Sky Deck) and 100 meters (the outdoor Sky Balcony). Both decks provide 360 degrees view of Sakae, including Oasis 21, Sunshine Sakae, and the Nagoya cityscape. While the tower ceased to transmit TV signals in 2011, it remains a popular tourist destination part in thanks to its nightly illuminations.
As part of the sprawling Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens complex, the Higashiyama Sky Tower dominates the landscape in the west of the city. The building itself is 134m tall and sits atop a hill in the center of the grounds meaning that its observation deck and restaurant at 100m commands a fantastic view of the park, the western part of Nagoya as well as Mt. Ontake, Mt. Ibuki and the Central Alps mountain range,
The only word to describe the Nagoya Port Building Observatory is, well, ‘interesting.’ It has to be seen to be understood. However, despite its unorthodox structure and the fact that its observation deck is relatively low at 53m, the view is well worth the trip out to the south of the city. The whole port area has been redeveloped and offers many views of the city – beautiful when lit at night – as well as right out to sea. After taking in the panorama, you can check out the Nagoya marine museum (Nagoya Kaiyo Hakubutsukan) on the 3rd floor.
The Chubu Centrair Flight Deck is very much, unlike the other observation decks mentioned above. While it is nowhere as high as the city decks, this is a 300m long observation deck at Chubu Centrair International airport, and rather than gaze down on the streets below, you can marvel as the planes take off a mere 300m away. On bright days it is possible to see the shoreline of Mie prefecture, ships sailing to and from the Nagoya Port, and at dusk the sunset beyond Ise Bay.
By Mark Guthrie