Where to Spend Valentine’s Day in Nagoya

ByBert Wishart
Jan 21, 2023

Where to Spend Valentine’s Day in Nagoya

In his 1977 classic one-hit wonder, John Paul Young sang the immortal lines “Love is in the air, everywhere I look around.”  There is a good chance that he wasn’t looking around Nagoya, as while it is a fantastic city with so much to offer thanks to its industrial past, calling it a romantic city in the vein of Venice or Paris is a stretch of the imagination. However, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you may want to find that perfect place to cozy up to your loved one but be unsure where to go. Fear not, because this fair city has quite a few romantic spots.

Nabana no Sato

While this isn’t strictly in Nagoya (it’s over in Mie prefecture), it’s still pretty close, and it has so much going on that I think it is fair to include it on this list. Nabana no Sato is part of the Nagashima onsen complex. Though it holds one of Japan’s largest flower festivals in the summer, it comes alive in the colder months with a breathtaking illuminations display.

Highlights include a light tunnel and a stunning representation of Mount Fuji that reflects the passing of the year on the great symbol of Japan. Wrap up warm and head to the observation deck for the best views of the park. A few restaurants are also dotted about the park, though reservations are strongly recommended. But it’s not just the illuminations that make this a great spot. There is also a large shopping complex, an onsen, and an amusement park, which is the ideal location for an all-day date.

  • Where:  511-1144, Kuwana city, Nagashima cho, Komae Urushibata 270 (map)
  • Access: From the Meitetsu Bus Center next to Nagoya Station, take a bus bound for Nagashima Onsen and get off at either Nabana no Sato (890 yen, 35 minutes) or Nagashima Onsen (1060 yen, 50 minutes).
  • Websitewww.nagashima-onsen.co.jp

Nagoya Agricultural Center

Okay, on the face of it, the word “agricultural” doesn’t exactly scream romance. However, this is the time of year when the beautiful plum blossom trees are beginning to bud, and what could be more delightful than strolling hand in hand beneath the 800 trees of 12 different varieties?

Furthermore, the grounds are ideal for picnics, or you can visit the cafe or the shops selling organic goods or meet some super cute animals you can pet and feed. Oh, and it’s free to enter, so you have more to spend on chocolates and flowers!

  • Where: Kuroishi-2872-3 Tenpakucho Oaza Hirabari, Tempaku Ward, Nagoya (map)
  • Website: city.nagoya.jp…

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Another lovely place for a pleasant romantic stroll on Valentine’s Day is the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The zoo itself has had something of a renovation in recent years and is vastly improved, and then there is the undeniable sex appeal of the world’s most handsome gorilla, Shabani, that is guaranteed to get the romantic juices flowing! However, while many of you may balk at the animals in captivity aspect of the zoo, the Botanical Gardens are still lovely, and the greenhouses are a perfect location to get, if not hot and heavy, at least warm and romantic.

Conca Cucina Italiana

I’m not sure I should be telling you about this place, and if my wife finds out that I have, I may be in big trouble. You see, Conca, a delightful little Italian restaurant not far from Nagoya Station, is where we go on big, romantic occasions, and it’s not difficult to see why. The restaurant is softly lit and tiny (only about four tables), making it the epitome of ‘intimate.’ But it is the food that makes this place so exquisite. On our most recent visit, we had a whole wood pigeon, deep-fried foie gras and anago, and spaghetti in a creamy sea urchin sauce. Everything was divine, particularly with the excellent wine list, which the owners are only too happy to help you match to your meal.

Delicious deep-fried foie gras and anago at Conca Cucina Italiana

And once you have eaten, if you want to go for a quiet drink together, Pub Arco, the absolute best bar in the city* (in fact it’s my favorite in Japan) is just next door. The landlord, Yoshi-san, makes a mean cocktail with a considerable whisky list to choose from.

Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium

There is no doubting the simple, romantic quality of the sea. It could be the relaxing qualities of the undulating water or the majestic gracefulness of the sea creatures, but the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium makes an excellent place for a date.

Wandering around the exhibits holding hands, chuckling at the stranger creatures, laughing together as you get splashed at the dolphin show, one of you looking fidgety as the other mentions that it’s a little-known fact that most penguins mate for life. The Aquarium can get pretty busy over the weekend, but with Valentine’s Day coming on a Tuesday this year, you will likely avoid the crowds of kids.

*Note that this is the writer’s personal view and is not considered an endorsement by More than Relo.

Image by Carlos Honda (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via flickr.com (modified)
Images by Bert Wishart (Own work)Image by Cris Anderson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via flickr.com (modified)

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.