If you’ve been wondering what are the best things to do in Nagoya at night, look no further! We’ve got the lowdown here! Capital of Japan’s Aichi prefecture, the city of Nagoya is situated in central Honshu Island, roughly 35 minutes east of Kyoto on the bullet train, or two hours by road. Although its name might not come to mind quite so readily as Tokyo does, cosmopolitan Nagoya has a wealth of attractions to keep the visitor enthralled. By day and by night, its castle, museums, and entertainment complexes give an incredible insight into the country’s past, present, and future.
Our pick of the best things to do in Nagoya at night
1. Gaze down on the city from Nagoya TV tower
A spectacular way to begin any night-time exploration of Nagoya is at the city’s TV tower. Although it no longer operates with the original function for which it was built in the mid-1950s, this 180-meter tower hasn’t become an unwanted eyesore. Quite the contrary, the TV tower is regularly cited by locals themselves as one of the best things to do in Nagoya at night. Hit one of its two observation decks come nightfall – the Skydeck at 90 meters, or the Sky Balcony a further 10 meters up – and you’ll be rewarded with incredible sights of the glittering city below you. At ground level, you can then mingle with Nagoya residents in the park, Hisaya Odori Park, where the tower is located.
2. Visit Nagoya Castle at night
If anything, the exquisite curved roofs and Japanese architecture of Nagoya Castle are enhanced with the precise lighting set-up which ignites its walls each evening. Come August, the castle takes on an even more exciting nightly attraction as the site of Japan’s oldest summer festival. You’ll find stalls of traditional foods, games, a beer tent, and traditional Bon Odori Buddhist dancing, a way of honoring the ancestors, as well.
3. Drop by Sunshine
Ask a local for one of the best things to do in Nagoya at night and they’re sure to direct you towards the Sunshine Sakae shopping and entertainment complex too. In addition to being one of the top places in the city to check out Japan’s favorite international brands in a relaxing setting, the Sunshine Sakae complex is also overflowing with options when it comes to food and drink, whether you’re after sushi and sashimi or a burger and fries. But what really sets Sunshine Sakae apart from any of the city’s other shopping malls is its Ferris wheel, lit up with thousands of LED lights as the sun sets on another wonderful day in Nagoya Japan.
4. Check out the goods on offer at Nagoya Night Market
Nagoya Night Market, also known as Nayabashi Yoichi, has a wonderful location along the banks of the city’s Horikawa River, and is as evocative as it gets for anyone visiting Nagoya. The small lanterns that dot the stalls make for an unforgettable ambiance that brings the Japan of old to mind. When it comes to shopping, the stalls are as varied as the people who visit them, with foods and handicrafts all on offer. Unfortunately, it runs on the last Sunday of every month only, but is definitely worth checking out as one of the best things to do in Nagoya at night if you happen to be in the city on that date!
5. Take to the water on a Kaizoku cruise
Its coastal location edging Ise Bay means there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water in Nagoya, and none can be bettered than a night-time Kaizoku cruise. Not only does this cruise give you the only chance to take in the cityscape from afar, amid the gentle waves of the bay, but it comes with a full night of entertainment, including the nerve-jangling antics of samurai swordsmen in traditional costume. Alternatively, there’s also the chance for a port factory cruise. Though this may at first sound far from one of the best things to do in Nagoya at night, this cruise is a fascinating take on what makes Nagoya the city it is today.
6. Enjoy the bright lights of the winter illuminations
Japan is well-known right around the world for its beautifully-manicured traditional gardens, and no visit to Nagoya is complete without an after-dark visit to Shirotori Garden. The garden is also known for its intricate Japanese tea ceremonies, and the colors that burnish the landscape in autumn. Come winter, Shirotori Garden adds a further string to its bow, with a series of cleverly-placed illuminations that enhance the already-stunning backdrop. Elsewhere, you can also find two lots of winter illuminations in Hisagoya Odori Park (home to the Nagoya TV tower), where more than 100,000 LED bulbs are used.
7. Wonder at the stars at the Brother Earth planetarium
Part of Nagoya City Science Museum, the Brother Earth planetarium dates back just ten years, though its subject matter stretches right back to the dawn of the universe. With a diameter of 35-meters, it also claims to be the largest planetarium dome anywhere in the world. Its use of LCD screens means you get to explore the night’s sky in a detail never before possible. While at the museum, be sure to also save some time to check out the aurora film, screened at -30°C for a heightened experience.
8. Explore the city’s nightlife
Nagoya’s nightlife surprises many who visit with its diversity. One of the best things to do in Nagoya at night when it comes to higher-brow culture, the Nagoya Aichi Arts Center is a concert venue that is the hub for authentic Japanese performances. If jazz and blues is more your thing, be sure to pay a visit to Blue Note bar, which hosts regular live performances from local and international performers, and also offers very well-regarded plates of food. To witness the Japanese at their most laid-back stop by ID café, not so much a coffee shop as an expansive nightclub. Extending over five floors, it’s the place to head to uncover the city’s clubbing scene, with DJ sets throughout the week.
9. Catch the latest Hollywood blockbuster
A night at the cinema remains a popular way of meeting up with friends across Japan, and Nagoya is no different. There are a number of cinemas dotted about the city, with generally very high standards of technological innovation and comfort. For the best of the best, you’ll want to spend an evening or two at 109 Cinemas and its IMAX screen. A gift shop sells some movie merchandise, while its location close to Market Square and the Nagoya TV Tower makes it the perfect place to start or end an evening.
10. Sample all Japanese cuisine has to offer
Long gone are the days when Nagoya was thought of as a somewhat boring city of factories, as you’ve hopefully already discovered! And while the city will never be able to match the food-fame of Kyoto or Tokyo, there are still plenty of dishes worth tasting. For one thing, miso was born in this region of Japan, and it would be a travesty to leave Nagoya without having sampled miso katsu – breaded pork cutlets in a thick miso sauce.
There you have it! The best things to do in Nagoya at night! We hope you enjoy our choices!