Nagoya City – It’s Not That Boring
Nagoya has been described on more than one occasion as the most boring city in Japan. So boring in fact, that The Japan Times reported on it back in 2016 and not only was it voted the most boring city for travellers and holidaymakers, but even its own residents were the only group who didn’t choose their own city as their number one city in Japan, unlike every other city in the running. There is even a website called ‘Nagoya Is Not Boring‘ that in its mission to dispel the misconception that Nagoya is the dullest place in the Land of the Rising Sun, offers various tours of the town and other touristic activities exclusive to the city.
Now I am not going to sit here and defend Nagoya against the likes of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. They can be considered much more interesting for many different reasons, Tokyo being the obvious one, as it stretches far beyond any other area in Japan in terms of size and variety. But I have lived in Nagoya now for over five years, and while I can see how from an outsider’s perspective the city can be a bit dull and uninteresting, there are few other places in Japan I feel I’d like to live in. I’ve decided to make a new series of posts to explore some of Nagoya’s highlights.
Some of these will be rather personal to me, such as a bar or a little park here and there that other people may not go to nor ever will, and larger more popular areas that may be of more interest to those who don’t know much about Nagoya and the international reader. Either way I hope that whatever I do write, anyone can enjoy.
I have a few places lined up that I’d like to visit, but due to COVID-19 (oh and did I mention my broken hip? I think I might have mentioned that in one or two of my previous posts…) keeping me indoors every day, I am limited to the areas to which I can go and therefore it will take a little longer before I can really get into this series properly. In the mean time, however, I’d like to give everyone a quick introduction to Nagoya to get things started and give the uninitiated a bit of background before we get into the real meat.
Since the year 2015 of the birth of our lord Jesus Christ (or Heisei 27 in the Japanese calendar), I’ve lived in a number of different parts of Nagoya, moving around mainly out of convenience and various other factors I’d rather not go into, and have had the opportunity to see quite a bit of the city, but not nearly enough.
The city is located in the prefecture of Aichi (think of it more of a county in the UK), which is smack bang in the middle of the capital of Tokyo to the east and the city of Osaka to the west. The location of Nagoya itself is the cause of some contention due the habit of people to ‘skip’ Nagoya on their way between Osaka and Tokyo, two much more popular places as I’ve mentioned already. I remember seeing a report on the news recently that was about a particular coffee shop chain called Komeda, and how it was so popular in other parts of the country ‘even though it’s from Nagoya’. What cheek! This is the general attitude that many people have of this city and one that I will help to try and bust.
Nagoya is made up of 16 wards, all of which I am happy enough to say that I remember! I won’t list through them all now, but we will meet them as they come and I’ll provide more information on each as we go. Check out the map below for a quick overview.
It’s a very successful and wealthy city of commerce, technology and manufacturing, which is often overlooked from the average person, as I’m sure the main concern for them is the tourist spots and not what companies are located here. Of which, I might add, there are many. And not just Japanese companies either. There are many aerospace-related companies that operate in Nagoya both Japanese and foreign with the number of foreign workers living in the city always on the rise.
It isn’t just all about manufacturing, though, and that’s what I’d like to address in this series. There are museums, galleries, temples, shrines and castles to explore. There are great restaurants and bars to visit. It holds various festivals that travel the length and breadth of the country, at many of which the always-slightly drunk five times-elected mayor Mr Kawamura will attend shouting ‘I love you!’ in English. Nagoya truly has it all.
I’ve written a few posts on some parts of Nagoya in the past, which was the inspiration for me to start up this series and one that I really wish I had started earlier. I’ve left a few links below to some of my older posts that are in the vein of what future posts will be like. It’s been less than a year since I started this blog and how different the older posts feel already! Now I’m starting to think that my more recent ones are too long… Ah! Anyway, if you haven’t already, check out some of my old posts and look forward to what’s to come!