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Nagoya is the capital and largest city of Aichi prefecture, in the Chubu region of Honshu. The hub of the Aichi region, Nagoya is Japan's fourth-largest city and one of the nation's major economic centers. In terms of manufacturing, as home to automaking giants Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi Motors, Nagoya is to Japan what Detroit is to the United States. If you do decide to stick around, there are plenty of car-related attractions, a restored castle, an ancient shrine and surprisingly happening nightlife.

Built on the site of one of Toyota's original loom factories, Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology tells the story of the Toyota corporation, from its beginnings as an industrial loom manufacturer to its transformation into one of the world's largest car manufacturers. Includes large loom machinery and car display halls as well as a hands-on "Technoland" with interactive science exhibits. Museum also includes a library, video library with personal viewing booths, restaurant, cafe, and gift shop. Fans of marine life will definitely be excited to dolphins and killer whales (among others) at the Port of Nagoya Aquarium. Atsuta Shrine houses the sacred Kusanagi no Mitsurugi sword, one of the three Imperial regalia of Japan. Nobody but the emperor and a few high priests have seen the sword. There are some 4,400 other artifacts on the grounds though and the shrine hosts some 70 festivals every year.

Nagoya Castle is trumpeted as a famous landmark, particularly the two golden carp on the roof. The original castle was home to Oda Nobunaga, one of Japan's famous warlords. Largely destroyed during the war, the current castle is a concrete replica of the original, and was completed in 1959. The Castle houses an interesting museum (no flash photography on 1st floor), observation deck, and surrounding gardens. At the Shirotori Garden, you can see and feed koi fish in large ponds, take a look at the tea ceremony house, and also view the beautiful waterfall. On spring the plum trees bloom beautifully and on autumn you can enjoy the night illumination.

For 15 days in mid-July every year, watch the big boys of Japanese sumo battle it out in Nagoya Sumo Tournament. An annual tradition. you can also watch fans of Japanese animation from around the world dress up as their favorite anime characters and parade around the streets of Nagoya at the World Cosplay Summit. The Summit culminates with the World Cosplay Championship pitting teams from a number of countries as they show off their costumes and perform stage shows in tribute to their favorite Japanimation characters.

Osu Shopping Arcade is a series of old style shopping arcades packed with mom-and-pop stores, ¥100 shops, traditional crafts, used computers and a fantastic range of clothing stores. There is a little bit of everything. Osu is the shopping area and Osu Kannon the temple just to the west side. In fact, the shopping area extends from Osu Kannon temple in the west to Bansho-ji temple and Otsu-dori street in the east. Outside of the main shopping arcade, there are also a number of streets with a wide array of different specialty shops.

Nagoya is big on miso, a sauce made from fermented soybeans and grain. You should not leave the city without trying misokatsu, fried pork cutlet with a rich, red miso sauce on it. The other Nagoya classic is shrimp tempura, particularly when wrapped up in rice and dried seaweed and turned into a handy portable package known as a tenmusu.



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