Getting from Tokyo to Nagoya and vice-versa couldn't be easier, as both destinations are connected with each other by the Shinkansen. If you have decided to get a Japan Rail Pass then you can enjoy this trip for free. You can take a Hikari train which takes roughly 110 minutes to travel from Tokyo to Nagoya.
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If you don't have a JR Pass, for a one-way fare from Tokyo to Nagoya you will have to pay around 10,000 yen for a non-reserved seat and 11,000 yen for a reserved seat. As the Shinkansen prices are quite high, it's definitely worth investing in a Japan Rail Pass for at least 7 days. This will enable you to travel even further and enjoy an array of Japanese cities. For example, you can check our comprehensive 2 week Japan itinerary for organising a trip of a lifetime.
Where is Nagoya
Nagoya is roughly 340 km West of Tokyo. Nagoya is the capital of Japan's Aichi Prefecture, located in central Honshu, in Chūbu region. The region is also known as the Tōkai region. Nagoya is located North of the Ise Bay, on the Nōbi Plain. The city is built on low-level plateaus and these plains are one of Japan's most fertile areas. Due to its key central location, Nagoya developed economically and politically, now being the 4th most populous urban area in Japan.
Why visit Nagoya
There are so many things to do in Nagoya. Under the patronage of the Owari lords, Nagoya became a key trading city. As the lords took an interest in drama and arts, many actors becoming to visit Nagoya. Arts and culture further developed in the city and the cultural scene flourished during the Edo Period. Nagoya is home to many museums, and the Nagoya Castle is perhaps one of the most important buildings from the Owari Tokugawa era. A notable museum in Nagoya is the Tokugawa Art Museum which contains 10 National Treasures of Japan, including some of the oldest scrolls of The Tale of Genji.
There some interesting things to be tasted too, as Nagoya has its own cuisine. Amongst popular Japanese foods, the Red misokatsu is definitely a Nagoya signature dish. Red Miso is made from soybeans and is usually fermented for a longer period of time. This gives it a deep umami flavoured and a beautiful red to dark brown colour. You can eat Tebasaki, chicken wings marinated in a sweet sauce or Tenmusu which is a rice ball wrapped with nori and filled with deep-fried tempura.
Tokyo to Nagoya Shinkansen
As previously mentioned, getting from Tokyo to Nagoya via Shinkansen is the quickest and easiest way. The ride takes around 110 minutes which is incredible given the distance between the two cities. The slowest Shinkansen between Tokyo and Nagoya is the Kodama train. This takes around 3 hours and it offers discount tickets for those who wish to travel around Japan on a budget.
Yo save money, you can buy a non-reserved ticket, or simply board the train with your Japan Rail Pass. If you plan on travelling with luggage, it is recommended that you book a seat, preferably one or two days in advance. Remember that the ticket price increases if you book a seat, but it remains free with your Japan Rail Pass.
Tokyo to Nagoya Airlines
You can fly from Tokyo to Nagoya, usually between Haneda and Chubu Centrair International Airport. Depending on when you book your ticket, expect prices between ¥7,000 to ¥20,000 for a regular one-way journey. The flight is around 70 minutes. Given that you need to get from Tokyo to Haneda, then from the Chubu Airport to Nagoya, plus the time spent in the airport prior to your flight, it seems that this option is not only more expensive but also slower. Flying into Nagoya could be a great option if you are travelling from Sapporo or Okinawa.
Tokyo to Nagoya Highway Buses
If you are a budget traveller, then Tokyo to Nagoya via the highway bus is a great option. A one-way ticket is around ¥3,000. However, expect the journey to take around 6-8 hours. For those interested in saving, you can take this bus during the night and save on accommodation as well as travel.
Tokyo to Nagoya Local Trains
If you are happy to take the slow travel route but still want to travel by train, then Japanese local trains might be the solution. The Tokyo to Nagoya journey will still take around 6 hours and it will cost around ¥6,000.
A quick summary of Tokyo to Nagoya options
Based on all of the above, I think it's fair to say that in order to get from Tokyo to Nagoya, it's best to take the Shinkansen. I did have the JR Pass during our time in Japan and we very much enjoyed travelling all around Honshu.
In conclusion, if you want the fastest and easiest way to get from Tokyo to Nagoya, then a trip with the Shinkansen is your best bet. For the most cost-effective option, take the overnight highway bus.
What is it going to be for you? How will travel from Tokyo to Nagoya? Tell me all about it in the comments section below.