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Where to stay in Nagoya - Best Areas And Hotels For 2024

A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Perfect Place to Stay in Nagoya for First-Time Visitors

Where to stay in Nagoya, evening city shot

Nagoya is a vibrant city located in central Japan, known for its fascinating blend of traditional and modern culture. As the fourth-largest city in Japan, Nagoya offers a diverse range of attractions, from its ancient temples and castles to its cutting-edge museums and shopping districts.

If you're wondering where to stay in Nagoya, the city centre is the best place to base yourself, especially if you're visiting for the first time.

There are many areas in Nagoya that cater to different preferences and budgets. If you want to be close to the city's main transportation hubs, stay in Nagoya Central. Osu is also great choices for couples who want to be close to the city's nightlife and entertainment districts.

For families, Sakae is a good place to stay as it offers easy access to family friendly attractions and also close to many parks and green spaces for children to play in.

If you want to experience the city's shopping and entertainment, consider staying in Sakae, close to the Osu Shopping District. This area is home to many shopping malls, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

In this guide, I will elaborate on each area and explain in detail why it's interesting and ideal for your preference, budget, and travel style.

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Where to stay in Nagoya?

Best Neighbourhoods:

  • Best area for first time visitors: Nagoya City Centre
  • Best area for couples: Sakae
  • Best area for families: Sakae
  • Best area for shopping and entertainment: Sakae, Osu
  • Best area for budget: Noritake
Where to stay in Nagoya Summary
❤️ Best Area for first-timers: Nagoya City Centre
💎 Best luxury 5* hotel: Nagoya Kanko Hotel
🏨 Best mid-range hotel: Nikko Style Nagoya
🛏️ Best budget hotel: Hotel Vista Nagoya Nishik

Nagoya Neighbourhood Map

Where to stay in Nagoya?

Nagoya has seen a rise in popularity in recent years, leading to a surge in new accommodations. From luxurious hotels to quirky hostels, there is no shortage of options in the city. Nagoya is a walkable city, so you will never be too far away from the fascinating attractions. Public transportation is also a convenient with its six subway lines, trains and numerous buses.

It's important to note that Nagoya can experience hot and humid summers, so it's best to plan your visit in the cooler months. The best time to visit Nagoya is in late autumn and early spring.

Nagoya is divided into different wards, each with its own distinct charm. Here are some recommended areas to stay in Nagoya, along with their pros and cons:

  • Nagoya City Centre - This area is the heart of the city and is great for first time visitors. It's also perfect if you want to be near the city's main shopping and entertainment districts.
  • Osu - This area is ideal for couples or if you want to experience Nagoya's nightlife scene.
  • Nagoya Central - This area is perfect for history buffs, as it's home to many historical and cultural attractions. It's also a good choice for families as there are many parks and green spaces nearby.
  • Sakae, Osu - Known for their high-end shopping and entertainment, making it ideal for families who want to be close to these attractions.
  • The central areas - It's a great choice for families who want to stay close to the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens or the Aquarium.

Our favourite area in Nagoya was the city centre, given how close we were to major attractions. However, if you're looking for a more tranquil and historic experience, the Northern areas, Naka Ward is a great place with its numerous temples, shrines, and museums.

The Best Places To Stay In Nagoya

Tips for selecting the best accommodation in Nagoya

When it comes to choosing where to stay in Nagoya, there are several factors to take into account. Nagoya has a huge metropolitan area and offers a vast selection of accommodation types to suit every traveller's budget, preferred location, and personal travel style.

Here are some tips and recommendations to help you find the best accommodation for your trip:

  • Plan ahead: Nagoya is a popular tourist destination, and its accommodations can book up quickly, especially during peak seasons (spring, autumn). Make your reservations well in advance to secure the best places to stay.
  • Assess your budget: From luxurious hotels to budget-friendly guest houses, Nagoya offers a variety of accommodations that cater to all budgets. Determine how much you're willing to spend each day and search for options that fit your budget. I always recommend a luxury, mid-range and budget hotel for you to pick from.
  • Think about location: Nagoya is a bustling city that has many neighbourhoods with their own unique character and attractions. Consider what you want to see and do during your trip and select a location that is convenient for your plans.
  • Consider your preferences: Nagoya has a diverse array of sights and experiences to offer, from historic temples to modern entertainment districts. When deciding where to stay, think about your interests and what you want to get out of your trip.
  • Create an itinerary: If you plan to explore different parts of Nagoya, you may want to consider staying in different neighbourhoods each night. This allows you to experience different aspects of the city and create a more flexible itinerary.

No matter where you choose to stay in Nagoya, you can expect to be immersed in Japanese culture, sample delicious local cuisine, and encounter a lively and welcoming atmosphere.

Nagoya City Centre (Downtown)

Nagoya Castle (Unsplash)

  • Nagoya Central is the best place to stay for first time visitors, close to attractions and sights
  • It is centred around the Nagoya Train Station, with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options
  • Important sights: Nagoya Castle, Sky Tower, Mirai Tower, Hisaya Odori Park
  • Nagoya City Centre has hotels for all budgets, excellent subway connections
  • It is a very walkable area, and it is safe even at night

The Nagoya Central can be found at the junction of three districts: Naka Ward, Nishi Ward, and Nakamura Ward. The central area is made up of 4 larger neighbourhoods: Meitetsu, Marunouchi, Hisayaodori, and Nishiki. Knowing these names might help you while looking for hotels, and also when searching for subway stations.

Downtown Nagoya is the beating heart of the city, boasting a bustling hub of activity centred around the giant Nagoya Train Station. As the main transportation hub for the region, the station is a hive of activity with a constant stream of Shinkansens arriving from Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. But the station isn't just a transit point; it's a destination in its own right, with 18 towering stories that house stores, restaurants, and a wealth of entertainment. Below ground, you'll find three more levels of shopping streets, malls, and entertainment venues to keep you occupied for hours.

But it's not just the station that draws visitors to this area. The streets surrounding it are packed with shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, and izakayas, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening. Did I mention all the karaoke places?

As a first time visitor, no doubt, your first trip is going to be to the Nagoya Castle. Originally built in 1612 and reconstructed in 1959 after the war, Nagoya Castle is an important cultural and historical landmark in Japan. The castle has an impressive five-story donjon (fortified tower), which houses a museum with exhibits on the history and culture of the Owari region. The castle gardens are breathtaking all year around, but are especially stunning during the cherry blossom season and the autumn leaves festival.

The Sky Promenade is a must-visit attraction with the best views of the city. Located on the 46th floor of the Sky Tower, right in front of the station building, the Sky Promenade offers a stunning 360-degree view of the city. After taking the high-speed elevator to the top of the tower, enjoy the breathtaking views from the outdoor observation deck.

Visit Noritake no Mori Gallery, a gallery showcasing the history and artistry of Noritake, one of Japan's most famous porcelain brands. It houses a collection of ceramics from various periods, including pieces that are over 100 years old. Learn about the company's history, its artistic techniques, and its impact on the Japanese porcelain industry.

Next in the central area is the Mirai Tower. The 170 meters (557 ft) tall tower has 34 floors and houses offices, restaurants, and shops. The tower also offers a stunning view of the city from its observation deck on the 31st floor, providing visitors with a unique perspective of Nagoya's skyline.

Surrounding the Mirai Tower, Hisaya Odori Park is a great place to relax after walking in Nagoya the whole day. The 2 km long park runs along the Hisaya Odori Boulevard, and it features fountains, a rose garden, and a playground for children. You can enjoy a picnic on the lawn (mental note for cherry blossom season), take a leisurely walk along the paths, or simply sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. In October, the Nagoya Matsuri festival takes place with traditional Japanese music, dance, and food. It's a celebration of the Koyo, the autumn colours. Underneath the park, there are - as you have probably already guessed - shopping streets, with many restaurants, bars, and cafés.

Why stay in Nagoya City Centre

You will find a hotel fairly easily in this area for any budget. Most hotels are sound proofed, but if you are a light sleeper, check the hotel description before booking. If you can, avoid booking a place next to the main roads.

Food, drinks, and entertainment is abundant. You will find anything you want, from traditional through international to modern. Read this article on local foods that you should try during your stay in Nagoya.

The city centre has excellent subway connections to get to all the other important attractions in the city within minutes via the Sakuradori and Higashiyama Lines.

Tip: This is a very walkable area, but I recommend that you take advantage of the subway if your destination is more than 20 mins walk away to preserve your energy.

Safety is exceptional, even at night. The streets are well lit and very safe.

Where to stay in Nagoya City Centre

Luxury: Nagoya Kanko Hotel

Nagoya Kanko Hotel is a downtown hotel that has been in operation since 1936. It has air-conditioned rooms with amenities such as a TV, minibar, and electric kettle, and en suite bathrooms with a shower and bathtub. The hotel has a fitness centre, beauty salon, and shopping arcade, and offers massage treatments, concierge services, and in-room dining. There are five restaurants on-site.
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Mid-range: Dormy Inn Premium

The hotel has a natural hot spring bath that all guests can enjoy, and is surrounded by shops and restaurants in Nagoya Centre. The guest rooms have modern decor and amenities such as a private bathroom, free amenities, a safety box, and free WiFi.
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Budget: Travelodge

Travelodge is a 3-star budget hotel with air-conditioned rooms, free WiFi, and features a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage. The rooms are equipped with a TV and a hairdryer.
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Sakae

Science Museum Nagoya

  • Sakae is a great place to stay for families with kids
  • The area is bustling with shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment
  • Main attractions are Oasis 21, Aichi Museum of Arts, Nagoya City Science Museum
  • Sakae offers accommodation for all budgets
  • It has excellent subway connections to explore other attractions
  • The area is safe and walkable, with lots of parks and playgrounds for kids.

Sakae is a small neighbourhood within the Downtown area. It's an excellent place to stay for families with kids looking for a central location. The area is a hub of activity, with bustling streets packed with shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment.

One of the area's main draws is the towering Oasis 21 building, a must-visit attraction. The building features a futuristic design and houses shops, restaurants, and a large observation deck. It is next to the above-mentioned Mirai Tower.

If you're interested in art and culture, the Aichi Museum of Arts should be on your list. This huge art museum features a concert hall, theatres, galleries, and exhibition spaces, showcasing a wide range of art including works from Studio Ghibli.

Another notable cultural institution is the Nagoya Science Museum, which has interactive exhibits on topics such as space, robotics, and ecology. The museum's exhibits cover a wide range of scientific topics, from space exploration and astronomy to biology and ecology, and it's very popular for families visiting with kids. One of the most impressive attractions is a full-scale model of the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo", which is part of the International Space Station. You can enter the model and experience what it's like to be an astronaut in space.

In addition to its exhibits, the museum has a planetarium that offers shows in English. The planetarium's dome is 35 meters in diameter, making it one of the largest in the world, and it really is a must-see not just for kids.

Why stay in Sakae

Sakae offers accommodation for all budgets, but note that the better hotels book up fast during main season. The area has excellent subway connections to the rest of the city, making it easy to explore other attractions. You can take the Meijo Subway Line to the Nagoya Castle.

Sakae is a safe and walkable area, with well-lit streets. Lots of parks and playground for kids.

Where to stay in Sakae

Luxury: Nagoya Tokyu Hotel

Nagoya Tokyu Hotel offers a fitness centre with indoor pool, sauna, and three dining options. The spacious rooms feature European-style furniture, imported European fabrics, a flat-screen satellite TV, and a minibar, a bathrobe, slippers, a tea maker, seating area, and bathtub.
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Mid-range: Dormy Inn Premium

Surrounded by shops and restaurants in the centre of Nagoya, the hotel offers a natural hot spring bath for all guests to enjoy. The guest rooms feature modern decor and amenities including a private bathroom, complimentary toiletries, a safe deposit box, and free WiFi.
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Budget: Hotel Trusty

Hotel Trusty has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi access, a fridge, an electric kettle. The bathroom includes a bathtub, amenities, and slippers. Guests can relax with body care or try a new hairdo at the hair salon.
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Osu (Naka Ward)

Osu Kannon Buddhist Temple (Unsplash)

  • Osu is the best place to stay if you want to do some shopping
  • Osu Shopping District is the oldest shopping district in Nagoya
  • Osu Kannon is a 14th-century Buddhist temple
  • Osu has a vibrant nightlife scene with many bars, clubs, and izakayas
  • There are few hotels left in the area, mostly large business hotels with smallish rooms.
  • Public transportation is good with two main subway stations nearby
  • Safety is excellent, and most shops in the district close around 6-7pm

Osu is a popular destination for tourists because of its lively atmosphere, historical landmarks, and many shopping opportunities. There's always something new to discover. Osu is the best place to stay if you want to do some shopping.

One of the main reasons to stay close by is the Osu Shopping District, the oldest shopping districts in Nagoya. The (partly covered) street is lined with shops selling everything from traditional Japanese souvenirs to modern fashion and accessories. There are also plenty of cafés, restaurants, and street food.

Another popular landmark is the Osu Kannon, a Buddhist temple that dates back to the 14th century. This small temple is home to a large statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Take a break and visit the temple grounds to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere in the midst of the busy city.

Osu is also known for its vibrant nightlife scene. The area has many bars, clubs, and izakayas, and it's a great place to experience Nagoya's unique nightlife. Alternatively, Nishiki neighbourhood has even more places to have a drink and relax after a long they of exploring.

Why stay in Osu

Let's face it, the main reason to stay in Osu is the shopping district. You can spend about 3 hours walking around just checking out the merch in each shop. Don't forget to pick up some street food at the market. Try the local hitsumabushi (grilled eel served on top of a bed of rice and flavoured with a special sauce) or the miso katsu (breaded pork cutlet served with a rich and savoury miso-based sauce). For dessert, pick up an anpan or dango. I am getting hungry just writing about this.

There aren't that many hotels in the area, as they have gone bankrupt due to the pandemic. The few that has left are large business hotels with smallish rooms. If you are lucky, you might find a bargin.

Public transportation is good, you have two main subway stations nearby to take you to other parts of Nagoya. The shopping area is very walkable, most streets are close to traffic during the day.

Safety is excellent, as in most places in Japan. Most shops in the district will close around 6-7pm. The food stalls might close a bit earlier.

Where to stay in Osu

Family Friendly: Grand Base Osu

This 3-star apart hotel rooms include a kettle, private bathroom with a bidet and a hair dryer, and free WiFi. The rooms are also air-conditioned and have a flat-screen TV. Some units have family rooms available.
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Noritake (Nakamura Ward)

Nagoya Streets

  • Stay in Noritake for budget accommodation
  • Noritake is a mainly residential with business-style hotels
  • Walk or take public transportation to reach the city's sights and attractions
  • Public transportation is excellent and provides access to the main station, all the JR lines to Tokyo and Kyoto, and the subway
  • It's also a good location for a day trip from Nagoya to Gifu
  • Safety in Noritake is very good

Noritake is an area located behind Nagoya Train Station, within the larger Nakamura Ward. It's mainly a residential area, but there are some tall business-style hotels located very close to the station or along the Sakuradori Subway Line, which ends at the Taiko-dori Station. These hotels offer good budget accommodation.

Since Noritake is mostly residential, you will need to walk or take public transport to see the sights and attractions of the city.

During your stay, check out the Animate Nagoya chain store, which sells anime books (in Japanese only), t-shirts, posters, bags, and other merchandise.

A bit out of the way of the most visited attractions, Nakamura Park with its large red torii gate and the Toyokuni Shrine is a great place to have a stroll and relax. Then, walk along the tree-lined street towards Nakamurakoen Station to head back to the centre. Grab a bowl of ramen from Taiyo Shokudo on the way.

Why stay in Noritake

Noritake is a great option if you're seeking budget-friendly accommodations and are willing to travel a bit further to reach the city's attractions. However, since there's not much to see or do in this mostly residential area, it's recommended to stay closer to the main train station. While there are a few restaurants in the area, there's nothing particularly noteworthy.

Luckily, public transportation is excellent, providing easy access to the main station, all the JR lines to Tokyo and Kyoto, and the subway, which can quickly take you to any important sights. It's also great if you are planning to take a day trip from Nagoya to Gifu Castle and Gifu village.

Safety in Noritake is very good.

Where to stay in Noritake

Mid-range: Sanco Inn

All rooms in Sanco Inn feature free WiFi and a flat-screen TV, as well as air conditioning and a desk. The hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage for guests.
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Budget: Via Inn

Via Inn provides guest rooms that include air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, a hairdryer, and a desk. The private bathroom is equipped with a shower, slippers, and bathrobes, and the rooms come with bed linen and towels.
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Must see places in Nagoya

Ghibli Park

A huge park dedicated to the films and animations of Studio Ghibli, a well known Japanese animation studio. The park is located West of Nagoya, about 45 minutes train ride from the centre. Take the Higashiyama Subway Line to Fujigaoka Station, change to the Linimo Line and ride the train to the Ai-Chikyuhaku-Kinen-Koen Station. Visiting the park is a perfect day out for a family with kids or couples who love the works of Ghibli. To get easy access to the Ghibli Park, stay in Nagoya Central or Sakae.

Gifu Castle and Village

Gifu Village A-Frame Houses in the snow (Unsplash)

A historic castle and traditional Japanese village located North of Nagoya in Gifu. The Gifu Castle was originally built in the late 16th century and is famous for its stunning views of the surrounding area. I probably don't even have to say, but it's best to visit during the cherry blossom season or the autumn leaves festival for perfect views.

Gifu Village, located at the foot of the castle, is a reconstructed traditional Japanese village that showcases life during the Edo period (1603-1868). Gifu Village is a world-famous attraction that is well-known for its snow-covered A-frame houses, as depicted in numerous pictures.

Stay in Nagoya Central to get easy access to Gifu. It takes about 20-30 mins on the Tokaido Line to Gifu Station. From the station, you can walk for an hour through the city to the castle or take a bus.

I highly recommend that you sit down for lunch or dinner here before heading back to Nagoya. Try the Hida Beef or Ayu Sweetfish both dishes local to Gifu.

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Just 20 minutes subway ride on the Higashiyama Line and you are in one of the largest zoos in Japan. The zoo is home to a wide variety of animals, including elephants, tigers, lions, and many species of primates. The botanical gardens feature a diverse range of plant life, including a large collection of cherry blossom trees. The Victorian style glass houses have countless palm species and tropical plants. It's a great day out for the family, and it's worth staying until sunset to marvel at the beautifully illuminated park and lake.

There aren't any hotels close to the gardens, so stay near the Higashiyama Line in Sakae for easy access.

Nagoya Aquarium

Nagoya Aquarium Whale Shark

My favourite thing is to visit the aquarium anywhere we go. The Nagoya Aquarium has a wide variety of marine life from around the world, including sharks, dolphins, penguins, and sea turtles. Don't miss the giant tank that houses the majestic whale sharks, orcas, and manta rays. If you arrive early, you can avoid the queues, otherwise, prepare to wait 20-30 mins for entry.

The aquarium is located at the Nagoya Port, about 30-35 mins away from the centre areas. Take the Meitetsu-Limited Express to Kanayam Station and switch to the Meiko Line to get there quickly. There aren't any good hotels in this area, so I don't think you should stay here.

Arimatsu no Machinami

The Arimatsu district is famous for its traditional Japanese architecture, including many well-preserved Edo-era buildings. It's a couple of hours walk to explore the streets and sample the street vendors merchandise. This street is part of the Old Tokaido Road a historic road that linked Edo (modern-day Tokyo) and Kyoto during the Edo period.

Take the Meitetsu-Nagoya Line to the Arimatsu Station. It only takes about 20-25 mins to get here.

Getting to Nagoya from Tokyo

There are several ways to travel from Tokyo to Nagoya. The fastest and most convenient option is the bullet train (Shinkansen), which takes approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes on the fastest trains. The Shinkansen departs from both Tokyo Station and Shinagawa Station and arrives at Nagoya Station in the centre.

Frequently Asked Questions about Nagoya

  • Is it worth staying in Nagoya?

    Yes, absolutely! There are so many things to see and do, local foods to try, traditional villages to explore that I wholeheartedly recommend that you stay in Nagoya for at least a couple of days during your trip to Japan.

  • How many days should you stay in Nagoya?

    I recommend staying in Nagoya for at least 2 days, so you have time to experience the city. Even if you stay in the centre and walk to the main attractions, eat some good food and try the local drinks, you will spend 2 days in Nagoya.

    If you want to have a trip to Gifu, that's a whole day, the aquarium, and the zoo can be done in one day, but it's a bit tight. The Ghibli park is about half a day.

    So overall, if you want to see everything - and why not - you will need about 4-5 days in Nagoya.

  • Is Nagoya tourist friendly?

    Nagoya is a tourist friendly city, very walkable with excellent public transport and good, affordable accommodation. The locals are friendly and accommodating, like everywhere you go in Japan. Nagoya is a foreigner friendly place, most restaurants in the central areas will have an English menu and the waiters will speak at least some English. It's easy to get around the city, placenames are clear and written in English as well as Japanese.

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