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Free Places to Visit During the Nagoya Festival

September 27, 2018

Nagoya has a long and rich history, and The Nagoya Festival is a great time to celebrate this great city in which we live.

Of course, the parade through the town is the festival’s greatest spectacle, but you may be surprised to know that there are also plenty of other things going on which are free to enter on Sunday, October 21, 2018.

So, once you have seen the parade, why not check out one of these places below.

Nagoya Castle

Perhaps the obvious place to start is the construction of Nagoya-jo as a replacement to the Yanagi-no-maru castle began under the orders of the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1610. Its location along the Tokaido road was of such high importance to both protect trade and resist any potential attacks rising from Osaka, that it is rumored that the castle’s chief architect Nakai Masakiyo was killed to ensure he would not relinquish any of the castle’s security secrets.

Currently, the castle itself is closed for wooden reconstruction. However, the grounds and facilities, including the Hommaru Palace, are open.

You can read more about Nagoya Castle here.

Tokugawa-en

In the eastern suburbs of Nagoya lies Tokugawa Park, an oasis of serenity that was once the retirement home of a powerful samurai. Ryosenko Lake is no longer large enough to hold a 16 oar boat as it had been in its prime, but it still forms the centerpiece of the garden and is filled with large, multi-colored koi carp that are so tame that they come to the water’s edge to greet visitors.

Feeding the lake are tributary streams and creeks, the trickling of which adds to the serenity as you wander along sun-dappled paths, duck beneath overhanging branches and explore stone footbridges that lead to small waterfalls and beautiful rock formations.

Throughout the park there are enchanting gardens of various seasonal flowers, making it a charming area around which to hike no matter the time of year.

You can read more about Tokugawa-en here.

Higashiyama Park and Sky Tower

Higashiyama Park includes the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens, as well as a variety of smaller attractions, shops, and restaurants in addition to the usual playgrounds, trees, and grass found in any ordinary park.  This park, however, is anything but ordinary; it is enormous, well appointed, and well cared for.

You can feed animals at the zoo, sit under the blossoming trees (cherry, plum, wisteria, and apricot), or stroll through some gardens filled with flowering plants. If that is not enough, there are 500+ species of animal at the zoo, including koalas, giraffes, and even a rare leopard, and the Higashiyama Sky Tower, whose 360-degree view of the Nagoya skyline is among Japan’s most popular night views.

Nagoya City Art Museum

Not just an apt name, Nagoya City Art Museum is the city’s premier art show (the Aichi Prefectural Art Museum is also in town, but to my mind, the exhibitions aren’t as good).

Right now is a perfect time to visit, as their exhibition, The Best Selection of the Nagoya City Art Museum is rightly named.  As of March 31, 2018, the collection held 6,278 pieces, and from these, to mark the gallery’s 30th anniversary, the museum is exhibiting selected pieces that showcase the history of its collected works.

Shirotori Garden

Like Tokugawaen, this is another beautiful Japanese garden with a real historical feel and a natural world theme. It is an expansive garden of ponds, hedges, and rivers, covering more than 3.5 hectaresthe main one of which represents the Kiso river and stems from a large mound representing Mt. Ontake.

In the fall months the garden is a mass of greens, golds, and yellows, and though many locals come to wander around taking photos, it is large enough not to feel crowded. When you have finished, why not take a break to sit in the Seiu-tei, a complex of tea ceremony rooms built in the image of a swan, or ‘shirotori’, flying down to rest its wings?

Togokusan Fruit Park

Located about an hour from Nagoya Station, Togokusan Fruit Park is a very convenient place to enjoy fruit picking, a very popular pastime in Japan, enjoyed by families, friends, and couples.

The park features 15 orchards of various local fruits, a ”World Orchard” of tropical fruits, and a fruit house for educational activities. In addition to the fruit related-fun, you can find a lovely Japanese garden, expansive fields full of seasonal flowers, and of course the standard assortment of restaurants and gift shops.

Mark Guthrie

Image: by Toby Oxborrow via flickr.com (CC BY SA 2.0)

Image: by Marufish via flickr.com (CC BY SA 2.0)

Image: by rumpleteaser via flickr.com (CC BY SA 2.0)

Image: by JIS archive

Image: by http://www.art-museum.city.nagoya.jp/

Image: by Mark Guthrie (Own Work)

Image: by Sue & Danny Yee via flickr.com (CC BY SA 2.0)

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