Nagoya is one of the top five largest cities in Japan in terms of population and area and it happens to be an hour and a half train ride away from me (that’s if you don’t get lost). Over the weekend, I went to meet up with my pen pal, Emma from the Netherlands, and we had a fun day going around the city! She is here on vacation and we made it a point to meet each other.
However, the train ride to Nagoya was a little stressful. I got on the wrong train, one that left two minutes before the one I wanted to go on. I got onto a train bound for Nagoya, but it was a limited express train. That means you have to pay for a seat since the train hardly makes any stops and it’s much nicer than other trains. I ended up sitting in this elderly woman’s husband’s seat, who was in the bathroom at the time, and she kept asking me if I had a ticket and if I was in the right seat. I knew once the train started moving that I was on the wrong train. The train was way too nice. Cue panicking. I was trying so hard to tell her that I got on the wrong train and when I think she finally understood, and she got one of the train employee’s attention. I went to go talk to him and tried with all my strength and knowledge to tell him that I got on to the wrong train. After looking up various words on my phone, low key stressing out (okay, I was really stressed), he finally understood me. He told me to get off on the next stop, which I did and found the train I was supposed to be on. I thought my train troubles were done for the day, but when I got to Nagoya Station, I got lost. The station is HUGE. There are about three different lines going through the station and I had to find my way from one end of the station to the other. But it was A-okay! I eventually found my way to the aquarium!
Our first stop was the Port of Nagoya Aquarium. I love going to aquariums and zoos, so I was happy that I got to go! They had two different buildings, one that had whales (yes, whales) and the other had your typical: cute fish, ugly fish, turtles, sharks, jellyfish, you name it. Oh, and they had penguin encounter! Definitely my favorite part of the whole place. It’s so amusing watching them swim back and fourth, leaping out of the water, waddling to places. I love penguins.
The aquarium is located at the Port of Nagoya, right off Nagoyako station. The entrance fee is 2000￥.
Emma and I had fun looking all the cute fish, laughing at the strange looking ones, and being creeped out by eels.
After going through all the exhibits, we decided to make our way to Sakae, the heart of Nagoya. Since Nagoya Castle was nearby, we went to go see it. Nagoya Castle is located near City Hall and will be right off that subway station. I love the architecture of the Aichi Prefectural Government building (seen above) and the Nagoya City Hall (in the background). I love looking at the different government buildings, because they’re all so different. My city hall is super modern, while these two have an Asian/Western feel to them.
Once we made it to the castle, we found out the last call to go in was 30 minutes before we got there. So close! I hope I can go inside in the near future and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back.
This castle was destroyed during World War II and after, it was rebuilt to make it more modern (elevators)! Here’s a great picture of the castle on fire during the war.
Since we weren’t able to go into the park, we decided to walk around to get a better look at the castle. Unfortunately with the number of trees that surround both the castle and the outer walkways, it was hard to get a good look at it. It was still beautiful, nonetheless.
Yes. I took a picture of Coco Ichibanya.
We walked back to Sakae, where Nagoya Tower is located (the first TV tower in Japan), Oasis 21 (a shopping mall), and a ton of other stores and restaurants are located. I haven’t been in a huge city in a while, so it was nice to feel the energy of the nightlife, even if it was a Sunday! That day, they were also having a summer festival, so there were performances and food vendors all along the heart of Sakae.
We would have loved to eat street food, but we were really tired from walking around all day and wanted to sit and have AC. We ended up eating at this super Japanese place called, Outback Steakhouse. Just kidding. But we really did eat there…
I finally got to eat some french fries and they were pretty good! Craving satisfied. Aren’t we just super American? Even though, Emma isn’t American…
Unfortunately, dinner brought our hangout to a close, since I didn’t want to get back to my apartment too late. I had a really fun day with Emma and I’m so glad that we got to meet! It’s crazy that I’m American, she’s European, and we’re in Asia. I really hope we can meet again soon, maybe in Korea (we met because of kpop) or her home country. You’re super awesome, girlie!
End note – I ended up missing one of my connections on the way home… (how am I supposed to go from one side of the station to the other in zero minutes?!?!), but the day taught me that I can survive getting lost, even when I don’t know the language.