For this entry, I will be exploring the city of Nagoya. In terms of historical and cultural sights, Nagoya is not as famous as Tokyo or Kyoto. But during my visit to Nagoya this time round, I am quite amazed by the vast amount of cultural events going on throughout the city. I have attached the videos taken onto my blog to share with you all.
I have decided on the route to take since a week back. I hope to delve into Nagoya main city attraction - city shopping. So I begin my route from the Nagoya station(1) which I heard is a mini-city itself full of shops. Thereafter I will make my way to the Buddhist temple(2) in the south (Osu Kannon), via one of the city's parks in the process. Next will be to Nadya Park(3), and finally to the heart of the city - Sakae(4).
The city's castle and museum has been left out as there is nothing unique about them. And I always make it a point to visit the local place of worship whenever I travel, which in this case is the Osu Kannon temple.
I took a bus from my dorm to the Nagoya bus station (which is also the train station). It cost 680Yen single trip and takes around an hour to reach the destination. Once I arrived at the station, I spent quite a bit of time going around the area. One of my first goal here is to enquire about the bus services to Kyoto, Osaka and Nara. Taking buses in Japan is cheaper than Shinkansen (bullet train) and more convenient than the densha (trains).
Below is a scene at the main hall of the station. There is a 11th storey high Takashimaya Shopping Centre just next to the main hall. This whole area consists of the JR Central Tower and the Meitetsu Shopping Complexes.
In the Meitetsu Shopping Complexes, I find the shopping area to be segregated into different entrances. One of them is somewhat similar to Tokyo's Harajuku where lots of youths go for shopping.
Here is the sight at the front entrance of the station. This uniquely shaped building is still under construction. It is important to note that all the high rise buildings in Japan are designed to with-stand earthquakes. So the engineering design consideration will be more complex than that of non earthquake zone areas like Singapore.
After leaving the station, I choosed one of the off-beaten track to get to my next destination. Nagoya is the birthplace of Toyota and Pachinko (Japanese pinballs). Here is one of the Pachinko parlor.
On the way to the bus station previously, I came upon this unique entrance to a building. I walked past it again and decide to take a photoshot. This area sells a lot of Japanese-style clothing. The part with the boards is actually a theatre.
Here I am at the entrance of the park. I love to check out cities' parks. It is a habit ingrained into me since I went for my exchange program in Europe. The parks in Europe's major cities are lovely and is a good place to hang around and to sunbath. A city's liveliness is greatly impacted by its parks.
Here is an overview of the park. There are many people sitting around the benches in the park. Just watching time goes by...
I have arrived at my second destination. The Osu Kannon temple. I went in to pay my respects. This is a Shingon Buddhist temple. I am quite impressed by the Japanese style of making religious offerings.
The main entrance of the temple as seen from the side.
Just in front of the temple entrance is the shopping street which spans a kilometre long. Surprisingly, the temple is celebrating a festival today. So there will be performances all over the shopping streets and in the surrounding temples the whole day.
This is one of the performances I sighted along the way. I have attached the video below.
This is the second one.
I spent around an hour walking through the shopping street, with around half the time looking at the performances. I love cultural performances. If I do not have other places to visit, I would have stayed here the whole day. Just before I left the shopping street, I went to the last temple in the area, the Acalanatha (不动明王) Temple.
The next stop is Nadya Park. Within the park is a futuristic building and in it houses the International Design Centre. There is another performance going on at the park.
I find the Design Centre to be somewhat similar to Singapore's Nafa and La-Salle, a school for all the arts students. There are many floors in this building, with the upper floors having rooms and lecture halls, while the lower floors providing shops for the students.
I have been on the lookout for Nagoya's local dish - Kishimen, since I arrived here. While walking out from the design centre, I chanced upon this small shop by the side of the road. The Japanese read 'Kishimen' and I guess this is one of the more local shops in this area.
It is around 1pm in the afternoon and there is only 1 customer in the shop. I asked whether do they serve 'Kishimen' and viola, they do! The meal cost 700Yen. Kishimen is somewhat similar to the chinese kind of flat noodle (板面). The noodles in this shop are all hand-made. They are playing traditional japanese folksongs in the shop, something which I don't normally hear in Japanese eateries.
I proceeded on to my final destination - Sakae. There is a large park in the centre of Sakae. A television station seems to be holding a carnival there.
With scores of people lining up at the edge of a stage. The singers are rehearsing for the performance now. There are long queues at both end of the park, getting ready to enter the main area once the green light is given.
Here is the Nagoya TV Tower. It is located at the north side of the Sakae city's park.
One of the landmark buildings in Sakae is the modern bus terminal. It looks like a spaceship.
Within the 'terminal' is a large area where another stage is setup. This fair seems to be setup by Japan's Cable Television, with Cable Drama, KBS and so on having their stands in the area.
I proceeded on to the rooftop of the terminal. It gives a good view of the area around Sakae.
There is a large water fountain area at the top. This bus terminal is 20% terminal, 80% shopping, sights and experience. Previously there was some discussions of Singapore Changi airport losing its top spots to other international airports. I guess this is the reason. Changi airport is renowned for it being efficient in its airport handling. But now people expect more and this is the kind of experience that it should be developing its airport towards - the shopping, sights and experience. This 'terminal' really feels quite a cool place to hang around.
On my way back, I went to catch out the performances in the Osu Kannon temple again. This time is a circus performance by a group of 3 people. It is amazing. Spent around 40 minutes standing and watching them.
Finally, I round off my trip to Nagoya with this night shot of the JR Twin Towers.
23th December 2007
I visited Nagoya again on the 23rd December (Sunday). This trip is just casual shopping, fine dining and watching a movie. Catching a movie in Japan is quite expensive and a ticket will come up to 1,800Yen($24) for a show. As National Treasure has just been released, we went to check it out. The movies not only have a start-time, there is also an end-time so viewers will know what time it is expected to finish.
We got a few light snacks along the way at Osu (see above Osu Kannon). I bought my favourite Hot Dogs and Karage (Fried Chicken). It is pretty much shopping along the way, with me getting a few game controllers from Osu game shops and clothings from Uniqlo in Sakae.
There after it is dinner. There is this very popular restaurant with long queues and it specialises in Pork culinaries.
We ordered the pork + prawn mega-meal which cost 2,200Yen per person. The prawn is really huge.
As nightfall is coming soon, I have the opportunity to take a night photoshot of Nagoya Tower.