Nagoya December 2014 Part 1 – Nagoya Station Area

So I heard a lot of people are going to Japan next week for hanami / cherry blossom viewing. I’m so jealous! I will just wallow in self-pity by posting about my previous trips to Japan, lol. I’ll make sure to go next year!

While Tokyo and Osaka are everyone’s top choices when it comes to traveling Japan, there are other places you can go to on a direct flight from Manila. One of the most popular alternatives to the big cities are Fukuoka (which I’ve already been to) and Nagoya.

I’ve never been to Nagoya until December last year, when my family attempted to go out of its comfort zone in terms of international destinations. Well, obviously, our attempt failed, and we still ended up in one of our favorite places in the world – Japan! We enabled each other by patting ourselves on the back and saying, “We haven’t been to this part of Japan before…” So much for trying out new things.

Before flying out to Nagoya, I asked my Japanese friends about their recommendations. Most of them only go for day trips or overnight work trips (since it only takes under 2 hours via shinkansen), and never really stay in town long enough to check out all the touristy stuff. All of them, however, encouraged me to try out all the food in Nagoya! Apparently, it is heaven for foodies. We’ll see about that!

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First meal after checking in at the hotel. Nothing like a warm bowl of noodles in the middle of winter.

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Specialty Nagoya Starbucks mugs! What’s awesome about Starbucks Japan is that they have different merchandise for each big city. I love the Hokkaido ones with the cute polar bear design.

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Late night konbini run. Hi Nino!

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Another thing to look forward to when visiting multiple cities in Japan – all the exclusive KitKat flavors. This is Nagoya’s Azuki Bean Sandwich. I’d love to try the other regional Kit Kats – Shinshu has hot chili chocolate flavor, and Niigata has pear flavor.

Did you know that one of the reasons why Kit Kat is popular in Japan is because of its name? It sounds similar to “kitto katsu”, which means something along the lines of “you’ll win for sure”!

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It’s hard to go on a healthy diet when you’ve got these in every convenience store…

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I caught Arashi on TV!

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First morning in Nagoya. I will be blogging about this trip per area, not per day. Would hate to be redundant! We stayed at Nagoya Marriott so we were pretty much in Nagoya Station everyday.

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But first, coffee. Found a Doutor in the station. Of course, I had my favorite iced honey cafe au lait.

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Nagoya Station is one of the busiest stations in Japan, and one of the largest stations in the world. Throughout the duration of this trip, I’ve never seen it empty!

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Kyoto is about 30 minutes away, and Osaka is only around an hour away. This opened up new travel itinerary ideas for me! I can land in Osaka, tour in Kyoto, and fly back to Manila from Nagoya, or the other way around (Nagoya-Kyoto-Osaka).

A common mistake of first time travelers to Japan is wasting a lot of time and money in the train. I’ve heard stories about people landing in Tokyo, going to Osaka and Kyoto, and going back to Tokyo just to catch the flight back to Manila. If you want to make the most out of your trip, just take the flight back from Osaka.

Same with people who land in Osaka, go to Tokyo, and then go back to Osaka. Just take the flight back in Tokyo.

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If you’re planning on touring on your own, look for this Donichieko Kippu, which is like an unlimited all day pass for all subway lines. You can just ask any station attendant for it!

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The JR Central Towers right above Nagoya Station.

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The view outside the station. You’ll see “Meitetsu” everywhere in Nagoya.

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Love the old town feel to this city. Even with the rise of modern buildings, you can still feel the laidback atmosphere.

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Midland Square!

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If I had all the money in the world, I’d buy all these Valentino dresses!

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Local Japanese brands showcasing their winter fashion. Who says neutral colors are boring?

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On top of Midland Square is a UFO. Oh wait, it’s just the entrance to the Sky Promenade.

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As I’ve always mentioned in my previous travel posts, I make it a point to visit these kinds of observatories and towers on the first day. It’s nice to familiarize yourself with the larger view of the city, before going down and checking out all the smaller details.

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Pre-sunset view of Nagoya.

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Toy buildings. Clean and organized, as expected.

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When I made this photo B&W, it transformed into something like a page from a manga.

Imagine some random Japanese characters in the middle of the sky, haha like 覚えてる? lol

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Lovely place to go on a date.

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Guess who! Suddenly I’m not used to including photos of myself in my travel diaries, after 14 Kyoto-Osaka posts with almost zero me.

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Time to look for a place to eat!

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Furaibo, opened in 1960s, first introduced Nagoya’s famous tebasaki deep-fried chicken wings.They served good tofu as well! And kimchi cheese.

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Dessert time! When in Japan, buy all the strawberries. Literally every dessert place in Japan sold these kinds of strawberry goodness.

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Meanwhile, they’re the ones going crazy about Philippine mangoes! Apparently, in Japan, mangoes have an image of being super expensive! It’s interesting because it’s so common for us, and it’s the strawberries that are super rare and pricey.

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Just before chaos arrived.

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In a matter of seconds, long lines started forming. Whaaaat.

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Another day, another amazing view from our hotel.

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Plans got thwarted during our last day in Nagoya (there was some sort of holiday so the museums we wanted to go to were closed) so we just went shopping at BIC Camera.

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BIC Camera is pretty much just like Yodobashi Camera. In a nutshell, a mall of electronics. Tourists get a tax refund!

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Matchy-matchy!

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My mom was busy shopping so I asked my brothers Chase and Calel to take purikura with me.

(Juju has been living and studying in Singapore for the past year so he wasn’t able to join us for this trip)

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Not bad for their first time! To lovingly annoy my mom, I put this strip on her desk at home. She has no choice but to look at our annoyingly huge eyes and shiny poreless faces every single morning, lol.

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Nagoya Station has two famous meeting spots or landmarks – the gold clock and the silver clock. Both mark each of the station’s exits. The exit near the gold clock leads to a bustling, business district, while the exit near the silver clock leads to a more laid back-looking area. The station is so huge that going from one end to the other will give you two different views.

More posts on Nagoya soon!