These exciting day trips from Nagoya are full of must-go adventures!
Meoto Iwa (Wedded rocks) in the south of Nagoya. Photo credit: Mie Prefectural Government
Japan always excites me. There’s so much to check out: Fascinating culture, intricate buildings, and amazing food everywhere! But while I enjoy wandering around the city, the neon signs and high-rise buildings can get repetitive.
Don’t miss the illumination show at Nabana no Sato! Photo credit: Nagashima Resort
If you find yourself feeling the same in Nagoya, it’s time to get out! Luckily, the city is a gateway for invigorating experiences within Central Japan. In the south, you’ll find Japan’s most worshipped shrine in Ise. Meanwhile, the north is home to dreamy snow villages in Shirakawa-go.
No matter where you go, these day trips from Nagoya will surely bring fresh experiences.
A bridge at the Ise Grand Shrine in the south of Nagoya. Photo credit: Mie Prefectural Government
Mie Prefecture (South of Nagoya)
For culture and history, swing by the charming Mie Prefecture! It’s home to Japan’s most revered shrine. It’s also where the Iga-style ninja was birthed, so your childhood dream of being a ninja can finally come true! 🤩
Explore: Nabana no Sato
Nabana no Sato is perfect for nature lovers. The flower park is one of the largest botanical gardens in the region, with an abundance of seasonal flora and fauna.
Illumination tunnel at Nabana no Sato. Photo credit: Nagashima Resort
If you’re visiting between mid-October to May, check out the park’s illumination displays! The millions of LED lights are a breathtaking sight that’ll surely brighten your night.
Entrance Fee: From ¥2,300
Opening Hours: 9AM – 9PM, closes 10PM on weekends and PH
How to get there: Take Kintetsu Line to Kuwana station. Then, take a local bus bound for Nabana no Sato. A one-way journey costs ¥250. Service changes during the illumination period
Eat: Hamaguri Clams
Hamaguri clams. Photo credit: Mie Prefectural Government
Kuwana is especially famous for hamaguri (oriental clams). It’s a type of seawater clam with a soft texture and rich, salty flavour. It can be found everywhere in Kuwana, but one of the best places to try this speciality is at Kakiyasu Ryotei Honten.
Do: Dive into Nagashima Spa Land
Steel Dragon 2000 rollercoaster. Photo credit: Nagashima Resort
Trading the city for thrills and shrills is always a good idea! Nagashima Spa Land is a huge amusement park with rides and attractions for all ages. It’s not as famous as Fuji-Q, but it packs a hefty punch.
Rollercoaster fanatics shouldn’t miss Steel Dragon 2000, the world’s longest rollercoaster. Riders can look forward to four minutes of adrenaline highs and near-100m drops!
Another must-ride is Hakugei (White Whale). Opened in March 2019, it’s Japan’s first hybrid rollercoaster that’s made up of wood and steel. You’re in for a whale of a time as the rollercoaster speeds through steep 80º slopes and twisted tracks!
Cost: ¥5,200 for unlimited amusement park rides
Opening Hours: Varies
How to get there: Take Kintetsu Line to Kuwana station. Then, take the shuttle bus to Nagashima Spa Land. A one-way journey costs ¥500
Hours from Nagoya: 1.5
Train: Kintetsu Yamada Line or JR Line to Matsusaka Station.
Eat: Premium Matsusaka Beef
Matusaka beef is one of Japan’s finest beef! Photo credit: ©Matsusaka City/©JNTO
Everyone knows about Kobe, but the Mie Prefecture holds something equally amazing: Matsusaka Beef.
This high-grade brand of beef is often said to be Japan’s best — praised for its delicate marbling and superior taste. The cattle are raised in the city, fed beer(!), and have to meet strict standards. Basically, quality. 👌
Explore: Matsusaka Castle Ruins
Stroll around the Matsusaka Castle Ruins. Photo credit: Chris Ryall
The Matsusaka Castle Ruins is a great place to visit to understand the city’s past. Roaming around the park, you’ll find towering stone walls and its remaining samurai residences.
There’s also an onsite museum that features photos of the castle’s complete structure.
Entrance Fee: Free (museum entry costs ¥100)
Opening Hours: 24 hours (museum opens 9AM – 4PM)
How to get there: From Matsusaka Station, walk 15 minutes
Do: Cotton Weaving at Matsusaka Cotton Centre
Weave cotton with a traditional loom at the Matsusaka Cotton Centre. Photo credit: ©Matsusaka City/©JNTO
Matsusaka is also well-known for its indigo cotton. During the Edo period (about 200 – 300 years ago), the material was a popular fabric for kimonos due to its softness and intricate patterns.
At the Matsusaka Cotton Centre, try your hand at the age-old craft. Sign up for a short workshop, where you’ll learn how to use a traditional loom to weave cotton. Bookings must be made three days in advance.
Cost: ¥1,300 (one-hour course)
How to get there: From Matsusaka station, walk 10 minutes
Hours from Nagoya: 2
Train: Kintetsu Railway Line to Ujiyamada/Isuzugawa Station, or JR Line to Iseshi Station.
See: The Romantic Meoto Iwa
The Meoto Iwa rocks are still a better story than Twilight. Photo credit: ©JNTO
Meoto Iwa is a famous landmark in Japan. Located near the coastline, the “wedded rocks” consist of a large and small rock, representing husband and wife. The two are connected by a shimenawa (sacred rope), estimated to weigh at least a ton.
It’s a popular photo-taking spot for couples as the rocks represent marriage.
How to get there: From Iseshi Station, take the JR Sangu Line to Futaminoura Station. Then, walk 20 minutes
Explore: Ise Grand Shrine
The Ise Shrine. Photo credit: Mie Prefectural Government
The Ise Shrine is considered as one of Japan’s most revered Shinto shrines. The complex houses over 100 shrines, including an inner and outer shrine that are dedicated to two goddesses.
It’s a peaceful and spiritual sanctuary, perfect for prayers and relaxing strolls.
Entrance Fee: Free
Opening Hours: 5AM, closing time varies
How to get there: From JR Iseshi station, walk 10 minutes to the outer shrine. To get to the inner shrine, walk for 40 minutes from Isuzugawa Station or take a bus from Ujiyamada/Isuzugawa Station. The fare costs ¥180 – ¥430
Do: Shop around Oharai-machi and Okage Yokocho
Oharai-machi Street. Photo credit: Allabout-japan.com
Located next to the inner shrine, Oharai-machi and Okage Yokocho are famous shopping streets. Shops sell local cuisine, snacks, and handmade crafts, and are housed in traditional buildings from the 19th Century or earlier.
Eat: Local Ise Specialities
Ise udon. Photo credit: Wikimedia.org
Complete your Nagoya day trips with some local specialities! Tuck into delicious Ise udon — thick wheat noodles served in a sauce made from tamari soy sauce and sweet sake. There are also succulent Ise-Ebi lobsters (Japanese spiny lobsters) for seafood lovers.
Tea with akafuku mochi. Photo credit: Mie Prefectural Government
Desserts-wise, grab some akafuku mochi. This “inside out” confectionery is unique to the region, with smooth red azuki bean paste encasing the soft mochi. It’s a simple yet delightful treat that’s popular with the Japanese.
Hours from Nagoya: 2
Train: Kintetsu Railway Line to Toba Station.
Explore: Toba Aquarium
The Toba Aquarium is the only one in Japan where you can see a dugong. Photo credit: Iseshima-kanko.jp
One of the largest aquariums in Japan, the Toba Aquarium houses many different types of sea creatures like sea lions, otters, and walruses. It also houses the mysterious dugong — a creature said to inspire mermaid legends!
Entrance Fee: ¥2,500
Opening Hours: Varies
How to get there: From Toba Station, walk for 10 minutes. Alternatively, take Kintetsu-Shima Line to Nakanogo Station, then walk for 2 minutes
See: The Ama in Action
No, they’re not just someone’s grandmother. The ama are actually Japanese women who free-dive to hunt for shellfish like abalone, or pearls. It’s an impressive tradition that’s over 2000 years old, and still alive and kicking!
To watch the ama in action, head to Mikimoto Pearl Island. The island’s museum showcases the ama‘s history and pearl cultivation. There, you can also watch the ama perform hourly free-dives to harvest oysters and other seafood. There’s also a wide variety of pearl jewellery for sale.
Alternatively, meet the Ama in person! Hachiman Kamado is a rustic Ama hut-turned-restaurant. Dine on fresh seafood, cooked by the Ama, and listen to their stories. Occasionally, an English translator will be present to answer your questions.
Eat: Fresh All-You-Can-Eat Grilled Oysters
Maruzen Oyster farm offers the ultimate seafood lover’s dream: All-you-can-eat grilled oysters. There’s an 80-minute time limit, but you get to dig into as many oysters as you want. You can also to grill it to your preferred doneness. Slurp’s up! 😛
Make reservations here.
Buffet Timings: 11AM – 12:20PM, 12:40PM – 2PM on weekdays, varies on weekends and public holidays
Address: 1229-67 Uramurachō Kaki Yoko-machi, Toba, Mie 517-0025, Japan
Photo credits: Mie Prefectural Government
5) Iga and Nabari
Hours from Nagoya: 2 – 3
Train: JR Kansai Line to Iga-Ueno Station (and transit for destinations beyond).
Explore: Iga Ueno Castle
Iga Ueno Castle. Photo credit: Mieinfo.com
With massive stone walls standing 30m tall, the Iga Ueno Castle is a sight to behold.
It’s known as the “White Phoenix (Hakuho) castle” — thanks to its elegant, all-white exterior. Inside this museum, learn more about fascinating Samurai history.
Entrance Fee: ¥600
Opening Hours: 9AM – 4:45PM
How to get there: At Iga-Ueno station, take Iga Railway to Uenoshi station. Then, walk 10 minutes
Do: Experience the Secret Life of Ninjas
Ninjas-in-training throwing shurikens at a target. Photo credit: Japan-magazine.com
If you’ve ever had a childhood dream of being a ninja, you’re in luck! Located near the Ueno Castle, the Iga-Ryu Ninja Museum teaches visitors about Iga-style ninja culture and tradition. This ranges from deception techniques, to secret codes and strategies.
There’s also an exciting ninja show that features actual weapons and moves. The best part is that you get the chance to throw real shurikens!
Entrance Fee: ¥800 (show costs ¥500, shuriken-throwing costs ¥200)
Opening Hours: 9AM – 5PM (Last entry 4:30PM, show varies)
How to get there: At Iga-Ueno station, take the Iga Railway to Uenoshi station. Then, walk ~10 minutes
See: Akame 48 Waterfalls
Akame 48 Waterfalls in Nabari. Photo credit: Japanbyjapan.com
The Akame 48 Waterfalls is the perfect respite for outdoorsy adventure-seekers. It’s located in Nabari, about 1.5 hours from Iga.
You’ll need to hike 4km to get there, but it’s worth the effort. The falls are surrounded by untouched forests, and houses wildlife such as giant salamanders.
Photo credit: Mie Prefectural Government
Interestingly, the forest is also used by ninjas for training. Keep your eyes peeled for them!
Entrance Fee: ¥400 (incl. entry to Salamander Museum)
Opening Hours: 9AM – 5PM, closes 4:30PM from Dec – Mar
How to get there: From Iga-Ueno Station, take the Iga Line to Iga-Kambe Station. Change to the Kintetsu Line to Akameguchi Station. Then, head to the Akameguchi Ekimae bus stop and take bus no. 11 bound for the falls
Gifu Prefecture (North of Nagoya)
The Gifu Prefecture is best known for its scenic natural environments. It houses famous attractions, such as Shirakawa-go and Gero Hot Springs. Most travellers usually flock there in the winter, but it’s just as beautiful anytime.
Hours from Nagoya: 2
Train: JR Central Limited Express Hida to Gero Station.
Do: Soak in Gero Hot Springs
Gero is an onsen town that offers high-quality hot springs for locals and travellers alike. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the many onsens and traditional inns (ryokan) scattered all over town.
There are also loads of public onsen footbaths that are free for use. Remember to bring towels to dry off after!
Photo credits: ©JNTO
Eat: Ayu (Sweetfish)
Photo credit: ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO
Ayu (sweetfish) is a popular delicacy in the Gifu prefecture. It’s first covered in salt, before being roasted over an open flame. The result is a salty, crispy skin that complements the fish’s tender and sweet flesh.
Drop by Yamabiko in Gero to enjoy fresh ayu. It’s just an eight-minute walk from Gero Station, and you can stroll along a picturesque river after your meal.
7) Takayama and Around
Hours from Nagoya: 2 – 3
Train: JR Central Limited Express Hida or JR Takayama Main Line to Takayama Station.
Eat: Hida Beef Nigiri Sushi
Takayama is well-known for Hida beef. Many places sell it all over town, but one of the best ways to enjoy this treat is to have it as sushi!
Eateries like Hida Kotte Ushi and Sakaguchiya sell Hida beef nigiri sushi. You’ll get lightly-blowtorched beef and sushi rice served atop a crispy rice cracker. It’s delicate and delicious — well worth the price!
Cost: ¥500 – ¥900
Do: Shop around the Morning Markets
The Takayama Morning Market is one of Japan’s biggest. The market sprawls over two areas: Beside Miyagawa River, and in front of the Takayama Jinya (Historical Government House).
It’s a great place to shop for fresh produce, dried foods, or traditional snacks like rice crackers. There are also unique souvenirs like folk crafts and wasabi chocolate.
Opening Hours: 7AM – 12PM, opens 8AM from Dec – Mar
How to get there: From Takayama Station, walk for 10 minutes towards Miyagawa River
Photo credits: ©JNTO
A UNESCO world heritage site, Shirakawa-go is an incredibly scenic mountain village. It’s famous for traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, which are built to withstand severe weather.
The best time to visit is during winter, as the village experiences a high level of snowfall. Thick blankets of snow cover the thatched roofs and floor of the village — perfectly magical 😍
How to get there: From Nagoya, take the Shirakawa-go Express Line bus from Meitetsu Bus Centre. The journey takes three hours, and costs up to ¥4,000 (booking highly recommended).
From Takayama, take a direct bus from Takayama Nohi Bus Station. The journey takes 50 minutes, and costs ¥2,000 – ¥2,600
Exploring Central Japan via Nagoya
Nagoya may not be as famous as Tokyo and Osaka, but it’d be a mistake to skip it! The city is a gateway to tons of lesser-explored gems in Central Japan.
Both the south and north of Nagoya hold plenty of wondrous Japanese cities to explore. This includes premium Matsusaka beef and badass ama in the Mie Prefecture, and the fabulous onsens in Gifu.
The most convenient way to get to Nagoya is to fly direct on Singapore Airlines! It provides one of the shortest flight times from Singapore. Passengers are also in for a luxe time as they can enjoy a tranquil flight with cleaner air.
Singapore Airlines’ in-flight entertainment system will also keep you busy. KrisWorld has over 1,800 on-demand entertainment options, from blockbuster films to music. Choose wisely, because the flight time to Nagoya isn’t enough to cover them all!
Featured image photo credit: ©JNTO
Plane and in-flight entertainment photo credit: Singapore Airlines
Have you visited any of the locations we mentioned above? Tell us which day trips from Nagoya you enjoyed most below!