Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Attractions in Nagoya

Traveling around Central Japan is now made easy using SHORYUDO Bus Pass.

"Shoryudo" means the "Dragon-rise Region" and the name came about as nine prefectures in Chubu and Hokuriku form the shape of a rising dragon, with the Noto Peninsula forming its head and Mie Prefecture its tail, and its rising body covering every part of the nine Chubu and Hokuriku prefectures.  This also explains why there are statues of dragons in Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport.

Day 1

If you have  the time to spare, Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport has many places to shop and restaurants to dine in too.

One of the recommended food to try is the kishimen noodle in Miya restaurant.  It is a flat tyre of noodle available only in Nagoya region.  The taste is pretty much like udon but a flattened version.

It also comes with a pork cutlet which is very crispy on the outside and tender inside.  The miso sauce  is made from steamed soybeans and impacts a sweet tangy flavour to the pork cutlet.

If you need to stay before or after a late night/early morning flight or during the day to have a rest, there is a Capsule Hotel called Tube Square located at level 1 Welcome Garden.  It is fully equipped with capsule bedrooms perfect for a rest, a shower rooms ticked with amenities and large sized lockers.

Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport is linked to different parts of Japan via train, bus and ship.  The SHORYUDO Bus Pass can be purchased from Meitetsu Travel Plaza located at level 2 Arrivals Lobby Access Plaza.

There are three SHORYUDO Bus Pass which you can choose from:

SHORYUDO 3-Day Bus Pass-Takayama.Shirakawa-go.Kanazawa Course.  This ticket gives you unlimited travel on highway buses connecting Nagoya, Gifu, Takayama, Shirakawa-go, Kanazawa and Toyama, plus access to Central Japan International Airport, Komatsu Airport and Toyama Airport.

SHORYUDO 5-Day Bus Pass (Wide Course)- In addition to the areas covered in the SHORYUDO 3-Day Bus Pass, this ticket gives you you unlimited travel on highway buses and route buses connecting the popular tourist sites in the SHORYUDO area, plus access to Central Japan International Airport, Komatsu Airport and Toyama Airport.

SHORYUDO 3-Day Bus Pass -Matsumoto.Magome.Komagane Course.

You can also get a variety of discounts by presenting the SHORYUDO Bus Pass at Shinhotaka Ropeway, Highway Bus Takayama to Shinjuku, Kyoto, Osaka, Mt. Fuji, Regular Sightseeing Bus Okayama Ainokura and Shirakawa-go Course, Regular Sightseeing Bus Okayama Suganuma and Shirakawa-go Course, Honokidaira/Hirayu Onsen-Norikura Round Trip Pass, Toyama Buri Kani Bus Free Pass, Takaoka-Wakura Onsen Bus "Waku Liner" Free Pass, Komagatake Ropeway (Local Bus + Ropeway) and Enakyo Cruise Boat.

Discounts are valid until the day after the last valid day of the SHORYUDO Bus Pass.

For those who want to explore Inuyama, from Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport, you can take the Meitetsu Express MU-Sky train to Inuyama-Yuen station.  

Right outside the station, there is a free bus pick up to Meitetsu Inuyama Hotel.

Located just below the National Treaure Inuyama Castle, this hotel is built along the Kiso River.  You can enjoy the "Kakutei no Yu" hot springs of Inuyama, as well as the National Treasure Tea Ceremony Room "Jo-An".  

From the hotel, it is about a 7 mins walk to Sanko-Inari Shrine and Inuyama Castle Town.

The Sanko-Inari Shrine is a place where people come to 'wash' their money for prosperity.  There are also heart shaped boards to write your wishes and hope they come true.

From the shrine, you can walk over to see The National Treasure Inuyama Castle.

Said to be have been built by Nobuyasu, the uncle of Nobunaga Oda, the Inuyama Castle is one of the only five natural treasures in Japan.  The castle features the oldest standing tensu, which has been in place since the Muromachi Period.

For the adventurous and sporty, you can climb up to the Tenshukaku through six storey of stairs which are so steep that they are almost 180 degree. 

However, the scenic view from the tenshukaku is definitely worth the effort.

You can also see the majestic view of the Kiso River as well.

For those who still have extra energy after climbing up and down the stairs of Inuyama Castle, you may want to take a walk in Inuyama Castle Town.    

Every effort had been made to preserve old streets lined with old houses.

You can also drop by The Former Isobe Residence Restoration .  This is the former residence of a family that ran a kimono business called Kashiwaya Magobe dating back to Edo Period (1603-1868). It comprises of the main room, back parlour, storehouse, rear storehouse and the storage room (which now serves as an exhibition room), each of which is a Registered Tangible Cultural Property of Japan.

Do drop by Donden-kan Museum where four out of thirteen Yamas (festival floats) that are actually drawn in Inuyama Festival are exhibited.

If you are hungry, then you can consider the Cormorant Fishing Tour Package where you can enjoy lunch or dinner on a boat on the Kiso River.

You can order the Ayu(sweet fish) which Nagoya is famous for.

A total of 2 hours 30 minutes including dinner is needed for the whole experience.  Sea cormorants, which are bigger than river cormorants, are used for cormorant fishing.  They are caught on the beach, tamed and trained for 3 years before being used for fishing.

Cormorant fishing is a traditional river fishing method in which usho (cormorant fishing masters) ubune (cormorant fishing boat) use trained u (cormorants) to catch fish.

An usho handles up to 12 cormorants on leases.  Urged tactfully by the usher, cormorants dive under the water and catch river fish, such as the Ayu, by swallowing them whole.  The fish are then retrieved from their throats.

This fishing method is designated as an intangible cultural asset of Inuyama City.

Day 2

After a hearty Japanese buffet breakfast in Meitetsu-Inuyama Hotel, you can easily walk over to tour the Tea Ceremony House Jo-An, which is less than a minute walk.

It costs 1000 yen to enter Tea Ceremony House Jo-An without tea and 1400 yen with tea.

If you want to drink the Japanese tea after entering, it will cost an additional 600 yen.

It is a nice walk in the serene Japanese landscape garden named "Urakuen" to find the Tea Ceremony House Jo-An as you can take in the beautiful sights of nature.

This is the place where you can enjoy a cup of brewed brew tea.  

During autumn, a sweet autumn dessert called Kurikinton will be offered together with the Japanese tea.

From Inuyama, you can take the Meitetsu Express MU-Sky train to go to Nagoya statio

Do remember to grab a bento box from one of the departmental stores in Nagoya before you hop onto the bus using SHORYUDO Bus Pass to go to Takayama as it is a 3 hours ride.

You are allowed to eat on the bus but smoking is prohibited inside the bus.

You can take the bus to Takayama bus terminal and do a walking tour in Takayama city.  This will bring you to a journey to learn the past and discover the new.

 There are shops selling food which will tickle your appetite so do look out for them, like Mitarashi Dango (Rice dumplings on skewers with soy sauce).

There are also Hida beef buns with 100% juicy Hida beef.  This is a must try!

Look out for Hida beef on skewers as well.  Grilled to perfection, you won't be able to stop at just one  skewer.

After the walk, you might want to take the bus using SHORYUDO Bus Pass to Shin Hodaka.  One accommodation which you can consider is Hotel Hotaka which is directly adjacent to the Shin-Hodaka Ropeway boarding point.

The hotel is pretty comfortable and has its own indoor and outdoor onsen.  The hot springs on the premises is a simple sulphur spring, where the water of purest quality always flows at a temperature of 75.3 degree celsius.

Hotel Hotaka comprises of a total of 49 rooms, banquet halls, general-purpose halls, pub, all-to-yourself rental karaoke room and shops.

 You can also enjoy Kaiseki cuisine in the hotel.  The food is amazing and you will be able to try the following:

Walnut tofu, Grilled mushroom and edible chrysanthemum, Scallops with sesame dressing, Pike congera sea eel marinated in a sweet and peppery sauce, Sashimi (Salmon, squid and shrimp), Grilled rainbow trout, Grilled Hida beef on ceramic plate, Tempura (lotus root with mashed shrimp / ginkgo, potato and wheat gluten / pumpkin), Steamed dumpling of shrimp-shaped taro potato, Rice, Clear soup (bonito soup with tofu skin), Pickled cucumber and Japanese radish and Cake / apricot and orange.

 Do order some alcohol, like sake or sogu to go with the food as they are a good match to it.

Day 3

 If you want to try authentic Japanese cuisine breakfast,  the breakfast served at Hotel Hotaka is a good choice option.  There is home made tofu, miso paste cooked over a stove, amidst other small dishes.

One of Japan's few mountain ropeways, the Shinhotaka Ropeway uses a first and second ropeway to connect the 3,200m distance from a height of 1,039m, between the Chubu-Sangaku National Park and the Kita Alps with its range of mountains around 3,000m high, to the Okuhida Hot Springs Village, an area that boasts of an abundance of hot spring water.

Get to soar above the clouds at an altitude of 2,156 metres in Japan's only double-decker gondola!

The scenic view at the Observation Deck at Nishihotakaguchi Station has a two-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide Japan and overlooks teh Kita Alps at an elevation of 2,156m.

There are also restaurants that serves fresh-baked bread, Hida beef and more.

This is pork cutlet with miso sauce but this time round, the colour of the sauce is lighter as it is made from boiled soybeans instead of steamed ones.

From Takayama, you can take a 2.5 hours bus ride using SHORYUDO Bus Pass to explore Toyama.  One of the places which you can explore is Toyama Glass Art Museum located at 5-1 Nishicho, Toyama City, Toyama 930-0062, Japan.

The floor plan is designed to surround the stairwell that stretches diagonally from the 2nd floor to the 6th floor.

 Do visit the Glass Art Garden when you can see installation by the great master of contemporary glass art, Dale Chihuly, in display.

Five pieces from Chihuly's representatives art series, such as the Persion Ceiling" and "Mille Fiori" are in this exhibition.

For those whose stomaches are growling after the bus ride, do visit Sushi Masa.

They serve Chirashi Kaisen Don for 1620 yen.

One of the hotels which you can choose to stay in is Toyama Oyado Nono Hotel.  One interesting highlights of this hotel is that the hotel room has its own mini onsen where hot spring water will flow to fill up the bathtub and you can enjoy a nice soak after a long day.

The buffet breakfast in the hotel is a dream come true for seafood lovers.  One of the main highlights is the fresh seafood on rice which you make on your own.  This means you can top up as much seafood, like salmon, sweet prawns and crab meat as much as you want.

To go to Takaoka Station from Toyama, you can first take the free shuttle bus from the hotel to Toyama Station and from there, you can use the SHORYUDO Buss Pass to hop onto a bus that brings you right toTakaoka Station.  From there, you can choose to place your luggage in the lockers located in the Station so that you can explore Takaoka freely, without having to pull your luggage around.

One of the must go places in Takaoka is Fujiko. F. Fujio Hometown Art Gallery where you can know more about the history of Manga artist Fujiko. F. Fujio, also the creator of Doraemon.  You are not allowed to take any photos of the exhibits except the statutes of Doraemon outside the entrance near to the Gallery Shop. 

Walk to the Zoo area in the Takaoka Kojo Park to see the "Paintbrush Tower" of kappa, which has been painted by 154 manga artists.

One exciting highlights for both adults and kids will be the Doraemon Tram, which you can take from one of the tram stops.

The tram is decorated with Doraemon soft toy and drawings of Doraemon and friends.

This tram will bring you right back to Takaoka Station .

Here, you can buy and write postcards to send back home at the Doraemon Post located at the Takaoka Station Kotsu Hiroba (Curun 1F).  Letters dropped into this post are stamped with a Doraemon postmark.

There are various restaurants where you can grab your lunch before continuing your tour.  One of them is Gozzo where you can try out the sushi rice bowl.

Going to Kanazawa is very easy by using the SHORYUDO Bus Pass to board Bus 7.  This bus will bring you to Kanazawa Station.

Do buy the Hokutetsu Bus One Day Pass which cost 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children to explore Kanazawa City.

If not, do take a walk at the Higashi Chaya District.  Chaya means a teahouse, a traditional place of feasts and entertainment.  The row of old teahouses, characterised with a beautiful lattice, is reminiscent of old days.  The area is designated as Japan's cultural asset.

Quite a few of the old houses have been converted into cafè, souvenir shops and so on.

Sakuda Gold & Silver Leaf is a long-established gold leaf shop with a 100-year tradition.

Not only can you purchase gold leaf handicrafts, you can also get a first-hand experience and observe the gold leaf manufacturing process.

A trip to Kanazawa is not completely if you do not visit Kenroku-en Garden and Kanazawa Castle Park.

Kanazawa Castle was once the center of politics after Maeda Clan started to reside there in 1583.  The castle is lit up every week on Fridays and Saturday nights.

  This is the oldest fountain in Japan.  Its water comes from Kasumigaike Pond and it works by natural pressure caused by the difference in the levels of the two ponds.

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa is an interesting place where you the concept of the architecture is "the museum looking like a park open to town.

For those are into seafood, do try out restaurants that offers seafood like Restaurant Cho Hachi.  Every seafood dish has the umami flavour which makes you look forward to the next one.

A good place to rest for the night is ANA Holiday Inn Kanazawa SKY.  The neighbourhood around this hotel features many store and machiya-style homes, giving the feeling of being in a jokamachi.  You will get to enjoy the scenic views from each floor and the unbeatable location near spots where Kanazawa's culture can be experienced. 

One of the recommended location to walk around is the Naga-machi Buke Dashiki District.

Naga-machi is an area where samurai used to reside.  You can still see the earthen walls and experience an atmosphere similar to that of the Edo era.  Another highlight is the scenery surrounding the canal, which is a beautiful sight to look at.

While you are there, do visit the ancient site of a samurai house (The Family of Nomura).

This is part of the ruins of samurai houses.  Only parts of the old gate and the wall around the ancient houses are left as they were.

You can see a display of the samurai amour and imagine the prosperity of the old industralist in olden times through the amazing architecture.

At the same time, you can imagine how people used to live, by checking out the beautiful garden attached to a formal samurai house.

There are also displays of items that are preserved from the olden times.

 Omi-cho Market is a place not to be missed in Kanazawa.  

Boasting a 290-history, this is one of Japan's preeminent markets, and is aways crowded.

Not only can you buy fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables, you can also enjoy sushi and kaisen-don which are bowls of rice topped with seafood.

The Omi-cho Market was opened on 16 April 2009 as part of an urban redevelopment project, with an even better lineup of shops. 

Here you can buy a selection of produce from the Hokuriku area, as well as food from the kaga and Noto area.

To go to Nagoya from Kanazawa, you can take an express bus which costs 4180 Yen/ticket.  

There is plenty of shopping to be done in Nagoya, from departmental stores to designer stores.

Nagoya TV Tower is Japan's oldest TV Tower, standing at a height of 180 metres.  This popular spot is known as 'sacred ground' for lovers and offers some of Japan's best night time views.

The Oasis 21 is a three dimensional park containing commercial facilities, a bus terminal as well as the Spaceship Aqua zone, where you can take a mid-air walk 14 metres above the ground.

 Grilled Eel is a must to try in Nagoya and you can visit Unazen Restaurant.  You get to enjoy delicious eel which is crispy outside and soft inside.

For those catching an early flight back home or those who reach the Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport later part of the day, Centrair Hotel is an option to stay in.  It is a very comfortable and modern hotel with a bathtub for those who want to have a nice soak.  

This hotel also has a Hello Kitty Room which is available for booking.  It comes with Hello Kitty amenities as well.

Navigating around Japan is actually easy and convenient with the SHORYUDO Bus Pass.  With it, you can enjoy savings while travelling around Central Japan and enjoy special benefits and discounts.

To purchase the SHORYUDO Bus Pass, you can get it from a travel agency outside of Japan or on the following website: or

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