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24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan

Posted May 20, 2019 by Stephanie

In between visiting the udon capital of the world and heading up to the west coast of Japan, Mike and I stopped by for a quick 24 hours in Nagoya, in the middle of Japan. Nagoya isn’t Tokyo, or Osaka, and it’s certainly not Kyoto. No one visits Nagoya. It’s the kind of city that most people pass over, and it’s been voted the most boring city in Japan, at least twice. That’s not to say that Nagoya locals don’t have pride, indeed they have a lot!

We went in with open hearts and empty stomachs and I was very pleasantly surprised. Pulling up to Nagoya station, you’ll find your typical busy Japanese metropolitan neighborhood. Since we were only going to be there for one night, we booked the most basic station side hotel you can think of – it was extremely convenient. After checking in and leaving our luggage in the tiny room (still bigger than Tokyo rooms by far), we set out to explore the city.

24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

Our first stop was Nagoya castle, known as one of the three most famous castles in Japan. Happily, we were there right at the peak of cherry blossom season, so we decided to buy some snacks and drinks at a close by combini for an impromptu hanami party. The cherry blossoms at Nagoya Castle were breathtakingly beautiful. The tree branches brush low to the ground and you feel like you’re walking in a pink and white petal wonderland. There were little snack stands set up and the whole feeling was incredibly festive. I loved the cherry blossoms here even more than the cherry blossoms in Tokyo. 10/10 would recommend.

24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

After we watched the sunset, and finished our snacks and drinks, we set out to find dinner. Much like Kobe is famous for beef, Nagoya is known for cochin, a special breed of chicken. Of course we wanted to try some, and what better way than yakitori: charcoal grilled chicken on sticks. Mike looked up a place using trusty old Tabelog and we set out to find it.

Torisei (鳥勢) was a cute little yakitori joint filled with locals. In fact, it was so filled that when we arrived, the waitress kindly asked us if we had a reservation. We didn’t, of course, but she squeezed us into two counter seats, right by the yakitori master. Mike and I have eaten a lot of yakitori in our lives and this place was good! Smoky and crisp and charred to perfection. We had our fill of our usual favorite sticks and even had some special cochin chicken as well. It was the perfect little dinner and such a great intro to Nagoya.

24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

After Torisei we called it a night so we could wake up bright and early (early-ish) to grab a true Nagoya breakfast. In Japan, traditionally breakfast was a set meal kind of thing: rice, miso soup, and some small side dishes. It wasn’t until recently that bread (and therefore toast) became a popular breakfast item. But when it did, a special breakfast set called “morning service” came about.

Essentially, at most coffee shops in Nagoya (the prefecture and the city), you get get a free small breakfast-y type snack with your coffee, for FREE. Free things are straight up unheard of in Japan, so morning service is ridiculously awesome. Most morning services are a slice of toast and an egg. Sometimes they’ll offer a sweet red bean paste –azuki– to put on top of your buttered toast. The red bean butter toast is so popular (they call it ogura toast) that it’s the specialty KitKat flavor from Nagoya.

24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com

We headed to the ever popular Komeda’s Coffee for their morning service. I got a hand drip coffee (basically pour over) and it came with a thick slab of buttered toast and azuki. Mike got the same but with egg salad. He also got an extra order of toast and it was the BEST CALL EVER because that toast gave me life. It was fluffy and crisp and perfectly butter and so good, especially with the sweet red beans. It was one of my favorite breakfasts in Japan. Definitely check out morning service if you’re ever passing through Nagoya.

After our morning coffee, we walked to the center of Nagoya, towards our next food destination: Yabaton. Yabaton is a miso tonkatsu specialist – crispy deep-fried panko crusted pork chops drenched in a super savory red miso sauce. If you love tonkatsu and you love miso, you should definitely come here. It’s super popular and kind of kitschy because everything has the very cute pig mascot on it. Kind of weird because you’re gonna eat him, but at the same time cute too?

 <img src="https://iamafoodblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/IAM_1132.jpg" alt="24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com" width="1450" height="1812" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-27829" />

 <img src="https://iamafoodblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/IAM_1132.jpg" alt="24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com" width="1450" height="1812" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-27829" />

We got there shortly after it opened and the line already was around the side of the building. When we got to the front of the line, we were handed menus and we ordered even before stepping foot inside. When you get through the door, there’s a little area to the side the sells souvenirs as well as some counter seating. There’s also a narrow staircase where you wait in line some more before you head to the floor that’s indicated on the plastic card they give you after you order. Once you sit down, it’s only a couple of minutes until your food comes out. The tonkatsu is crispy and juicy and the miso sauce is super savory. There’s fluffy shaved cabbage and rice and everything was delicious.

 <img src="https://iamafoodblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/IAM_1132.jpg" alt="24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com" width="1450" height="1812" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-27829" />

 <img src="https://iamafoodblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/IAM_1132.jpg" alt="24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com" width="1450" height="1812" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-27829" />

 <img src="https://iamafoodblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/IAM_1132.jpg" alt="24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com" width="1450" height="1812" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-27829" />

We tried two other things in Nagoya. One was the regional specialty, tenmusu. Tenmusu are little onigiris stuffed with tiny tempura shrimp all wrapped up in a nori coat. They’re bite-sized, portable, and super yummy. There are several well known tenmusu places in Nagoya and we picked up a package each from the two of the most well known. We had one pack in the park, with some beer and the other pack we saved so we could eat them on our shinkansen train ride to our next destination.

I also had a french fry coated deep fried cheese dog which was AMAZING. We were on our way to see if we could stuff another meal into our tummies because we both wanted to give kishimen a try. Kishimen is a flat kind of udon that is particularly popular in Nagoya. We were walking to the place when I saw a huge line up of cute, young Japanese girls. “Oh my gosh,” I said to Mike, “kishimen is so popular!” Turns out the girls weren’t in line for kishimen. They were lining up for poteto chizu dogu, or potato cheese dogs! Super stretchy melty mozzarella cheese coated in little cubes of potatoes and deep fried. The kishimen place next door had no one inside and it looked a little sad so I surrendered to the cheese dog pull and got in line. Mike was nice enough to wait in line with me even though he wanted no part of it. His loss though because it was AMAZING. Seriously so good. I know it was probably ten thousand calories because it was deep fried cheese with potatoes, but it was worth it. Those Japanese girls knew where it was at. I was so happy I got one.

The cheese dog was the last thing we at in Nagoya before hopping on the train to head north to Niigata, the home of rice and sake. It was a good 24 hours in the city. I didn’t think I’d fall in love with Nagoya, but I did.

 <img src="https://iamafoodblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/IAM_1132.jpg" alt="24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com" width="1450" height="1812" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-27829" />

 <img src="https://iamafoodblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/IAM_1132.jpg" alt="24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com" width="1450" height="1812" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-27829" />

 <img src="https://iamafoodblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/IAM_1132.jpg" alt="24 Hours in Nagoya, Japan | www.iamafoodblog.com" width="1450" height="1812" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-27829" />

 

5 Comments

  1. Jo says:

    Always living vicariously through your Japan posts. Beautiful photography and insightful funny comments. Just curious, do you and/or Mike know Japanese? I heard it’s not that easy to order food if you don’t know Japanese…but alas there is Google translate :p

    1. Stephanie says:

      thank you jo :)
      i speak very rudimentary japanese LOL and google translate is a huge help!

  2. Sabrina says:

    love all of the savory Japanese foods, including yakitori, so even if boring, I’d go to Nagoya for the food, including the breakfast, thank you

  3. prafull goel says:

    Beautiful photography of Japan

  4. Luna says:

    Love Japanese food, especially Tonkatsu! Thank you for sharing all the good memory there and now I want to travel to Japan too.

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