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Nagoya History

Growing from a castle settlement into a prosperous industrial centre, Nagoya suffered sustained bombing in WWII, but emerged as a modern manufacturing dynamo.

Nagoya boasts more than 400 years of history, which began with the building of Nagoya Castle after the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.

Uniting Japan through his victory at the battle, Tokugawa Ieyasu commenced construction of the castle in 1610, and instructed the residents of Kiyosu to move lock, stock and temple to the area surrounding the new castle.

The castle’s first lord, Tokugawa Yoshinao, transformed the castle-city into a thriving town and the Tokugawa family continued to live in the castle for 16 generations.

Nagoya developed as a centre for ceramics, lacquer-ware, cotton and gunpowder production before becoming a centre for modern industry during the 19th century.

It achieved city status in 1889, a year which also ushered in the arrival of electricity.

Nagoya went on to become an important transport hub, with several railway lines meeting at the city and its busy port proving a vital link to the rest of the world. A network of canals was created to connect industrial areas to the coast.

Nagoya grew a name for itself as a metals and machinery manufacturer, helped in part by heavy demand in WWI.

In the 1930s, five local companies jointly created Japan’s first domestic car here, and it wasn’t long before Toyota was mass-producing vehicles for the global market.

The city was heavily bombed during WWII, and in the post-war era it was completely rebuilt into a well-planned modern metropolis.

Typhoon Vera (or Isewan Typhoon) pounded Nagoya in 1959, resulting in widespread flooding and nearly 2,000 deaths.

Today, Nagoya is Japan’s fourth-largest city and a key link between the east and west of the country, with manufacturing and industry still central to its prosperity.

Did you know?
• Nagoya’s seventh lord, Tokugawa Muneharu, actively promoted the arts, and performers came from across Japan to take to the stage in the 50-plus theatres.
• Nagoya Castle was destroyed during WWII, but rebuilt in 1959.
• Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda are all based in the Nagoya area.

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Nagoya Tokyu Hotel

The sophisticated Nagoya Tokyu Hotel is very near the bustling Sakae shopping and nightlife district. There are Western and Japanese-style guest rooms, as well as four different categories of suites to choose from. The Nagoya hotel also has a beauty salon, a business centre and a fitness centre with a large swimming pool, as well as several fine dining restaurants, including the elegant Loire French restaurant, and Nadaman, serving kaiseki (traditional multi-course banquet) and Edo-style sushi.

The b Nagoya

Right in the middle of the Sakae shopping area, this chic business hotel in Nagoya offers excellent value for money. The rooms are smart and comfortable, some with views over the leafy boulevard of Hisasya-dori, and have larger-size beds than usual and stylish bathrooms. 

Hotel Trusty Nagoya Sakae

Though close to the hustle and bustle of Sakae, this Nagoya hotel has a very relaxed atmosphere. Decorated in a classic European style, there is a lot of wood panelling and leather sofas in the elegant lobby. The rooms are cosy yet well equipped, with high-speed internet access and decent-sized desks. The hotel's Cuore Lounge serves daily meals based on seasonal ingredients, as well as tapas and wine, and afternoon tea.

The Westin Nagoya Castle

This hotel is superbly located with excellent views of Nagoya Castle, yet still in easy reach of the city's business district. The guest rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated, most with castle views, and have complimentary high-speed internet access. There's a business centre, several meeting rooms, a beauty salon, a sauna and an indoor heated swimming pool. In-house dining includes top-quality Japanese cuisine, including a sushi bar, as well as French and Cantonese restaurants.

Toyoko Inn

There are several branches of this trusty business hotel chain in Nagoya. One of the most convenient is the Nagoya-eki Shinkansen-guchi branch, just five minutes from the station. Rooms are cosy but have free internet access, as well as tea- and coffee-making facilities. Breakfast is served in the lobby, where there are English newspapers and internet terminals with printing facilities.

Hilton Nagoya

Close to Fushimi Station is Nagoya's top international hotel with stylish interiors and attentive service. Rooms are modern and comfortable and there are a good range of dining options in the hotel; choose from Indian, Chinese, continental and a variety of Japanese cuisines. Breakfast is not included and there's a fee for internet access. However, there are free shuttle buses between main station, as well as to the castle.