I’m sure there’s much to see and do in Nagoya, but with a toddler in tow it is challenging to be out and about all day and to cover as much as we are used to in our pre-Titus travelling days.
There are two key places we visited and loved most in Nagoya. One was the SCMaglev and Railway Park in the southern end of Nagoya.
The sprawling attraction is home to train carriages from then and now, giving visitors an educational ride through the evolution of Japan’s railway history.
Awesome Husband and I enjoyed walking through ancient train carriages and seeing how passengers used to dine onboard. Boy, did the menus and realistic food displays made us hungry!
Titus enjoyed climbing up and down the numerous flights of stairs. We should have just gone to a stairs museum.
The museum’s cafe is run by a company that supplies most of the country’s ekiben – bentos or set meals consumed on trains. So visitors can end their visit with a fancy train meal.
Unfortunately for us, most of the sets were sold out and the only attractive one was a sandwich set. Simple as they might look, the sandwiches were actually quite tasty!
The museum also has simulator train cockpits for visitors to experience being a train captain. Instructions are in Japanese though.
The second place we visited – and enjoyed a lot – was Koshoji Buddhist temple. It was almost 5pm when we got there so it was deserted, save for some temple staff.
The silence was exhilarating for us (we love peace and quiet!) and the wide open spaces thrilled Titus. He wriggled out of our grasp and went toddling around, his arms stretched out to catch the wind and his long shadows.
The way he laughed when the cold wind hit his face was endearing. How easy it is for a child to feel joy! I could learn from him.
We spent an awesome hour just hanging around the temple grounds, taking countless photos and watching Titus have fun. But it was real chilly that day and soon his lips started to turn blue. Yikes.
So we bundled him up and headed to a nearby mall in search of some baby necessities (international milk powder brands are elusive in Japan!). But first, Titus wanted a go on the swing in a playground nearby. Crazy boy!
But we relented and gave him a few minutes in the cold. He was chattering from the chills but was still delighted all the same.
We could have fallen in love with a third place in Nagoya but lacked the time to take in its full beauty. I’m referring to the Nagoya Castle and it’s surrounding parks.
Awesome Husband and I adore Japanese castles and their royal gardens. And we looked forward to seeing the city’s main keep and to have a simple picnic in the garden.
Unfortunately, we moved too slowly and the castle had stopped admittance by 4.30pm (yes, attractions in Japan close early).
We got to admire the castle from the outside and walk one short part of its perimeter. How disappointing!
With a bit of luck, we stumbled upon an ancient looking archway, went through, and found ourselves on the grounds of an indoor swimming facility. The facility has a spacious clearing with short, pretty trees and benches. So we picked a spot and feasted, while Titus – as usual – ran around and studied twigs and flowers on the ground.
Overall, we preferred Nagoya over Tokyo for the simple reason that it is a much quieter, slower-paced city than the Japanese capital. We look forward to experiencing more of it next time.