Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Nagoya Owned

Well, Day 1 is over, and I rocked Nagoya’s face off. As I mentioned before, I hadn’t really looked into anything of what there is to do over here, but luckily the front desk at the Youth Hostel gave me a really nice map of Nagoya, and there are a ton of flyers available here for all the local attractions. But this map is just amazing. Its got a main big map, and then 3 sub maps that zoom in on particular areas. Plus it shows where some of the main attractions are on each sub map. I pretty much used that exclusively and planned my trip around it. Who needs a tour guide or previous research? Just wing it the day of!!

So anyways, heres a general summary of my ‘on the fly’ itinerary from today:

After getting to Nagoya station, and my encounter with Japanese band guy and his song, I headed for the Youth Hostel to have them store my bags for while. It was super hot and kinda far, so I stopped at a Starbucks midway to cool off and re-energize. After I got to the Youth Hostel, paid for my room, and received map and pamphlet; I looked them over and headed out.

First off I thought I would walk east to Shirakawa Park is to maybe check out the Nagoya City Science Museum. However I swear that place is for kids, and there may not be much English, so idk if it would be all that worth it for me to go there.

After walking through the deafening Cicada filled park, I headed South to the Osu Kannon Temple. Pretty cool place, but honestly I gotta say, after being in Japan for a year, temples and Shrines are starting to all look the same >_<

From there I wandered off East into a big shopping street area, but… didn’t really end up buying anything.

Southeast of there was a subway station. Nagoya is actually the 4th largest city in Japan, so they’ve got a pretty good subway system. Not nearly as good as Tokyo (you can tell by the trains and the non-touch card ticket gates) but it’s pretty convenient. So I figured I’d be using it quite a bit today, and that the 740 yen unlimited pass was pretty cheap and worth it. Got my pass, and headed north for the ‘main’ of the day: Nagoya Castle.

Nagoya Castle is something else. Wow. This castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, which prolly doesn’t mean much to you, but he was the victorious shogun after the 100 year warring period Japan went through way back when. The Tokugawa Dynasty then went on for a few hundred years or so. But this castle is a practical culmination of the best of the best castle building technology from ancient Japan. It is THE castle from all of the history of Japan.

But I gotta say they did a very good job to mention how it was burned down on May 14th, 1945 as a result of bombing raids on Nagoya. But hey, what do you expect, I’d be pissed if one of the greatest cultural icon’s of my country got destroyed. Boy did they ever mention it in every single explanation though, whew.

Well the castle was restored and open to the public in 1959, and the entire inside was basically transformed into a museum to the castle. This baby is 7 stories tall! And on the 7th floor, there’s an observation deck which has a pretty good view of Nagoya.

However… this castle and the castle grounds close… at 4:30!

Eeehhh!?!? O_o

By the time I made it to the castle it was around 4:15, so however terribly unfortunate it was, I had to hurry through the thing. Of course they don’t close at 4:30 on the dot, I think they try to get everyone out by around 5. So I did hurry through, but took enough time to be satisfied with all the places I went to (sure wish they would’ve told me it closed at 4:30 earlier!). I kinda relied on the pictures I took of everything to be ½ of the experience.

After leaving the castle, I then headed southeast to go check out Gokoku, Nagono, and Toshogu Shrines. Yea… they were alright. Yea… they’re really all starting to look the same… However the main Toshogu shrine is in Nikko, where I went to on my birthday last October, so it was cool to go to one of the smaller ones in another city.

Then I headed south to Marunouchi Station! The interesting significance of this is that there actually is a Marunouchi Subway Line in Tokyo. There isn’t a Marunouchi line here in Nagoya, but there is a station… It was funny, so I took a picture, got on the train and headed east for Nagoya’s version of Tokyo Tower: TV Tower.

TV Tower is… a TV Tower. It was actually designed by the same guy, Tachu Naito from Waseda, who designed Tokyo Tower in Tokyo, and the Sapporo TV Tower in Hokkaido. So now I’ve been to all 3 of his towers, but only gone up the one in Nagoya. On a side note, supposedly they’re building another Tokyo Tower on the northeast part of Tokyo around Asakusa or something. Leave it to Tokyo to have the necessity for that.

After having walked around for… forever, I thought it would be a nice break to chill up in the 100 m observation deck, and catch the sunset. This observation deck was pretty cool. It was more like, a lounge, complete with leather couches and, chairs and tables. A very classy place to relax for a couple hours.

Unfortunately it was kind of cloudy where the sun was setting, so I didn’t get the greatest shot of the sunset, but it was pretty cool. After it got dark I snapped a bunch of shots of Nagoya’s night cityscape. I got some good shots of the JR Towers at Nagoya station, Nagoya Castle, and the park that runs north and south under the tower. Thanks to my wicked 12x zoom, I was also able to zoom in all the way down to Nagoya Port, and get a cool shot of the amusement park down there, which is just the direction I was headed after I was done with the tower.

Here’s where I got the good use out of my unlimited pass. It took about 20 minutes to get down to the port, but buy this time it was 9 ‘o clock and most everything was closed. A bummer, but it was nice to walk around the port area, especially since it was the coolest (temperature wise) place I’d been to all day. It was over 31 C today, which is in the 90’s for you metric folks. Yes, very hot

After that I got a bite to eat and headed back to the Youth Hostel. Got back around 10:40 (they lock the front doors at 11, so I had to be back by then). Grabbed my luggage, grabbed my key, headed to my room, took off my clothes and got into a COLD shower. Boy did that ever feel good, whew. I brought some febreeze with me so I could wear some clothes for a couple days but… I don’t think febreeze is gonna help. I was sweating all day, yuck. I’m sure I’m getting a bit of a tan too. Definitely gonna be soar in the morning. Holy cow did I walk a lot.

Google map for my Nagoya Trek here.

Well, I’m gonna get some sleep. Oh by the way, my room is Japanese style. Pretty cool ^_^


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home