Asia,  Destinations,  Japan,  Trains, Planes & Rideshares,  Travel Diary

An overnight trip to Nagoya

I’m currently staying just outside of Osaka, but I decided to do an overnight trip over to Nagoya to see a show and do a bit of sightseeing. Well, more like shopping spree than sightseeing, really…

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Bus from Osaka to Nagoya

I booked a ticket with the JR bus from Osaka Station to Nagoya Station for a mere ¥1,900 / $12.45 USD each way. If you book early enough you can snag the discounted ticket rate; I booked about 4 days beforehand and there were still enough seats for the dates and times I wanted, but on very busy days/routes you should book much earlier to get the seat you want.

Compared to the train, the bus was about the same transit time and less than half the cost. It’s 3 hours from point to point on the bus, with a 10 minute break at a rest area. The train is slightly less than 3 hours, but it costs closer to ¥4,900 / $32 USD one way. You could take the bullet train for a transit time of just over one hour, but it’d cost roughly ¥6,600 / $42 USD one way.

If you have the time, the savings are worth it to take a bus over the train!

Japanese highway express buses are super nice. They’re clean, comfortable and they always stop roughly every 1.5-2 hours at a clean and safe rest area. I like the JR ones because they’re run by the train company, but the other bus companies are good, too.

Nagoya adventures

The bus dropped us off at JR Nagoya station.

First thing I did was stop by the Tourist Information Center and get a map, plus a souvenir stamp. JR Nagoya Station recently stopped doing its own eki stamp, and even the Shinkansen line lost its stamp. The ONLY stamp you can get at JR Nagoya Station (as of April 2024) is the one in the Tourist Information Center.

Tourist Information Center stamps at Nagoya Station

Anyway: originally I was going to drop off my backpack and then go wandering around, but I managed to pack good enough in my lightweight Eddie Bauer daypack that I just carried it around with me all day instead. Huzzah!

After a quick lunch at 7-11, I had just enough time to get to my main destination: the Shiki Nagoya Theatre.

Cats the Musical at Shiki Nagoya Theatre

I specifically came to Nagoya to see this production! I enjoy seeing foreign productions of my favorite shows when I’m traveling. Even though I don’t speak any language but English (so far), it’s fun to see the different costumes, staging, singing, etc.

I waited a bit too long to get my ticket, so all I could snag was a seat on the upper floor for about $79 USD. Kind of a bummer, but at least it wasn’t all the way at the back!

Here’s my POV from my seat, in the third row back from the front of the upper section:

It wasn’t a bad seat, actually! I could see the whole stage and I was close enough to make out expressions and whatnot. The only downside is that the actors sometimes went into the orchestra seats to do things and those of us seated on the upper floor were totally out of view from what was happening. This was especially obvious during scenes like Old Deuteronomy’s entrance, where he came from the back of the theater and slowly made his way up to the stage.

On the other hand, the actors came up to the second floor to do audience interaction throughout the show and especially at the end, when they came running through the whole theater to “touch paws” with audience members. That was a pleasant surprise, for sure!

Cats the Musical merchandise

Overall it was a wonderful show, and I’m so glad I got to go. I picked up some small souvenirs, too, though the Mr. Mistoffelees plush I was hoping to get was sold out. Apparently those little plushes are so popular they’re constantly on backorder.

Dinner at Coco Ichibanya

After the show, I went over to my hostel and checked in. I’d booked one night at Trip & Sleep, a somewhat big hostel located about 30 minutes walking from the JR train station and within a large shopping district.

There were lots of backpackers in the hostel but not the chatty kind, and tbh I was so focused on figuring out what I was going to do the next day before my bus back to Osaka that I didn’t try starting any conversations, either.

For dinner, I walked down the street to Coco Ichibanya, a chain curry place. I probably should’ve tried some local Nagoya restaurant, but honestly I was craving pork cutlet curry and Coco is a good chain for that. A cheese and spinach pork cutlet curry was only $8.87 USD, and the waiter was so friendly and nice! Well worth stopping by, in my opinion.

Next day: Shopping!

Woke up bright and early and absolutely starving, so I went out to find food.

Breakfast at Sukiya

Sukiya is another chain restaurant but one that I recently discovered (thank you, TikTok travelers!). They’re one of the only places that does breakfast AND opens before 10:00am, so they’re a great option if you want something fresh and don’t want to wait around in the morning. I got a salmon and egg with rice combo for a mere ¥490 / $3.17 USD, and it was delicious!

Sukiya is nice for tourists too because you order everything on a tablet which has an English option, PLUS you get a free drink. Take your receipt up to the counter to pay (cash or credit card) and BAM! Done! Easy-peasy.

Osu Antique Market

Osu Kannon, 2 Chome-21-47 Osu, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 460-0011

18th and 28th of the month, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

I enjoy going to flea markets, but especially ones that actually have antique junk and not just imported new stuff from China. This one was TRULY a flea market, set right outside Osu Temple and full of booths with vintage kimonos, dolls, pins, ceramics, decor, and more!

Here’s some pictures of my favorite booths:

I actually found some things I wanted to buy– I don’t actually buy a lot because I know I have to either carry it to my next country or ship it home, but one booth had some cute, small items that I got a handful of for ¥1,500 / $9.70 USD.

Not sure if I was supposed to haggle that price or not? I’m happy either way.

The Osu Antique Market happens every other week, rain or shine. I highly recommend stopping by if you’re in the area!

Book Off Super Bazaar

After the flea market, I went out to do some more shopping. Book Off is a discount bookstore chain that also sells collectibles, and the Super Bazaars sell things like clothes and household items. This Nagoya Super Bazaar is huge and amazing!

I found a couple things I just had to pick up, including an LL Bean tote bag for my mom and a few small bags for me. I’m a sucker for a small bag; I use them to organize my stuff in my suitcase, and they make great souvenirs without taking up a lot of extra room.

LL Bean store

I didn’t buy anything here, but I wanted to share photos because it’s amazing finding American brands in Asia and seeing the differences of styles. This LL Bean store in MELSA Sakae mall was SO CUTE, it really made me want to buy a whole new wardrobe and go camping in Maine.

McDonald’s stop

I had to stop by for a quick snack when I saw the new Japan-exclusive menu item: Bacon Potato Pie. I guess this is a seasonal release that only comes out in the spring!

It’s like a Hot Pocket, basically, with instant mashed potatoes and a small amount of bacon inside. I think it’d be better with some cheese, honestly.

Bus back to Osaka

Eventually, I had to get back to the JR Nagoya station and catch my bus back to Osaka. Nagoya has a pretty good subway system, so I took that over and managed to locate my bus bay easily enough. Nagoya station is large, but the signs are well-placed and if you follow the arrows correctly you can get around without getting lost in a maze of attached underground shopping malls.

I really enjoyed my visit to Nagoya. It could be a good place to stay as a base while going out sightseeing to nearby areas, since it’s only 3 hours by bus to Osaka and 2 hours by bus to Tokyo. Plus they have a well-connected subway system as well as a few bus routes. Pretty good!


Journal date: April 17-18, 2024

Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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