Midland -from Tokugawa to Toyota
We are situated in the centre of Nagoya, in Chubu area(literally "Midland" in Japanese). Although you haven't heard of the city's name, you probably know the region's largest manufacturer - Toyota. It's here. As you can imagine, the city is dedicated for industry, and the region has been well known for its crafts; pottery in middle age, textile in early modern times, then of course automobile nowadays. Still some of the early manufacturing survive. Especially pottery in the brand name called "Noritake" and still produces large amount of high quality pottery, either mass-produced or hand-made. Therefore the city's museums are often related to craftmanship. For example, there are three museums(Communicative Museum of Industry and Technology, Toyoya Automobile Museum, and Toyota Kaikan) related to Toyota, and one called Noritake Garden for Noritake. Some of them does demonstrations or tours of manufacturing.
In the middle era, one of Tokugawa (Shogun) clan's ruled around Nagoya Castle and the most of the area, and the heritages of Tokugawa clan are now being kept in Tokugawa Art Museum. Apart from Tokugawa clan, some southern parts of the city was also ruled by Atsuta shrine, one of three major shrines in Japan, and Kusanagi-no- Tsurugi, one of three Imperial Regalias are still held there(but not exhibited for religerous reasons). Unfortunately the city was bombed during WW2, but some in suburban area still survived and preserved well - like Inuyama Castle, or Meijimura village Museum.
The gateway to rural Japan
Also Situated in the middle area, Nagoya is the gate way of rural Japan. It is not only Tokyo or Kyoto - some of the places is worth watching, such as Takayama, Ise(Ise Shrine), or Magome, but they are not easily accessible from these major cities. Of course express trains runs in these areas however, it is not as fast as Shinkansen. Nagoya itself is one of the major cities however, it is closer to these remoter areas; Takayama is only 2 hours, and Ise 1.5 hours by the regional express trains. They are so close that you can even make a day trip.
Making the most of your Japan Rail Pass
As mentioned, Nagoya is in the central area of Japan, whose transport system is probably one of the best in the world. The Shinkansen trains for instance run every 20 mins between Tokyo and Osaka, Hiroshima, or Fukuoka, for example. Acquiring a Japan Rail Pass means you can make the most of this well developed system. Using Shinkansen, Nagoya is 1.5 hours to Tokyo, 50 mins to Kyoto, 1 hour to Osaka, 2.5 hours to Hiroshima, 3 hours Fukuoka, and also situated in the very middle of these cities. Therefore, if you like to travel around but do not want to move around with your heavy luggage, the location of Nagoya may work well for you. Of course that is not a good idea for everyone but it gives you a hint to travel in Japan.
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