A Date That Ventures Through The Diverse Culture And History Of Nagoya

There are many parallels between love and travel: the excitement of making memories, the thrill of exploration and discovery, and the inevitable shift in perspective as hearts and minds open. There is often a moment midway through a really fantastic trip or an amazing date, where both sets of adventurers wish that it could last a little bit longer.

Enter the Nagoya plus date, showcasing three fun and famous locales of the city while adding in some extra experience for the explorers willing to wander a little further, both geographically and as they move deeper into discovering true love.

Good for:

  • Longer dates
  • Animal lovers
  • Cultural enthusiasts

Quick points:

  • Day trip from Kansai
  • Focus on attractions
  • Frequent walking

Nagoya Zoo + Close Up Animal Encounters

Its all happening at the zoo in Nagoya

It’s all happening at the zoo.

Sprawling and with the widest variety of animals in Japan, Higashiyama zoo is perfect for strolling and marvelling at just how huge rhinos really are. Koalas, tigers, polar bears and countless tiny humans running around provide great entertainment and opportunities for conversation. With over 7,000 flora species and 1,000 sakura trees across the park, the botanical garden aspect of Higashiyama offers plenty of seasonal diversity to appreciate as well.

Some enclosures have minimal fencing so animals can feel very close

Some enclosures have minimal fencing, so the animals can feel very close.

Only 500 yen for entry makes Higashiyama zoo a reasonable day out

Only 500 yen for entry, makes Higashiyama zoo a reasonable day out.

Visiting any zoo is a highly popular date activity in Japan. Couples can connect while sharing a cup of long, crunchy giraffe fries or during a romantic but potentially misguided attempt to paddle a rowboat.

Rowboats are difficult to manage but precious memories will be made

Rowboats are famously difficult to manage, but whether the ride is smooth or a critical fail, precious memories will be made.

For a charming chance to extend the date, check out the animal encounters event schedule. Past experiences have included a behind-the-scenes look at the giraffe enclosure, getting the chance to hold various reptiles, and, most frequently and adorably, feeding snacks to guinea pigs.
Sweethearts meet their guinea pig matches

After a little lecture on guinea pig biology and habitats, sweethearts meet their matches.

Share a tender moment feeding the piggies carrot or spinach snacks

Share a tender moment feeding the piggies carrot or spinach snacks.

To reduce stress on the guinea pigs, holding and patting is no longer allowed. However, taking pictures is encouraged, and the interaction with these cuties may spark conversations between lovebirds about future pet preferences.

Nagoya Castle + Paths Of History

The main keep of Nagoya castle a romantic place

The main keep of Nagoya castle is currently under reconstruction until a projected 2028, while it’s rebuilt to its original specifications and using authentic materials.

The symbol and centre of the city, Nagoya Castle is a place of historical significance. While the main keep is sadly hidden behind scaffolding for now, Honmarugoten Palace was finished in 2018 after careful renovation using traditional techniques. Despite extensive damage during the Second World War, thanks to a collection of preserved architectural drawings visitors can admire the residence of the prominent Owari Tokugawa samurai clan in all its former glory. For couples who are history buffs or simply possess an active imagination, strolling hand in hand through corridors lined with hinoki wood and warmly illuminated by washi and bamboo lanterns allows them to slip back in time together.

NagoyaIsNotBoring Elisabeth Llopis

@NagoyaIsNotBoring – Elisabeth Llopis

Nagoya castle also has a daily ninja show. Displaying all the expected acrobatic skill of shinobi, fierce charisma of a shogun, and schwing sword sound effects, the team recreate a desperate moment fighting for Lord Tokugawa’s life. After the performance, couples can get hands on with some shuriken, either by throwing the metal kind, or learning how to fold some with origami.

Fun fast and full of flips the ninja show at Nagoya Castle

Fun, fast, and full of flips: The ninja show at Nagoya Castle usually starts around 10 am.

An additional opportunity to delve into the past is mere walking distance from the castle, along the Cultural Path which features a collection of well-preserved buildings from the Meiji and Taisho era.

Cultural Path is a little misleading with buildings concentrated together

The name, “Cultural Path” is a little misleading, with buildings concentrated together within an easily walkable region rather than one particular road.

The Futaba and Shumoku museums are highlights to visit, exemplifying the mixture of Japanese and Western trimmings common in wealthy houses at the beginning of the 20th century. Tatami floors line the rooms, wooden balustrades frame spiral staircases, luminous stained glass windows light wide drawing rooms, and statues of samurai guard the gardens. Entry is affordable at 200 yen to visit one of the buildings, or 320 yen to visit both. An excellent way to extend an afternoon of exploration together while you discover whether your potential life partner truly is the love of your life.

Futaba museum is surrounded early blooming species of sakura in March

The outside of the Futaba museum is surrounded by an early blooming species of sakura in March.

Inside Futaba museum in Nagoya
Futaba museum once home to Sadayakko Kawakami and Momosuke Fukuzawa

Inside the Futaba museum, once home to geisha and actress, Sadayakko Kawakami, and capitalist, Momosuke Fukuzawa.

Noritake Gardens + Chill Tunes

Noritake Lifestyle Shop And Cafe Nagoya

Nagoya has been home to the world famous Noritake porcelain dining-ware since 1904.

Noritake tea cups and plates have been staples of special occasion meals for over a century and for the 100th anniversary the company converted the original factory site into a beautiful park. Dating partners can picnic on perfectly trimmed lawns or snap selfies while wandering between charming brick buildings.

Old Noritake factory buildings are now cafes and restaurants

The preserved factory buildings have taken on new life as cafes and restaurants, naturally utilising Noritake porcelain for their tableware.

Noritake Gardens is only a short walk from the main station in Nagoya

Described as an urban oasis, Noritake Gardens is only a short walk from the main station.

The museum displays artefacts from Noritake’s history and the craft centre gives couples the chance to to hand paint their own ceramics in commemoration of their amazing day out together.

Nearby Aeon mall allows the opportunity for a shared shopping spree

The nearby Aeon mall allows the opportunity for a shared shopping spree.

After a busy few hours exploring all that the Gardens have to offer, a weary twosome will find comfort and chill tunes only a few steps away at Littletree cafe.
Relaxing cafe for a mellow time dating in Nagoya

A well-stocked bookshelf covers one side of the shop and a small garden sprouts within the windows. Coffee is served black, which the proprietress admits she once found pretentious. But when you have Ugandan beans, roasted perfectly, there’s no need for milk and sugar.

A selection of cakes and sweets to enjoy with one s coffee

A selection of cakes and sweets to enjoy with one’s coffee.

Littletree also boasts a record collection visitors can flick through and switch upon request. A DJ turntable waits by the counter for those with the skill and confidence to attempt a mash-up.

Littletree in Nagoya has a record collection couples can flick through

Taking a few moments before catching the train home, an adventurous duo sharing some home-made cake may find their breath deepening, muscles loosening and thoughts of maybe holding back feelings slipping away. Listening to some vintage tunes while reviewing all the photos taken during a day at Nagoya’s most romantic spots—and then some. The Nagoya plus date offers a great chance for couples to reflect and enjoy deepening feelings, while keeping that first date or Omiai magic thoroughly alive and coming to understand how each can be a better partner as love grows.

Dating couples can share coffee and cake at Littletree cafe in Nagoya

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