Nagoya lies at the heart of the Chubu Region of Central Japan. It is the 4th largest city in Japan, and its long history is notable as the birthplace of three historically significant feudal lords, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. You will find them and their exploits highlighted in many festivals and historical footnotes throughout the city. While many traditional industries such as ceramics and textiles still thrive, Nagoya’s economy is dominated by modern industries, including automobiles, aviation, and machine tools. It is considered the manufacturing heart of Japan. Sometimes overshadowed by Tokyo and Osaka, Nagoya is a great place to live, feeling much smaller than it actually is.
Nagoya consists of 16 wards, or “Ku,” but most are not popular with expats due to a relative lack of services and convenience to international schools or common expat companies. Please note that most people living in city areas in Japan use the name of the closest station to refer to their neighborhood. For example, those with an address in Naka Ku in Nagoya would say that they lived in Sakae if that is the closest station to their home.
Having trouble working out which area is best suited to the type of lifestyle you would like to lead in Japan? See our guide for information on the popular expat areas to live in Nagoya City.
Issha and Hongo are popular areas for expat families in Nagoya as they are located between the Nagoya International School and Toyota. The Tomei Expressway entrance is located by Hongo station and provides excellent vehicle access to both Toyota and Okazaki. There is a wonderful selection of restaurants and cafes and English-speaking physicians and pediatricians located in the area. Sporting facilities are plentiful, and there are many nice parks equipped with jungle gyms to keep the kids busy for hours. There are also several major shopping centers and an international supermarket located near Issha station. Meito-Ku hosts many western-style houses with gardens and is the most popular area with expats due to its convenient location and facilities.
Hoshigaoka is on the Higashiyama Line, which runs through the city and is nicely located on the Higashiyama Park and Zoo’s edge. Visiting the park, botanical gardens, city library, and sports center here are favorite pastimes for Japanese and foreigners alike. There are also some western restaurants and shops that are well frequented on weekends and fine days. The Aichi International School is located close by, making the area a popular choice for families with small children. Single-standing houses are scarce finds here; however, apartments are available.
Chikusa is conveniently located just a short train ride from the central business district in Nagoya city and is a popular place for dining after hours amongst young professionals. The Matsuzakaya supermarket here stocks an extensive range of imported products to enable you to catch a taste of home. The area is surrounded by greenery and is a popular choice of neighborhood for families. Western-style housing is limited; however, Japanese-style apartments are readily available.
Yagoto is located on the Tsurumai Line, which runs between Toyota, Nisshin, and Nagoya city. Whilst it is slightly further to the Nagoya International School than the Meito-Ku area, the convenience of the commute to Toyota and the abundance of greenery draws many expats here. An international hospital with English speakers available is located in the area, and Jusco, the main shopping center, stocks anything you could require for daily life. There are 2 universities here and a range of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. For the health-conscious, there are private gyms and health centers in the area. Yagoto is popular with Japanese executives, and although housing is mostly Japanese in style, the properties are gorgeous and relatively spacious compared to standard Japanese housing.
Tempaku-Ku is located on the outskirts of Nagoya and offers excellent access to Toyota by train. Until recently, the number of foreign residents living in the area was rather limited, and thus it has only limited facilities catering to the foreign community. Recently the popularity of the Hara and Hirabari areas is increasing due to the cheaper housing prices available. The Matsuzakaya supermarket located just by Hara station has a large range of foreign goods available. The Ueda International Preschool is also located here and enjoys an excellent reputation amongst the foreign community. Housing options are mostly limited to smaller apartments.
Sakae is Nagoya’s major business district, and you will find all you want here, from nightlife and shopping to dining, art, and entertainment. The area boasts many trendy places to shop and upscale boutiques and the “3M” department stores (Mitsukoshi, Matsuzakaya, and Maruei). Housing options are limited and tend to be more expensive and on the smaller side in the center of town.
The Nagoya station area is host to many offices, restaurants, and popular places to shop, including the Takashimaya department store and Tokyu Hands. Domestic travel is made easy here as you can jump on the bullet train from Nagoya station and reach almost all areas of the country in just a few hours. The Nagoya International Center’s friendly and multilingual staff provides various useful services to the foreign community. Housing options are relatively limited and not as spacious as in other areas; however, there are many new developments taking place, which will undoubtedly see an increase in the expat community in the not-so-distant future.
Fushimi area is to Nagoya, what Roppongi is to Tokyo. This area is popular with those wanting to enjoy the nightlife and boasts many western-style restaurants and bars. The Higashiyama and Tsurumai Lines cross here, making it a common transit point for those on their way to Toyota. The Hilton hotel is also located in Fushimi, making it a popular place to stay for visitors from out of town. Housing options are rather limited, expensive, and on the smaller side in this central district.
Relo Japan, another part of The H&R Group, is proud to bring you our FREE “Nagoya Destination Guide,” a special digital guide that incorporates inside knowledge of Nagoya from the view of an expatriate. Download this free guide as either an interactive multimedia iBook for viewing on an iPad or as a PDF for viewing on a PC or other devices. This invaluable resource has everything you need to know about living and working in Japan, including:
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