Sakae: The Beating Heart of Nagoya

Sakae is located in Aichi, Nagoya, Naka-ku. Sakae is arguably the main entertainment area of Nagoya, and the hub of many communities in the Chubu Region. Sakae basically includes the areas within walking distance of Sakae intersection and Sakae Station. Sakae Station sits on the Higashiyama and Meijo Subway lines, and the Meitetsu-Seto Line; 2 stops from Nagoya on the yellow line.

In common use, people living in urban areas of Japan use the name of the closest station to refer to their neighborhood. So, “Sakae” is often used to explain places that are actually in Nishiki, Shin-sakae, or even Higashisakura, north of Sakae. Used broadly, it is a very big and exciting part of Nagoya.

Sakae’s Hisayaodori Park is a very nice urban park that features events on weekends; if the weather is good, nearly every weekend. The park also contains the Nagoya TV Tower. The 180-meter tower was the first built in Japan back in 1954. Since then, Nagoya has become quite fond of it, and the TV Tower is often mentioned as a symbol of Nagoya. When the weather is nice you can find families and couples taking pictures in front of it, and at night when the tower is illuminated it dominates the skyline and can be seen from all over Sakae.

In the shadow of the tower sits the ever funky Oasis 21, where events are held on the Milky Way Square; an open public space below Water Spaceship roof. From the roof you have a great view of the tower, and many couples find it pleasant to stroll around the rooftop pond and enjoy the view. The public space below holds restaurants and stores, and even a Saturday morning farmer’s market. The space also plays host to large public events and celebrations, such as the World Cosplay Championships when they came to Nagoya in 2010 and 2011. Adjacent to Oasis 21 you will find the Aichi Fine Arts Center, which is home tothe Aichi Fine Art Museum and Aichi Performing Arts Theater. There is also a Wolfgang Puck, among other things.

Matsuzakaya, Maruei Sakae, and Mitsukoshi are department stores known collectively as the 3M of Nagoya. These, and other large stores such as Parco, Nadya Park, and Lachic, extend well into the adjacent Yaba-cho area. This area between Sakae and Yaba-Cho contains many high-end luxury import brand stores, and ranks among the best shopping areas in Japan. You can find some of the most expensive brand name clothes, shoes, and bags in the world, but there is also a Gap! Nearby Nadya Park, is a modern skyscraper and shopping complex housing the International Design Centre Nagoya on its fourth floor and the Loft Departmental Store, which seems to have everything you could need.

There are two additional shopping areas underground in Sakae. The area under the TV Tower in Hisayaodori Park is known as “Central Park,” and Sake-Mori Underground Shopping Center is on the other side of Sakae Station. Very near the Sake-Mori Underground you can find a few interesting places. If you are new to Japan, the Daiso 100 yen store in the Skyle Building is a lot of fun. If getting a western style meal is your thing, the Outback Steakhouse is right across the street, and a Starbucks sits above that. Just down the street from the Skyle Building you can find Mejiya, a great source for “foreign foods” in Nagoya.

Sakae is famous for its attractive nightlife and draws people from all over Chubu. At night the area hums with the energy of Nagoya’s youth come out as clubbers, bar hoppers, and the ever present advertisers drawing prospective patrons to their spot. Popular nightclubs in Sakae include iD Café, Gary’s, Club Quattro, Club JB’s, and Steps. Popular bars in Sakae include MyBar, Bar 8, and 59’s.