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Nagoya - Japan

Every traveller eventually desires a break from the exhausting trials of touring a foreign land. During your stay in Nagoya, you are blessed with a dazzling array of entertainment choices that will satiate the thirst of even the most eccentric visitor. Be it culture, sports, theatre or nightlife, Nagoya has it all. Luckily, all these entertainment areas are easily accessible by public transportation. If you want to expand your horizons on a rainy day, museums are plentiful. The Tokugawa Art Museum displays artifacts and treasures from the legendary Tokugawa clan. The Nagoya City Art Museum houses works of internationally renowned Japanese artists, giving you a taste of the nation's artistic aesthetic. If you are looking for a more international flavour, the Nagoya-Boston Museum of Fine Arts regularly displays world-class pieces as well as drawing on its own collection of some 500,000 items that are displayed on a rotating, thematic basis. If viewing the arts is not your style, educate yourself in the developments of the manufacturing industry by visiting the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. Check out the history of the textile industry as well as the car manufacturing industry. If cars are your passion, the Toyota Automobile Museum contains an unbelievable collection of vehicles, both classic and modern. Combined with a detailed portrayal of the history of the automobile, this museum is a must-see venue.

For those who desire their entertainment from the bounty of nature, Higashiyama Zoo and the Port of Nagoya Aquarium are happy to oblige. The zoo is not the most stunning in the world, but combined with the Botanical Gardens and the Higashiyama Skytower, the area makes for a wonderful day trip. The aquarium boasts three floors of sea life, focusing on five different regions of the sea. Museums and parks are great, but what about sports? For the sports lover, Nagoya does not disappoint. With professional baseball teams and J-League soccer clubs topping sports popularity, Japanese fans are amongst the most supportive in the world. Nagoya's local teams are the Chunichi Dragons (baseball) and the Nagoya Grampas (soccer). Check out local bulletins and newspapers for ticket availability. If more traditional sports tickle your fancy, there are martial arts such as judo and kendo. Nagoya also hosts a sumo tournament annually, but the prices are not cheap and tickets must be purchased in advance. Speaking of visual entertainment, how about some traditional Japanese theatre? The Misonoza theatre has kabuki performances every April and October, while both modern and more ancient types of stage activity fill the stage the rest of the year. If you miss the cinema, Nagoya has numerous movie theatres, but be ready to pay whopping prices to see the latest films in Japan. There are three cinemas conveniently located across from Nagoya Station. Okay, the day is done, you are ready to cut loose and taste forbidden fruits. The nightlife in Nagoya caters to any and all interests, ranging from book-talking and poetry-reading coffee shops to a masochistic night at a sketchy club. And, of course, a wide range of activities in between. The hub of Nagoya's nightlife is Sakae, where you can mingle with the locals at any given hour of the night. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in which to sit around and drink and eat, so just pick one with an atmosphere that suits your mood. For live music, try Memory Lane for a taste of the blues or Gary's Motown for R&B or Motown sounds. Nova Urbana hosts live samba shows regularly and Club Quattro Nagoya gives you a wide variety of music to choose from. Grab a copy of the latest Japanzine magazine available at the International centre for a monthly listing of what is on. The club scene in Nagoya offers many options, too. Try ID Café for a bonanza of sound. With multiple floors, you are sure to find a beat to suit your taste. Underground remains one of the more popular hip-hop clubs, while P.O.D. and Club Ozone both give you a mainstream pop music dance-club atmosphere. If you have got techno beats on the brain, try Club Wall or Club Mago for late night sounds. On the second Saturday of every month, Club Wall hosts a gay and lesbian night and on certain weekends you are liable to run into leather-clad, whip-whisking partiers at Club Mago.

For the video game connoisseur, there are copious numbers of game centres to be found. Many of them double as karaoke bars, and vice-versa. Look for bright lights and sounds, and you are sure to find one. However, you might stumble into a different place with bright lights and sounds known as a pachinko parlour. Originating in Nagoya, pachinko is regarded by many as the national pastime, aside from drinking and smoking of course. It is like a vertical pinball machine where you guide silver balls into holes to get more silver balls, which you turn in for prizes. The prizes themselves can be swapped for money at a window usually located around the corner in the next building. This is because gambling for money at these establishments is strictly illegal. Pachinko is worth a try, but do not get carried away, as it is a difficult game to master.
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