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Nagoya - Japan
Every traveler eventually desires a break from the exhausting trials of touring a foreign land. Visitors to Nagoya are blessed with a dazzling array of entertainment choices that will satiate even the most eccentric tastes. Be it culture, sports, theater or nightlife, Nagoya has it all, and even better, it's all easily accessible by public transportation.
If you want to expand your horizons on a rainy day, museums in Nagoya are plentiful. The Tokugawa Art Museum displays artifacts and treasures from the legendary Tokugawa clan, while the Nagoya City Art Museum houses works of internationally renowned Japanese artists, giving visitors a taste of the nation's artistic aesthetic. If a more international flavor is what you are looking for, the Nagoya-Boston Museum of Fine Arts regularly displays world-class pieces, drawn from its collection of some 500,000 items that are displayed on a rotating, thematic basis.
If art museums are not your style, educate yourself in the developments of the manufacturing industry by visiting the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology to learn about the histories of both the textile and the car manufacturing industries. If strictly cars are your passion, however, 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 car fanatics.
Zoos, Aquariums & Gardens
For those who prefer that their entertainment come 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, it makes wonderful day trip, while the aquarium boasts three floors of sea life, focusing on five different regions of the sea. Hisaya Odori Park is another outdoor favorite with locals and visitors alike, and because of its location at the heart of central Nagoya, it couldn't be anymore convenient; if you're not satisfied seeing it from the ground, head up to the observation deck in the Nagoya TV Tower to get a stunning view from high above the city.
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 among the most popular nationwide, Japanese fans are amongst the most supportive in the world. Nagoya's local teams are the Chunichi Dragons (baseball), who make their home at the Nagoya Dome, and the Nagoya Grampus Eight (soccer), whose play at the Toyota Sports Center. Check out local bulletins and newspapers for ticket availability. The Nagoya International Women's Marathon is another popular sporting event that attracts a huge audience of spectators from around the city.
If traditional Japanese sports tickle your fancy, there are martial arts such as judo and kendo, but as is the case across Japan, sumo wrestling is among the most popular. Nagoya hosts the annual July Basho sumo tournament, but the prices are not cheap and tickets must be purchased in advance if you want to see some of the biggest stars of this national sport collide.
For some visual entertainment, don't forget to get a taste of traditional Japanese theater while in Nagoya. The Misonoza theater has kabuki performances every April and October, with both modern and ancient forms of entertainment filling the stage the rest of the year, while the Nagoya Nohgakudo is not to be missed for viewing the esoteric and methodical art of traditional Noh drama. Performances normally occur on the weekends. One last form of traditional entertainment not to be missed can be found at the Shima Geisha House in Higashi-ku, where visitors can see beautiful examples fo traditional geisha performances, including dancing and playing of the shamisen, a traditional Japanese stringed instrument.
Once the day is done, if you are ready to cut loose and taste forbidden fruits, the nightlife in Nagoya caters to any and all interests. 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 here 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 for Motown sounds. Nova Urbana hosts live samba shows regularly and Club Quattro Nagoya gives partygoers a wide variety of music to choose from. Can't decide where to hit next? Grab a copy of the latest Japanzine magazine available at the International Center for a monthly listing of what is going on around town. Try ID Café for a bonanza of sound; with multiple floors, you are sure to find a beat to suit your taste. Underground also 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. Another popular nighttime destination, and one that will be familiar to American visitors, is Bottom Line Nagoya, sister to the famous New York night club of the same name.