Getting To Know Nagoya In The Heart Of Japan
LIXIL, the premier Japanese housing and building conglomerate, recently invited members of the press to fly to Nagoya for their SPALET Iconic Tour. As someone who loves Japan, the idea of visiting the city of Nagoya was truly appealing. The third largest metropolitan area in Japan, Nagoya is also home to the country’s first LEGOLand, and perhaps that’s not just a coincidence but also a serendipity.
One aspect of our stay at Nagoya was going on a tour to appreciate the City Architecture, and it truly is an evolving cityscape with so much happening. It’s like being in the middle of a giant erector, construction set, with new buildings on the rise that are changing the urban landscape at an impressive rate.
Geographically, Nagoya is in the heart of Japan, home to the biggest JR (Japanese Railways) station in terms of floor area, and it’s at the Nagoya Station that the improved 2027 Chou Shinkansen maglev trains are being developed. Programmed to run at high speeds of 505 km/hour, these maglev (magnetic levitation principle) Shinkansen will mean train rides from Tokyo to Nagoya will take only 40 minutes, and eventually, the Tokyo to Osaka trip completed in 67 minutes.
The view from the Nagoya JR Gate Tower promenade
The City Architecture Tour was filled with surprises. I loved how their futuristic Oasis 21 structure is a Bus Terminal! Located beside the Aichi Arts Centre which houses Modern Art, it really felt like you were entering Oasis 21 to board interplanetary modes of travel, and not just the city bus. From the Oasis, one can view the Sunshine Sakae Mall, and you can’t miss it because even if located in the city center on a regular avenue, attached to the building is a giant Ferris wheel!
Nagoya’s Oasis 21 Bus Terminal
In terms of design, I have to tip my hat to the Spiral Tower, which is home to an Academy for Hair Styling and Make-Up. The Lucent Tower has some impressive lines, a very distinct fixture in the urban sprawl of Nagoya. The JP Tower (the Post Office), the JR Gate Tower and the Dai Nagoya are a cluster of super impressive structures, where one will find great restaurants, the Takashimaya Department store, and offices. Believe me, given the chance, I would have been happy to be left behind here by the tour group and go shopping, as I love the food halls of the Japanese department stores. Don’t you just love how their food packaging always has each item individually wrapped—like they’re foreseeing you won’t consume your purchase at one go?!
The wonderful design of Nagoya’s Spiral Tower
Looking up the Lucent Tower
At the JP Tower, my best named restaurant, to which I can only reply, U2
The main LIXIL Showroom is a few blocks away from Nagoya Station, and two whole floors are devoted to displays of shower toilets, interiors, kitchens, doors, bathrooms, and exteriors. What I was surprised by was how on each display floor, you would find two areas that were designated Kids Play zones. It was like they were welcoming prospective customers to bring their children who would be happily occupied, while the dads and moms would peruse the displays and talk business with the LIXIL reps. Again, it’s this Japanese attention to detail that always impresses me.
In Japan it’s all about foresight, planning, and making sure things happen, and on time. Here they were speaking matter of factly about the Chou Shinkansen line, and saying it would start running in 2027! There’s obviously a lesson to be learned there; but for now, I can just say that Nagoya was an eye-opener, and am happy LIXIL showed me a new Japanese city.