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Japanese Grand Prix - Off the Track

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The top things to eat, see and do when attending the Japanese Grand Prix

FanAmp has partnered with Off to the Races to provide comprehensive guides when traveling to Grand Prix's around the world! Their founder, Alexandra, is a world traveler and taste-maker who has consulted with locals to bring you the best places to eat, drink, and relax wherever Formula 1 takes you.

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For the fourth race of the season we are headed to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix. As the circuit is located in a more rural area of Japan, most visitors to the Japanese Grand Prix plan to stay in Nagoya, located just a 40-minute train journey from the track. Nagoya is one of Japan's largest cities and it features a rich blend of traditional and modern attractions. If you are headed to the Grand Prix, here are our top suggestions on where to eat, explore and relax when staying in Nagoya for the Japanese Grand Prix. 

Nagoya Castle

Did you know?

  • Nagoya is often referred to as the "Detroit of Japan" due to its significant role in the automotive industry, including begging home to the headquarters of Toyota
  • Nagoya Castle was Japan's first castle to be designated a National Treasure 
  • Located in the center of Japan, Nagoya serves as an important transportation hub and is the central point between Tokyo and Osaka via the Shinkansen bullet train
  • Nagoya City Science Museum is home to a planetarium that is 35 meters in diameter, the largest in the world.

Where to Eat

Japan is one of the food capitals of the world and for good reason; each region has its own unique cuisine and Nagoya is no exception, Their local cuisine is referred to Nagoya Meshi and some of their signature dishes include Miso-Katsu (deep fried pork cutlets covered in rich miso sauce), Tebasaki (spicy Nagoya fried chicken wings), and Hitsumabushi (grilled eel served on a bed of rice). These are our top restaurants to try when visiting Nagoya for the Japanese Grand Prix.  

Cheap & Cheerful: Misokatsu Yabaton

Misokatsu Yabaton

Just because it is a chain does not mean this Nagoya institution.  Misokatsu Yabaton is a local favorite known for specializing in Miso Katsu, deep-fried pork cutlets coated in a  flavorful miso-based sauce. Established in 1947, Misokatsu Yabaton has become a culinary institution in Nagoya, attracting locals and tourists alike. Their commitment to using high-quality pork and the unique miso sauce has garnered it a loyal following over the years and is a must-try when visiting Nagoya. Hours vary by location. They have locations all over the city including at the Nagoya Station 

Atsuta Houraiken Eel

Best for Hitsumbashi: Atsuta Houraiken 

Atsuta Houraiken

Atsuta Houraiken is a hitsumabushi specialty restaurant established in 1873.  Being the trademark owner of hitsumbashi, Atsuta Houraiken was the first restaurant to serve the now popular dish consisting of steamed Japanese rice and grilled eel filet. They now have three locations in the city and one takeaway restaurant, however we recommend dining at original location Honten. Open for lunch and dinner service, closed Wedndesdays and the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant directly, they do not accept reservations by email. 

Historical Setting: Kawabun


Over 400 years old, Kawabun is Nagoya’s oldest restaurant. Set nearby the Nagoya Castle, the restaurant began initially as a fishmonger before becoming an exclusive caterer to the castle. With a rich history and a commitment to tradition, this ryotei provides an intimate and refined dining experience. Today you can experience 400 years of culinary tradition over a set kaiseki menu, communal hotpot or afternoon tea ceremony. Hours of operation vary, reservations can be made online via their website

In addition to these restaurants, make sure you take time to explore all the amazing take-away options available at convenience stores and automats. The area around Nagoya station is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before or after the Grand Prix. 

Where to Explore 

Nagoya, Japan’s fourth largest city, seamlessly blends tradition and modernity. From 16th century castles and shrines to museums that chronicle the city’s contributions to the automotive industry there is truly something for everyone. These are our top places to explore when staying in Nagoya for the Japanese Grand Prix. 

Nagoya Castle

Nagoya Castle

Nagoya Castle, located in the heart of the city, is an iconic symbol of Nagoya’s rich history.  Originally built in the early 17th century, the castle is a stunning example of traditional Japanese castle architecture. Inside the castle, visitors can explore various exhibits that show the castle's historical significance, including artifacts, weaponry, and detailed accounts of its reconstruction efforts. The castle grounds feature expansive moats and lush gardens which are worth exploring. Open Daily from 9am-4:30pm, Free guided tours in English are offered daily at 12.30pm

Tokugawa Art Museum 

Tokugawa Art Museum

Discover samurai culture at the Tokugawa Art Museum. Established in 1935 , the museum is home to a remarkable collection of artifacts from the Tokugawa shogunate. The museum offers a captivating journey into Japan's feudal past and showcases the opulence of the Tokugawa era, featuring intricately crafted samurai armor, exquisite tea utensils, and masterpieces of traditional Japanese art.  The museum's crown jewel is the "Kakure Kirishitan," a hidden Christian artifact, underscoring the complex religious history of the time. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm

Atsuta Jingu Shrine

Atsuta Jingu Shrine

Atsuta Jingu Shrine

Renowned as one of Japan's most sacred Shinto shrines, Atsuta Jingu holds significant cultural importance as the repository of the legendary Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, one of the three imperial regalia of Japan. Surrounded by tranquil forested grounds, the shrine exudes a serene ambiance, inviting visitors to explore its sacred pathways and witness traditional rituals. The main hall, adorned with intricate architectural details, stands as a testament to the shrine's centuries-old legacy. With over a thousand years of history, Atsuta Jingu is the ideal destination for those seeking a connection to Japan's ancient traditions. The Treasure Hall is open daily  9am - 4,30pm, Shrine is open for 24 hours to pray.

Where to Relax 

Relaxation in Japanese culture is a cherished and intentional practice, deeply rooted in traditions that emphasize the harmony between mind, body, and spirit. We suggest taking time from the hustle and bustle of a Grand Prix weekend to connect with this quintessential aspect of Japanese culture. These are our top places to relax when staying in Nagoya for the Japanese Grand Prix. 

Discover the Cherry Blossoms 

The Japanese Grand Prix coincides with Japan’s cherry blossom season this year. Occurring in late March to early April, the blooming sakura trees adorn parks, riverbanks, and historic sites with their iconic blossoms. Designated as one of Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom viewing spots, over two kilometers of Nagoya's Yamazaki River is lined on both sides with large, lush cherry trees, and the walkway along the river is also lined with cherry blossoms. During the peak blooming period, the blossoms are illuminated in the evening. Pack a picnic and partake in ‘hanami’, the traditional cherry blossom viewing picnic. 

Experience a Traditional Japanese Spa 

If you have a few more days in the region we suggest heading out of the city and visiting a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn situated around natural hot springs known as onsen. A visit to a ryokan is a journey into tranquility and cultural immersion, offering a unique and rejuvenating experience for those seeking relaxation and a glimpse into traditional Japanese hospitality. Each inn has its own unique atmosphere but you can expect tatami-matted rooms, sliding paper doors, and meticulous garden landscapes creating an authentic atmosphere. There are many different excellent ryokans to select from in the region but we suggest  Hanamomaru, Yunoshimakan, or Suimeikan

Where to Go Out 

Nagoya comes to life at night with a myriad of entertainment options ranging from casual pubs to upscale clubs and karaoke joints. Unlike other major cities in Japan, the majority of Nagoya’s key nightlife spots are situated conveniently in two neighborhoods, Sakae and Shin-sakae. These are our top places to go out when staying in Nagoya for the Japanese Grand Prix. 

Start your night at an Izakaya: Yama-chan Sakaba

Yama-chan Sakaba

A trip to an izakaya is the perfect way to experience Japanese bar culture. These cozy establishments have a similar atmosphere to a pub and are known for their small shareable plates and free flowing drinks. Patrons flock here for afterwork drinks and to enjoy quintessential dishes such as yakitori, edamame and gyoza. We recommend Yama-chan Sakaba, known for its Nagoya-style fried chicken wings known as "tebasaki”. 

Enjoy a cocktail with a view: Zenith Sky Lounge

Zenith Sky Lounge

If you are looking for a more refined experience for your night out, we recommend heading to Zenith Sky Lounge, located within the Marriott conveniently perched above Nagoya station. Here you will be able to take in the sweeping views of the city skyline while sipping on craft cocktails or other premium spirits. The nightly live pianist compliments the atmosphere. Reservations recommended and can be made by calling directly. 

Dance the Night Away: Club Mago

Club Mago

Nagoya is home to many different types of clubs so you are bound to one that suits your musical tastes and preferences. We recommend checking out Club Mago which is  known for housing one of the highest-quality sound systems in Japan and features techno and house  DJs. Another great pick is Club JBs which offers upscale ambiance and a mix of hip-hop, R&B, and dance music. If you prefer entertainment, head to one of the many karaoke bars and book a private room to sing the night away. 

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