|Willow Lu

Great scenic spots between Chubu Centrair International Airport and Nagoya Station

When you get off the plane in Nagoya’s Central International Airport, it will take you about 40 minutes to get to Nagoya Station. However, there are many sightseeing spots in this 40 minute journey which have fewer visitors and where you may get memorable photos.

In this article, I will introduce these unique spots. When you come to visit Nagoya next time, I really recommend you to store your luggage at the travel information center, or just send it directly to the hotel, and start off your trip to discover the unique “culture” in this industrial city.

Get off at these stations:

  • STOP 1:【Rinku Tokoname Station】 To see the maneki-neko (Guardian cat) in Aeon Mall Tokoname(for 2 hours)
  • STOP 2:【Tokoname Station】To walk through the pottery footpath(for 2 hours)
  • STOP 3:【Shinmaiko Station】To smell the sea, feel the breeze, and run on the beach(for 1 hour)
  • STOP 4:【Shurakuen Station 】To see the 18.79 meter tall Great Buddha in Shurakuen Park(for 1 hour)

STOP 1:【Rinku Tokoname Station】To see the maneki-neko (Guardian cat) in Aeon Mall Tokoname

Aeon Mall Tokoname can be reached by taking the Meitetsu airport line one stop from Nagoya Central International Airport. The mall provides free Wifi and a Tax-free service, and you can also enjoy a lot of traditional Japanese food here. It is not only a well-known shopping mall for tourists, but also a popular leisure space for local people.

The big attraction here is the large number of maneki-neko (Guardian cats) hiding in this shopping mall.  Find them and give yourself some good luck!


P.S. The maneki-neko is a common Japanese figurine which is often believed to bring good luck to the owner.

  • At the entrance, you'll see different kinds of maneki-neko designed by artists.

  • Look!There is a big red heart in its paw! It is said that if you find this maneki-neko, it will bring you a good match for marriage.

  • How about trying some Japanese food right now? Don’t know Japanese? No worries, just use your finger to point to the picture on the menu. Very easy!

  • This maneki-neko is called Otafuku (“Great Fortune” in Japanese). It is 6.5 meters high and said to be the tallest Guardian cat in the world.

  • If you want to bring some good fortune to your friends and family, you can take a small maneki-neko back home.

  • Greeting the sun, feeling the sea wind, the view outside the mall makes you wonder if you are really in the south.

STOP 2:【Tokoname Station】To walk through the pottery footpath

Taking the Meitetsu airport line one more stop to Tokoname Station, you will find a totally different atmosphere compared to the modern Aeon Mall at Tokoname. You'll be surprised by the local traditional culture.

Tokoname is an area noted for ceramics with a one thousand year history of pottery firing. Tokoname boasts one of the Six Ancient Kilns in Japan. Here, you will not only see the kilns and chimneys that were used during the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa periods, but also a special sloping road made by leftover pottery. Maneki-neko (Guardian cats) and Tokoname Pottery are the 2 key words to remember when you walk through Tokoname city.

Let’s get a tourist map from visitor center and enjoy walking through the pottery footpath.

  • Above the Maneki Neko Dori there is a giant cat statue named Toko Nyan waving to everyone. Compared with the little cat in front, guess how big Toko Nyan is!

  • Doesn’t the pottery pipe on the right side seem familiar? You might have seen it in a game called Super Mario. The left-side wall was made by the liquor pots which had been used. It’s amazing that waste materials could become so artistic!

  • You will see the Takitake family's building when you walk along the slope road. The Takitake family was involved in the maritime business from the Edo period to the Meiji period. Inside the building, a lot of maritime related history is exhibited.

  • Kiln pottery is a traditional industry here. The Toei kiln - the biggest climbing kiln in Japan -  was operated from around 1887 to 1974. Now it is defined as an “important tangible folk culture”. There were about 60 such big kilns left in Tokoname city until the late Meiji period.

  • There are many art shops and lovely coffee shops where you can take a rest. You also can purchase some Tokoname souvenirs as a gift for your friends.

  • Tokoname is selected as one of the Best 100 beautiful historical sights in Japan. Looking over the city feels like going back in time. You may count the number of the chimneys and enjoy your time traveling here.

STOP 3:【Shinmaiko Station】To smell the sea, feel the breeze, and run on the beach

Japan is a country surrounded by the sea, so it is not difficult to find a place to swim. Shinmaiko Marine Park is a famous place near Nagoya for you to enjoy the beach and swim in the sea, especially in summer. You will also not be disappointed if you take time to walk on the soft sand.

  • Doesn’t this picture look like it was in the movie “Slam dunk”? It is not, however, Kanagawa, but Chita city in Aichi.

  • Here is a place for you to go fishing, swimming, or plane watching, and you can also take a look at the wind power station.

STOP 4:【Shurakuen Station】To see the 18.79 meter tall Great Buddha in Shurakuen Park

The Shurakuen Buddha was constructed to commemorate the marriage of Emperor Showa. Even larger than the Giant Buddhas of both Kamakura and Todaiji Temple in Nara, this giant Buddha is a popular symbol of Tokai City.
Shurakuen Park is free to enter and not that crowded. It is a quiet place to take a rest.


About the giant Buddha in Shurakuen:
Name of Buddha: Amitābha(the principal Buddha in Pure Land Buddhism, a branch of East Asian Buddhism)
Height: 18.79m(by way of comparison, the Todaiji Buddha is 14.98m, and the Kamakura Buddha is 11.3m)
Completed: 1985

  • You can see the head of The Giant Buddha from the train station. It is the oldest Buddha made of concrete in Japan. Don’t you think the beard is a little strange?

  • It is said the coin box in front of the Buddha has no bottom, so the coin you put in the box will be return back to you. It is said that this shows the spirit of Buddhism.

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