Book a stay in Nagoya to explore a manufacturing colossus, home to some of Japan‘s biggest global brands. The sizeable population and commercial vitality ensure a ready supply of varied accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. Here are the pick of the bunch.
Nagoya, Japan’s fourth city, stands on a coastal plain with origins in the early 17th century, when a victorious local warlord oversaw the rebuilding of the still-standing castle. Today, it has plenty to lure in tourists, from the traditional delights of the Atsuta Jingu Shrine and Tokugawa Gardens, to the more modern treats found in the clubs and bars of the Sakae neighbourhood.
This centrally located no-frills hostel offers a range of multi-bunk-bed rooms sleeping up to six, plus small dormitories and Japanese-style accommodation with tatami floors and futons. All other facilities, from bathrooms and showers to a lounge, laundry and a simple kitchen, are shared. Spartan yet spotless, it’s a good budget option in the lively Osu neighbourhood, which is filled with shops and restaurants.
Serene and aloof on the 31st to 36th floors of the gleaming Global Gate tower complex, the Prince has sleek rooms with an earthy palette, modern wooden furniture and some of the best views across the city through floor-to-ceiling windows. A small fitness room and business centre tick the “upscale business-oriented hotel” boxes, and although there’s only one restaurant, outside eateries and diners in the commercial complex on floors one to four provide numerous options and distractions.
Opposite Shimozono Park in downtown Nagoya, the curiously named Lamp Light fuses the convenience of a 24/7 travel-oriented bookshop and library with hotel guests seeking mindful rather than physical escapes. To this end, the neat, bright rooms come with dimmable reading lamps and comfy chairs with footrests, while slightly pricier ones also have balconies. Even the savoury buns and diminutive burgers found in the café are designed for one-hand dining, the other presumably flicking pages or thumbing an index.
In a quiet residential street a few blocks west of the main railway station, this charming little inn occupies what was formerly an old shopfront and modest house. Behind an unassuming facade, ‘old Japan’ has been renovated into a simple one-bedroom apartment – expect tatami matting and futon beds – plus a simple kitchen. Exposed wooden beams and typically lean Japanese decor lend character and a more immersive experience of this enigmatic country.
This contemporary male-only capsule hotel with saunas and hot tubs is absolutely nothing to snigger about. It has white steel-trimmed sleeping capsules that mimic a sci-fi spacecraft and blue privacy curtains reminiscent of train sleeping berths, while the seating in the communal lounge and the TV screens resemble a wide-body jet. But this isn’t just cheap novel accommodation; for guests, it lends a genuine glimpse into the demanding lives of hard-working salarymen for whom returning home in the evening might be awkward or impractical.
The entrance sign has a coffee cup motif, next to which is written “capsule & coffee”. And while that might suggest a sleek café, “capsule” here is a sleeping pod for time-short travel-worn office workers and “coffee” a speciality micro-roaster with roots in Tokyo. No matter if you’re bunking down for the night or have just booked in for an afternoon nap, all pods are vacated between 10am and 2pm for cleaning.
Behind the rather unassuming facade of this four-storey downtown building, Meiryu offers inn-like Japanese-style accommodation with tatami mats, futons, tea sets and bathrobes. Bathrooms are shared, set-menu breakfasts and dinners can be ordered in advance, and there’s a coin-operated launderette. It’s functional rather than glamorous, and the hospitable owners are at ease catering to and helping foreign visitors.
Just minutes from the main train station in Nagoya, the Strings Hotel has a notably modern facade of narrow windows and gleaming steel, which screens a chevron-like building wrapped around a mock Gothic cathedral. In conjunction with the chandelier-draped function rooms and halls of the hotel, the “church” makes a photogenic backdrop for high-end weddings. It’s a thoroughly comfortable place with an array of rooms and suites featuring quirky wallpaper plus some nifty tech involving electromotive beds with noise-suppressing sonic waves, nano water and Plasmacluster air purifiers.