By Daphne Janssens de Varebeke. Posted on February 23, 2016
We often hear that there are not many cultural spots to visit in Nagoya. But is that true? The most cultural and historical spots are sometimes the most hidden places in Nagoya, such as Shikemichi.
Shikemichi is the main street in a small and quiet neighborhood located between Nagoya Station and Nagoya Castle. This street dates back to time of the construction of Nagoya Castle, in 1610. There are no tall buildings, which makes it easy to find your way back. The striking Nagoya Station towers will always give you an idea which direction you're walking in.
After discovering this lovely street, my opinion on Nagoya changed completely. It has been fascinating to discover these out-of-the-way spots through repeated visits and learning about the history behind many of these historically preserved, traditional houses.
I discovered Shikemichi when I was with my Belgian friends, who were quite interested in visiting “secret” places in japan. They were the ones who first brought me here. I was so impressed that I soon came back and learned more about the place.
I was lucky to meet the owner of a Belgian language school located next to Sengen Shrine. Having lived there for several years, she introduced me to the kind owners of many local shops and restaurants. She also explained to me the history of the neighborhood.
Shikemichi has a particular look with its row of merchant houses (storehouses). They all have thick window shutters on the second floor.
The reason this street is much wider than those in other old towns is because after a fire in 1700, it was decided to make the street wider to facilitate firefighting and trading activities. Since then, the street has been four ken in width, which is approximately seven meters. The number four in Japanese is “shi,” and “michi” means “street”. Thus, the street was named “Shikemichi”. Next to Shikemichi is the Hori River. The merchants who moved here from Kiyosu used the river for trading such products as rice, sake and miso. If you follow Shikemichi or the Hori River 1.5 km northward, you will see Nagoya Castle.
As you stroll along the narrow streets in the West of the river, you will discover a few small roof shrines as well as some temples both large and small.
In between, there are many bars and restaurants with high to very high quality Japanese, French, Italian and fusion food. From traditional homemade soba and French teppanyaki to Western patisseries and coffee houses, there is something among these 55 different businesses to please everyone. It is a unique experience to have your meal or coffee with cake at one of these lovely renovated houses.
I recommend having a delicious soba lunch at 鈴音 (Suzune) followed by coffee or tea at the very cute Café de SaRa, where a selection of excellent miniature cakes is complimentary with your drink.
Heading north will take you to Endo-ji, which is a shopping street. You’ll also see Endo-ji Temple and Kotohira Shrine (金刀比羅神社), as well as shops, a few restaurants and bars.
Access: Take Sakura-dori subway line to Kokusai Center. Walk north for less than five minutes.
Daphne Janssens de VarebekeDaphné Janssens de Varebeke is living in Japan, Chubu Region, for nearly one year now. She is currently learning Japanese. She loves travelling and outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing. Cooking and discovering new dishes are also some of her favorite activities.
* Disclaimer: Japan Travel Nagoya Chubu does not gaurantee that the information on this website is accurate and up to date.