Japan's new gateway

Nagoya is the city other Japanese love to look down on. I have been told confidently by many Tokyoites, Osakans, and especially by the haughty natives of Kyoto, that 'Nagoya has no culture.' Most foreign tourists only catch a glimpse of its massive castle (a reconstruction, since the original was almost completely destroyed by wartime bombing) from the windows of a bullet train, stopped briefly at Nagoya Station on their way from Tokyo to Kyoto or Osaka.

The residents of the Chubu region, as the area around Nagoya is known, are regarded as bumpkins, their local food specialties (mainly noodle dishes) are regarded as unexciting, the universities, writers, and other cultural figures from the region are derided, too. Like Philadelphia, Nagoya suffers the contempt of the large and sophisticated cities between which it lies.

Quite unfairly, in my opinion. I am a great partisan of Nagoya, despite its negative image. The city and suburban area together are approximately the same size as greater Chicago: 7 or 8 million people. Getting around Nagoya is simple. The city's subway system is fairly new, sparkling, and efficient. The private Meitetsu Railroad, a vast commuter network, is a superb operation, with comfortable, relatively uncrowded trains running in all directions. Most importantly, Nagoya, which was bombed into rubble during World War II, rebuilt itself with broad, straight boulevards, making traffic move smoothly, and providing expansive vistas.

Nagoya has been the home region of many of Japan's greatest warriors and leaders. The Shoguns Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, who successively re—unified Japan after a century and a half of warring principalities, all emerged from Mikawa, as the region used to be known in feudal times. Akio Morita, the legendary founder of Sony, was from Mikawa, as was the inventor and entrepreneur Toyoda Sakichi. Before the Toyoda family turned its genius to making cars in the 1930s, patriarch Sakichi developed the Toyoda Automatic Loom in the Nineteenth Century. It was simply the best, most sophisticated loom in the world, at a time when textiles were the world's dominant manufacturing business. A British company paid a king's ransom to license the technology developed in humble Mikawa. His son Kiichiro Toyoda saw that automobile manufacturing would be the world's dominant manufacturing industry, and started a car—making division in 1933, spun—off as Toyota Motor Corporation in 1937.

Nagoya is definitely having the last laugh at the expense of its more prestigious rival metropolises, economically speaking. Sparked by Toyota, Nagoya's economy is in far better shape than that of any other region in Japan. It is full of companies enjoying success sparked by the growth engine of Toyota, and other local companies, simply well—managed, efficient, and unpretentious enough to keep their eyes on the ball, rather than worrying about their status in the pecking order. It matters less in Nagoya where you went to college than what you can do. Results matter more than your accent. And it shows. Nagoya is the city that gets things done, while others worry about appearances.

The people in Nagoya are visibly prosperous. But what I like best about them is that they are unpretentious and very friendly. There are some spectacular scenic regions close by Nagoya, including my absolutely favorite region for hot springs resorts, up a long and scenic mountain gorge, just north of Nagoya.

United Airlines, Northwest Airlines  and American Airlines are flying nonstop from their gateway cities of San Francisco, Detroit and Chicgo to the brand new international airport in Nagoya, Japan. I am extremely pleased to have a new gateway to Japan, giving me an alternative to Kansai Airport near Osaka (another city I love), as a way of avoiding wretched overcrowded, and remote Narita Airport outside of Tokyo.

Centrair, as the new airport is known, opened in mid—February, and is built on an artificial island, virtually the only place that undeveloped flat land is available near any of Japan's cities. Kansai Airport also uses this option, but unlike Kansai, which was over budget and delayed, Centrair was completed on—time and 15% under—budget. Centrair, too, was floundering, until the locals got Toyota, headquartered nearby, to dispatch a senior executive to be in charge. Once he arrived, things started moving, and efficiencies were suddenly discovered. Because of the cost savings, the airport charges landing fees about 25—30% lower than either Kansai or Narita, which are among the most expensive airports in the world. Under pricing rivals while offering a high quality product is a strategy other Nagoya companies have used with great success. Centrair has invested heavily in cargo facilities, and hope that its ability to operate 24 hours a day, convenient location, and lower costs will lead it to become a major freight terminal.

But the amenity at the airport that I like best is what must be the world's first public bath in an international airport. If I were changing planes, just off a flight from an American city, and on my way to China or Thailand, for example, I can think of no better way to refresh myself. The Japanese, of course, have long made bathing into an art, and the spas of Japan have always been one of my favories recreations. Naturally, this being Japan, the home of shiatsu, a massage facility is also available.

I hope that the new airport will encourage more of my countrymen and women to get to know Nagoya, a city which has gone from ugly duckling toward something suspiciously resembling a swan.

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker.

Nagoya is the city other Japanese love to look down on. I have been told confidently by many Tokyoites, Osakans, and especially by the haughty natives of Kyoto, that 'Nagoya has no culture.' Most foreign tourists only catch a glimpse of its massive castle (a reconstruction, since the original was almost completely destroyed by wartime bombing) from the windows of a bullet train, stopped briefly at Nagoya Station on their way from Tokyo to Kyoto or Osaka.

The residents of the Chubu region, as the area around Nagoya is known, are regarded as bumpkins, their local food specialties (mainly noodle dishes) are regarded as unexciting, the universities, writers, and other cultural figures from the region are derided, too. Like Philadelphia, Nagoya suffers the contempt of the large and sophisticated cities between which it lies.

Quite unfairly, in my opinion. I am a great partisan of Nagoya, despite its negative image. The city and suburban area together are approximately the same size as greater Chicago: 7 or 8 million people. Getting around Nagoya is simple. The city's subway system is fairly new, sparkling, and efficient. The private Meitetsu Railroad, a vast commuter network, is a superb operation, with comfortable, relatively uncrowded trains running in all directions. Most importantly, Nagoya, which was bombed into rubble during World War II, rebuilt itself with broad, straight boulevards, making traffic move smoothly, and providing expansive vistas.

Nagoya has been the home region of many of Japan's greatest warriors and leaders. The Shoguns Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, who successively re—unified Japan after a century and a half of warring principalities, all emerged from Mikawa, as the region used to be known in feudal times. Akio Morita, the legendary founder of Sony, was from Mikawa, as was the inventor and entrepreneur Toyoda Sakichi. Before the Toyoda family turned its genius to making cars in the 1930s, patriarch Sakichi developed the Toyoda Automatic Loom in the Nineteenth Century. It was simply the best, most sophisticated loom in the world, at a time when textiles were the world's dominant manufacturing business. A British company paid a king's ransom to license the technology developed in humble Mikawa. His son Kiichiro Toyoda saw that automobile manufacturing would be the world's dominant manufacturing industry, and started a car—making division in 1933, spun—off as Toyota Motor Corporation in 1937.

Nagoya is definitely having the last laugh at the expense of its more prestigious rival metropolises, economically speaking. Sparked by Toyota, Nagoya's economy is in far better shape than that of any other region in Japan. It is full of companies enjoying success sparked by the growth engine of Toyota, and other local companies, simply well—managed, efficient, and unpretentious enough to keep their eyes on the ball, rather than worrying about their status in the pecking order. It matters less in Nagoya where you went to college than what you can do. Results matter more than your accent. And it shows. Nagoya is the city that gets things done, while others worry about appearances.

The people in Nagoya are visibly prosperous. But what I like best about them is that they are unpretentious and very friendly. There are some spectacular scenic regions close by Nagoya, including my absolutely favorite region for hot springs resorts, up a long and scenic mountain gorge, just north of Nagoya.

United Airlines, Northwest Airlines  and American Airlines are flying nonstop from their gateway cities of San Francisco, Detroit and Chicgo to the brand new international airport in Nagoya, Japan. I am extremely pleased to have a new gateway to Japan, giving me an alternative to Kansai Airport near Osaka (another city I love), as a way of avoiding wretched overcrowded, and remote Narita Airport outside of Tokyo.

Centrair, as the new airport is known, opened in mid—February, and is built on an artificial island, virtually the only place that undeveloped flat land is available near any of Japan's cities. Kansai Airport also uses this option, but unlike Kansai, which was over budget and delayed, Centrair was completed on—time and 15% under—budget. Centrair, too, was floundering, until the locals got Toyota, headquartered nearby, to dispatch a senior executive to be in charge. Once he arrived, things started moving, and efficiencies were suddenly discovered. Because of the cost savings, the airport charges landing fees about 25—30% lower than either Kansai or Narita, which are among the most expensive airports in the world. Under pricing rivals while offering a high quality product is a strategy other Nagoya companies have used with great success. Centrair has invested heavily in cargo facilities, and hope that its ability to operate 24 hours a day, convenient location, and lower costs will lead it to become a major freight terminal.

But the amenity at the airport that I like best is what must be the world's first public bath in an international airport. If I were changing planes, just off a flight from an American city, and on my way to China or Thailand, for example, I can think of no better way to refresh myself. The Japanese, of course, have long made bathing into an art, and the spas of Japan have always been one of my favories recreations. Naturally, this being Japan, the home of shiatsu, a massage facility is also available.

I hope that the new airport will encourage more of my countrymen and women to get to know Nagoya, a city which has gone from ugly duckling toward something suspiciously resembling a swan.

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker.