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transper_1pic.gif The Port of Nagoya:
Ocean Gateway to the World


The Port of Nagoya, today Japan’s foremost international port, has been the mainstay of local growth ever since its opening in 1907, more than 90 years ago. The leading seaport in the Chubu region (Central Japan), it links the nation with some 150 countries all over the world and has sister or friendship affiliations with the ports of Antwerp, Baltimore, Fremantle, and Los Angeles. It is also popular with local residents as a place to relax and savor seafaring culture.

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Shinpo Pier, a center for shipping autos. With a yard large enough to accommodate some 33,000 vehicles, it ships out some 700,000 cars per year, mostly to Europe.
(Photo courtesy of Japan Travel Bureau)


Japan's largest entrepôt
Waterfornt site for recreaton


Japan's largest entrepôt

Nestled deep in the heart of Ise Bay, roughly midway along the east coast of the main island of Honshu, the port stretches across parts of Nagoya, two other cities, one town, and one village. Altogether, it has an area equivalent to about one-third of Nagoya City. Thanks to its scale, the port has grown steadily over the years in tandem with local industry.

Nagoya handles more cargo annually—about 152 million tons in 2001—than any of Japan’s four other major ports (Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, and Kobe), a record it has retained for four years running. The value of the trade has grown to ¥9.2 trillion, placing it ahead of all the other ports for the first time. The last several years have seen an especially dramatic increase in international container cargo. Additional improvements to the container terminals, including the scheduled completion in fiscal 2005 (April 2005 to March 2006) of a new container berth with a 16-meter depth, are expected to guarantee Nagoya’s further development as the nation’s premier international port.

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Many of the Garden Pier's leisure facilities, such as the aquarium and the maritime museum, have been open for some time. In April this year the wildflower garden Bluebonnet joined the attractions (right). Accessible from the Garden Pier via a 10-minute ride by water bus, it greets visitors with a profusion of flowers in every season. (Photo by Tomohiro Muda)
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For the island nation of Japan, 99.7% of whose imports and exports are moved by sea, ports play such a vital role that they can be termed the source of national strength. Ports are equally important to Aichi Prefecture, of course. The role of the Port of Nagoya in particular is closely linked to local industry, as indicated by the fact that automobiles accounted for almost half (45.5%) of the 32 million tons of the top 10 export items shipped from Nagoya in 2001. These together with auto parts, electric machinery, industrial machinery, and other manufactures made up some 70% of the total. Without a doubt, the Chubu region centered on Aichi Prefecture is one of the world’s major economic spheres. In addition to automobiles, its diverse industries include aerospace, machine tools, and precision machinery. The Port of Nagoya, which sustains their growth by facilitating distribution, is a huge waterside hub providing crucial industrial and economic support for the Chubu region and the nation as a whole.



Waterfornt site for recreaton

Even as the port goes on developing as a international trading hub, it is attracting attention nationwide as a large-scale leisure spot within the Chubu region. The site’s centerpiece is the Port of Nagoya Garden Pier, a broad 11-hectare space covering the area where some of the pier facilities the port started with used to be located. In the pier area today are the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium; the Antarctic expedition ship Fuji, which had an 18-year career exploring the Antarctic and is now a museum; the Port Building, which has an observation deck with a spectacular view of the port area and also a maritime museum; and Sea Train Land, an amusement park with one of the Chubu region’s largest Ferris wheels.

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The Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium is one of Japan's largest. In addition to displaying marine life, it is actively engaged in breeding and conservation of species in danger of extinction. (Photo by Masatsugu Yokoyama)
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All are fascinating attractions that bring one closer to the port and the sea, but special mention may be made of the aquarium, which is one of Japan’s largest and is known around the world for its research on breeding sea turtles. The aquarium opened a new building in 2001, and the large sea mammals, including dolphins and white whales (beluga), on display there have been a hit with the aquarium’s visitors. Altogether some 18 million people have visited the aquarium since it opened in 1992, many of them coming from outside of Aichi Prefecture.

One of the chief draws of the Garden Pier is a succession of seasonal events making the most of the waterfront site, such as fireworks displays and the opening of ships to the public. Throughout the year you will come across happy crowds oohing and aahing at what they see. Thus the Port of Nagoya is both an enormous distribution base and a thriving leisure spot, the only such place in the Chubu region. This international port presents two faces, each closely associated with the lives of the people. (Masaki Yamada)


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