A local company that made looms for textile mills moved into the automobile business in the 1930s. 

That was Toyota, and Honda and Mitsubishi grew up in the same area.

World War Two saw the city’s manufacturing infrastructure turn towards military hardware, with around 25% of its workforce working in factories that produced almost half of the country’s combat aircraft. 

That would have been enough to ensure U.S. Army Air Force attention, but the area also produced machine tools, railway equipment, tanks and military vehicles. The result was a series of bombing raids that destroyed much of the city and had almost half the population flee to the countryside.

Most of the city’s historic buildings were destroyed, but the firebombing resulted in wide streets bulldozed through the rubble that make contemporary Nagoya a remarkably car-friendly city. 

That also means the city’s public transport infrastructure isn’t as highly developed as it is in other major centres (notably Tokyo and the Kansai region).

Nagoya Castle was hit on 14 May 1945, but postwar reconstruction of the main building was completed in 1959, and the concrete replica even has lifts. 

© Ian Hughes 2017