Exploring Mie: Ise-Shima Region


2013/07/23 Tuesday Exploring Mie

regiao de Ise Shima de Mie

A Landscape Blessed by the Sea

After a brief trip upstream along the sparkling waters of the Isuzu River, you can see the Ise Jingu standing solemnily in the middle of a grove of cedars. The sacred site of Ise has been a destination for travelers since ancient times. Ise is the “starting point for all journeys in Japan,” and  is regarded as the cradle of Japanese culture. Surrounding Ise the beautiful costal landscapes of Ise-Shima National Park stretch as far as the eye can see. A growing number of seaside resorts offer wonderful opportunities to enjoy this marine playground. Ise-Shima ranks as one of Japan’s best tourist resort areas, a place where history and natural beauty meet.

1- Meotoiwa (The Wedded-Rocks) (Ise City)
2- Futami Sea Paradise (Ise City)


These two large rocks in the sea, fastened together by ropes, have long symbolized marriage in Japan. The scene of the sun rising between the rocks on the first day of summer is spectacular and should not be missed.

  • 15-minute walk from Futaminoura Station on the JR Line

Futami Sea Paradise

Futami Sea Paradise is an aquarium located very close to Meoto Iwa and the kingdom of sea creatures with sea lions, walruses, and elephant seals.  You can enjoy a show where you can touch sea creatures or take your photograph with them.

  • 20-minute walk or 5-minute bus ride from Futaminoura Station on the JR Line
3- Toba Bay Cruise / Toba Bay Dolphin Island (Toba City)
4- Hinjitsukan (Ise City)

Toba Bay Cruise

A 50-minute cruise, stopping at Toba Bay Dolphin Island, Mikimoto Pearl Island, and in front of the Toba Aquarium.  At Toba Bay Dolphin Island, you can enjoy the magnificent view of Toba Bay from an observation tower and trails, as well as exciting dolphin shows.

  • 5-minute walk to Sadahama Port from Toba Station on the JR or Kintetsu lines


This building was constructed in 1887 as a rest stop and lodging facility for distinguished  guests of Ise Jingu. You will be satisfied with the stylishness of a traditional Japanese structure, not only the architecture, but also the fine garden.

  • 12-minute walk from Futaminoura Station on the JR Line
5- Okage-yokocho (Ise City)
6- Ise Jingu (Ise City)


A traditional Japanese street has been reproduced in front of the Naiku Gate of Ise Jingu.  You can immerse yourself among old worshippers, and enjoy meals and shopping in this district.

  • 5-minute walk from the Ise-Jingu-Naiku-mae bus stop

Ise Jingu

Ise Jingu dates back approximately 2,000 years, and is a pillar among the most important shrines in Japan.  Standing by the Isuzu River, surrounded by 800-year or older Jingu cedars, and with its gravel lane approach, the Ise Jingu presents a solemn atmosphere.  Ise Jingu is divided into areas called Naiku and Geku.  The main shrine building in the Naiku is constructed using the oldest architectural style in Japan.  Amaterasu Omikami, the god worshipped in the Naiku, is the ancestral goddess of the Japanese imperial family.

  • (To Naiku) 15-minute ride to the Naiku-mae bus stop from Ise-shi Station on the JR or Kintetsu lines, or from Uji-yamada Station on the Kintetsu Line
  • (To Geku) 5-minute walk from Ise-shi Station on the JR or Kintetsu lines.
7- Mikimoto Pearl Island (Cidade de Toba) 8- Ise Azuchi Momoyama Bunka Mura (Ise City)

Mikimoto Pearl Island

Home of the world-famous Mikimoto Pearls, this island is where Kokichi Mikimoto developed the world’s first cultured pearls. A museum showcases many beautiful pearl products, and various exhibits demonstrate the process of making cultured pearls. Visitors can aIso watch ama, female divers, demonstrate diving for pearls.  Five-minute walk from JR or Kintetsu Toba stations.Ise-Shima’s many aquariums offer the visitor a close-up view of members of the area’s abundant marine life.

  • 5-minute walk from Toba Station on the JR or Kintetsu lines

Ise Azuchi Momoyama

This park brings to life the Sengoku Period (15th-16th centuries), when the power of the samurai was at its height. With a reconstruction of Azuchi Castle as a backdrop, period dramas and ninja action shows are perfomed on the main stage, offering an enjoyable presentation of Japanese history.

  • 12-minute walk from Futamiura Station on the JR Line
9 – Toba Aquarium (Toba City)
10 – Umi no Hakubutsukan  (Museum of the Sea) (Toba City)

Toba Aquarium

This is one of the world top aquariums, containing approximately 850 varieties of 20,000 sea creatures. You must visit the Mermaid Sea Zone, the only place in the world where you can see a dugong couple in captivity.

  • 10-minute walk from Toba Station on the JR or Kintetsu lines

Umi no Hakubutsukan

The museum has exhibits organized around seven themes on the relation of the Japanese people to the sea, including the history of the ama divers and fishing techniques indigenous to the Ise- Shima area. Japanese wooden boats and canoes from around the world are also on display.

  • 5-minute walk after a ride to the Umi-no-hakubutsukan bus stop from Toba Station on the JR or Kintetsu lines
11- Shima Marineland (Shima City)
12- Ama Hut (Toba City , Shima City)

Shima Marineland

Shima Marineland  on Ago Bay offers the visitor close-up views of many interesting fish species, including sunfish and electric eel. Ama divers perform a feeding demonstration at the aquarium several times daily.

  • 2-minute walk from Kashikojima Station on the Kintetsu Line

Ama Hut

Ise-Shima area is known for ama, female divers, and approximately 1000 amas are still working in this area. The Ama Hut is where amas take a break and chat with their peers. Visitors can reserve the hut to enjoy grilling fresh seafood and listening to Amas’ story telling by the irori fireplace.

  • 2-minute walk from Kashikojima Station on the Kintetsu Line
12- PARQUE ESPAÑA – Shima Spain Village (Shima City)
13- Nemu no Sato (Shima City)


Capturing the color and charm of Spain, Parque Espana features a fantastic world of elaborate parades and amusing character shows. The park also has the world’s fastest suspended roller coaster, the Pyrenees, and
many other popular attractions.

  • 13-minute bus ride from Ugata Station on the Kintetsu Line

Nemu No Sato

At this resort area, located on the Osaki Peninsula jutting out into Ago Bay, visitors can enjoy yachting and canoeing as well as golf, tennis, and archery. The resort also offers a natural spa and a flower garden in bloom in every season.

  • 15-minute ride to the Nemu-No-Sato bus stop from Ugata Station on the Kintetsu Line

Ise-Shima Region Map


Exploring Mie: Central Area

2013/07/23 Tuesday Exploring Mie


Area central de Mie

A Door to the Past

In the Edo Period Matsusaka prospered both as a castle town and as a major trading center, due to the many merchants and Ise-bound pilgrims who made their way through this town. Even today, many historical points of interest scattered through the area attest to the past prosperity of the district. Nearby Osugi Valley and Okukahada Gorge offer beautiful scenery.


1- Okukahada Gorge (Matsusaka City)
2- Gojoban Yashiki(Castle Guards House)     (Matsusaka City)

Okukahada Gorge

This ravine along the upper reaches of the Kushida River features a breathtaking view of huge boulders, primeval forest, and waterfalls both large and small.

  • 90-minute bus ride to the Hotel Smeall bus stop from Matsusaka Station on the JR or Kintetsu lines

Gojoban Yashiki

Matsusaka Castle, built in 1588, now remains as a park with stone wall being the only original structure. Outside of the rear gate are 19 townhouses where castle guards and their families once resided. The stone paved street lined with these townhouses and Maki (Japanese Yew) hedges, unique to this area, gives visitors a glimpse of the old days of the samurai.

  • 5-minute walk from the Shiyakusho-mae bus stop after a ride from Matsusaka Station on the JR or Kintetsu lines
3- Sakakibara Spa (Tsu City) 4- Shinshu Takada Honzan Senshu-ji Temple (Tsu City)

Sakakibara Spa

One of the three most famous hot springs in Japan, Sakakibara Spa has been popular since ancient times. It is mentioned in the Makuranososhi(Pillow Book) of Sei Shonagon, a female writer and member of the lmperial court during the 10th century, where it is referred to as “Nanakuri-no-yu”.

  • 30-minute bus ride from Hisai Station on the Kintetsu Line or 15-minute bus ride from Sakakibara-onsenguchi Station on the Kintetsu Line

Shinshu Takada Honzan

The largest temple in Mie Prefecture, this is the head temple of the Shinshu Takada sect, which practices one form of Buddhism. The temple complex features many beautiful buildings, including the Miei-do, and a museum housing the temple’s national treasures and valuable cultural artifacts.

  • 5-minute walk from Ishinden station on the JR line
5- Kitabatake House Garden (Tsu City)
6- Saiku Historical Museum (Meiwa Town)

Kitabatake House

A Japanese garden in Kitabatake shrine is designated a national historic site and is one of the best three gardens once owned by samurai warriors. The marvelous Muromachi Period garden was designed by Takakuni Hosokawa, a warrior in 16th century, and is known for its complex design of Komeji-ike pond and Japanese rock garden (karesansui) and the beautiful foliage.

  • 10-minute ride from Ise-okitsu Station on the JR Line

Saiku Historical Museum

This museum is located in a part of Saiku that was the former location of the palace of the unmarried Imperial Princess Saioh who served at Ise Jingu Shrine as a representative of the Emperor, and a former location of government offices.  Various kinds of materials and excavated relics are displayed to aid an understanding of the history and culture of Saiku.

  • 15-minute walk from Saiku Station on the Kintetsu Line
7- Aoyama Plateau (Tsu City)
8- Misugi Resort Hotels & Spa (Tsu City)

Aoyama Plateau

This gently sloping highland is located 600 to 700 meters above sea level. Red azaleas blanket the region from mid-April to mid- May, and a local resort offers tennis courts, a golf course, and an equestrian club.

  • 2-hour walk from Nishi-aoyama Station on the Kintetsu Line

Misugi Resort Hotels

This is a comprehensive resort and leisure facility located in a luxurious, natural environment, with nine different facilities including an amusement park, swimming pool, ranch, and “experience factory.”  You can stay at the hotels while enjoying this relaxing resort complex.

  • 10-minute walk from Ise-yachi Station on the JR Line,30-minute ride on a free shuttle bus from Sakakibara Onsen Station on    the Kintetsu Line (reservations necessary)
9- Matsusaka Merchant House (Matsusaka City)

Matsusaka Merchant

Matsusaka prospered as a commercial center during The Edo period. The restored home of the Ozu family, typical of wealthy merchant families of the period, has been opened to the public. Valuable and rare products of the period are on display, offering a glimpse of the lifestyle of that period.

  • Near Matsusaka station on the JR or Kintetsu lines

Map of Central Area

mapa - regiao central de mie