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att. Travel - Ise / Shima
You are here: att.JAPAN > Travel Guide > Ise / Shima
att.JAPAN Issue 37, Nobember 2007

Ise / Shima

Map Ise, Toba and Shima areas are blessed with rich nature, spiritual spots, amusing places and delicious food. It is easy to access from Nagoya and Osaka. Why don't you visit there?

Ise is located about one and half hours from Nagoya and just less than two hours from Osaka by Kintetsu train. The center of the sightseeing is Ise Jingu Shrine.

Ise JinguIse Jingu Shrine
Jingu is written 神宮 in Japanese and it means God's Palace. When traveling around Japan, you find there are large numbers of jinja shrines (神・. Jinja which has a historical and honorable origin was given the name Jingu. There are only several Jingu in Japan. In addition, when you say only "Jingu" without proper name, you indicate Ise Jingu. Ise Jingu is in the class of its own.

Ise Jingu consists of 125 shrines including Toyouke Daijingu (usually called Geku), Kotai Jingu (usually called Naiku) and Betsugu. When visiting Ise Jingu, first visiting Geku is a custom from ancient times.

Geku is five minutes from Ise-shi Station on foot and has two approaches which lead to the precincts after crossing bridges. After washing your hands and mouth at the water fountain (chozuya), you head to Goseigu (main building) through the approach, which is surrounded by trees. The ancient building stands against a backdrop of lush greenery, and there is Magatama-ike pond in the garden. Irises are in full bloom in June and a flock of wild ducks can be seen in winter.

Uji BridgeAfter visiting Geku, next you go to Naiku. It is 15 minutes transit time from Kintetsu Ujiyamada Station by bus. It enshrines Amaterasu Omikami, who is the noblest and supreme God in Japan. Crossing Uji Bridge, which is said to be a bridge separating the world and the spirit world, you walk along an approach that is surrounded by mountains. On the way you pass by the Isuzu River and this place is called Mitarashi where you can wash your hands and mouth using the river water if the weather is fine. Passing the Torii gate, you find stone steps on your left hand side and solemn Seigu (main building) on the steps.

To maintain purity of the buildings and hand down skills, all buildings and torii in both Naiku and Geku are reconstructed every 20 years. This custom is called "Jingu Shikinen Sengu." More than 10,000 Hinoki cypress trees are needed for the reconstruction process and various types of events related to Sengu are held. The next Sengu will be conducted in 2013. (Note: Woods of the old buildings are recycled in the construction of other shrines in the country.)

Ise Jingu is surrounded by abundant nature. Taking a stroll in the woods and along the riverside will leave you refreshed. Please enjoy the relaxed and pure atmosphere of Jingu.

Oharai-machiOharai-machi / Okage-yokocho
Oharai-machi has prospered as a cathedral town of Naiku. Oharai Dori Street is 800 meters long from Uji Bridge along the Isuzu River. Souvenir shops, well established confectioneries, restaurants and inns line the street and attract visitors all round the year.

Ise-udon noodle is Ise's specialty dish and there are many udon restaurants in Oharai-machi. It is simple to make cuisine, simply put green onion as a condiment on thick and soft noodles and pour black thick soy sauce. Originally, this dish was eaten by local farmers and if you are hungry, eating this type of udon is recommended. Okage-yokocho is located in the middle of Oharai-machi and home to shops which resembles ones from the late Edo era (1603-1867) and the early Meiji era (1868-1912). You can enjoy hands-on activities from making konnyaku and fish sausages, shooting in a shooting gallery and eating delicious local cuisine. This area is full of the charm that Ise has to offer.

The place name Fatamiga-ura is derived from a myth that Yamatohime-no-mikoto turned her head to take a look the landscape twice because it was breathtakingly beautiful. "Futami" literally means looking twice. Its landmark is Meotoiwa rocks and an even coastline can be seen to west from the rocks. Futami flourished as a town where visitors purified themselves before they visited Jingu and as a town where they also stayed.

MeotoiwaFutami Okitama Jinja Shrine
Futami Okitama Jinja Shrine was established about 1,300 years ago near the Meotoiwa. Frog-shaped figurines are laid in the precincts, each figurine has a unique aspect and comparing them is fun. The frog is an envoy of the God Sarutahiko Omikami. You can purchase a frog charm at the shrine.

Meotoiwa (Husband and Wife Rocks)
There are two rocks on the Futamiga-ura near Futami Okitama Shine. A bigger rock is called O-iwa (male rock), which is 9 meters high and 39.6 meters in circumference and a smaller one is called Me-iwa (female rock), which is 4 meters high and 9 meters in circumference. The two rocks are connected by a 35 meter long shimenawa, or a stylized straw rope. The two connected rocks are a symbol of the marriage tie and happiness of the couple. You can see the beautiful sunrise between the two rocks from May through July and it is especially splendid around the day of the summer solstice.

Toba is located east of Ise City and north of Shima City. Its east side has a deeply-indented coastline and this area is blessed with mild weather patterns.

Dugong at Toba AquariumToba Aquarium
This aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world and is divided into 12 different zones, depending on kinds of environments in which creatures live. Now there are 850 kinds of aquatic lives are on display for visitors. The aquarium has various successful breeding programs and a baby Indian porpoise was born here for the first time in captivity. Nautiluses are also bred and a second generation of the sea otter was born in captivity for first time in Japan. Toba Aquarium has bred a pair of dugong and this is a world first. You can watch a sea lion show at the performance studio and will be surprised to learn what versatile entertainers sea lions are.

Mikimoto Pearl IslandMikimoto Pearl Island
This is a theme park where you can understand all things about pearling industry. Kokichi Mikimoto succeeded in creating the world's first successful cultured pearl here in 1893. The Pearl Museum displays the process how to produce cultured pearls and jewelry. Mikimoto Kokichi Memorial Hall introduces the life of Kokichi Mikimoto, the legend of the cultured pearl industry. You can eat and enjoy shopping at Pearl Plaza. You can see demonstrations by "ama," which are the female pearl diver and were crucial too the pearl cultures success.

Divers dived beneath the water for and searched Akoya pearl oysters. Putting a pearl nucleus in oysters, they dive again and return the oysters on the seabed. When typhoons came or red tides broke out, they moved the oysters to safe sanctuaries. Without ama, pearl cultivation could never have succeeded. Cultivation skills have been developed and now ama has become obsolete. This reenactment demonstration is performed to commemorate the activities of ama that were crucial in the early days of the pearl cultivation industry. Seeing a diver who wears the traditional white costume for pearl diving is fun.

Shima is blessed with rich nature and abundant seafood such as a lobster, oyster, bonito, green laver and pearl oysters. Visiting leisure spots like Shima Spain Village and Nemu-no-Sato is attractive. Several hotels on the area have natural hot spring baths. Shima is a huge area and some part is a little inconvenient when traveling by public transportation.

Shima Spain Village
Shima Spain Village consists of a theme park, onsen and a hotel. Kintetsu Ugata Station offers the closest access point. It is about 13 minutes from Ugata Station by bus (a few buses run every hour).

This theme park is based on a Spanish concept. "Ciudad Area" features cities in Spain and "Tierra Area" features spacious land with white walls in Andalusia and old castles of Spain. The theme of "Mar Area" is a beach resort. In "Fiesta Area," there are various types of attractions like "Pyrenees," which is one of the largest suspended roller coasters in the world. According to the park staff, some people visit the park to ride the Pyrenees from overseas.

Parades are held and visitors can participate in part of the parade, although the parade is not held during winter. You can also enjoy a Flamenco Show by Spanish dancers in a hall which is similar to a true tablao (a bar showing Flamenco) in Spain.

The park is filled with things related to Spain from authentic Spanish cuisine to confectionery. Polvoron is a Spanish traditional sweet and when you put it in your mouth, it mildly dissolves. Sample tasting of it is highly recommended. Events relating to Spanish food are held in Mayor Plaza until November 25th. Several chefs cook paella in a large pan whose diameter is three meters on weekends and holidays during this period.

Hotel Shima Spain Mura
This hotel is an exotic and luxurious hotel reminding you of resorts in Andalusia. Fountains with arabesque patterns and patios dot the complex. Guest rooms are designed under three themes of three cities in Spain including Cordoba, Sevilla and Granada.

Himawari-no-yuIse Shima Hot Springs Shima Spain Village "Himawari-no-yu"
There is an open-air bath offering picturesque views of the ocean and sunset.

Shima Isobe
Matoya is famous for oysters due to abundant planktons, which are food for oysters. Matoya Bay is good places for oyster farming and oysters grown locally are large and have a rich flavor.

Ago BayKashikojima/Ugata
Kashikojima is the largest island in Ago Bay. It is an island but connects to the mainland by two bridges, namely Kashikojima-bashi Bridge and Kashikojima-ohashi Bridge. With leisure spots and large hotels, the whole island looks like a land of leisure and you can walk around various sightseeing spots on the island. Kashikojima-ohashi Bridge is a best spot to see the sunset over Ago Bay.

Kashikojima Espana Cruise
You can enjoy the beautiful landscapes in Ago Bay, with its deeply indented coastline on a 50-minute cruise.

Nemu-no-Sato is a huge resort park on the Osaki Peninsula jutting into Ago Bay. It is a kind of pioneering resort facility with accommodation. It is home to studios and halls which make full use of Yamaha acoustic technology. There are various types of facilities for field sports, marine sports and recreation set against the vast natural backdrop. You can also enjoy natural hot springs "Shiosai-no-yu."

Ise: Ise-shi Station on Kintetsu Yamada line or JR line, or Uji-yamada Station on Kintetsu Yamada line
Toba: Toba Station on Kintetsu Yamada line or JR line
Shima: Ugata Station on Kintetsu Shima line

"Mawaryanse" is a convenient ticket for you to get around Ise, Toba and Shima. (You can buy it until December 26, 2007 and use it until December 29th, 2007)
For details, please visit Kintetsu Website, which is only in Japanese language.

Japan Railway Map PDF 414 KB

Mie Prefecture
Toba Sight Seeing Guide / Ise Shima National Park
ISE-City Tourist Industry Society

You are here: att.JAPAN > Travel Guide > Ise / Shima

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