三重県 Mie Prefecture – Ise, Shima, Toba & Matsusaka
on the Kii Peninsula 4 Days/3 Nights
Ise, Shima, Toba and Matsusaka are located in central Japan’s Mie Prefecture. Mie Prefecture is a part of Kii Peninsula. Kii Peninsula is pretty big, the largest in Japan, and is home to three-and-a-bit of Osaka and Nagoya prefectures. Nara is located in North part, Wakayama in South-west part and Mie Prefecture at South-east part.
Kii Peninsula was selected as a Best in Travel Top 10 Regions winner, coming in 5th Place in 2018 by Lonely Planet.
Mie Prefecture is best known for Ise Jingu Grand Shrine, the holiest site in all of Shinto and the top dog among all of Japan’s tens of thousands of shrines. Still, the area is more than a religious center and also beautiful nature, a lively fishing industry and delicious local edibles.
Day 1： Afternoon tour to Ise; Ise-jingu Grand Shrine and Okage-yokocho shopping street
It takes about three hours from Tokyo station to Ise-shi station by using “Shinkansen” bullet train and JR express train. Total travel time: approx. 3 hours 20 minutes.
Your first destination is Ise-Jingu Shinto Shrine. Please let me explain a little about Shintoism to understand Ise-Jingu. Shinto is the indigenous faith of the Japanese. It is a way of life and a way of thinking that has been integral part of Japanese culture. Observing the Shingo faith means worshipping ancestors as guardians of the family and is also means showing respect for the myriad deity residing in the natural world. There are deity of mountains and the sea, deity of rain, wind and thunder, water, flower and rock. They are all around us in everything and every person so they may be worshipped anywhere but many people visit Shinto Shrine to pray, cleansing their hands and mouth at the entrance to purify the body and mind.
Shinto Shrines are called “jinja” in Japanese. There are 80,000 jinja in Japan today where various deity are enshrined. Jinja are sacred places and always kept clean, and pure. Often surrounded by trees, jinja are infused with the divine energy of nature.
Ise-Jingu, officially ‘Jingu’, includes 125 jinja dedicated Amaterasu-omikami, is roughly the same size as Paris. More than 1,500 rituals are conducted here yearly to pray for the prosperity of the Imperial family and the peace of the nation. Amaterasu-Omikami was formerly worshiped in the Imperial Palace, but following an epidemic, the 10th Emperor decided to move her symbol, the sacred mirror, that she might be worshiped more respectfully and thus end the disaster. It was the 11th Emperor who ordered his princess, Yamatohime-no-mikoto, to see the most appropriate place to permanently enshrine and worship Amaterasu-Omikami. It is said that the princess traveled the land searching for this special place until she received a revelation by the banks of Isuzugawa River. This is origin of Naiku (Inner Shrine) of Jingu you will visit this afternoon.
After Ise Jingu’s Naiku (inner shrine), you’ll have the opportunity to pick up locally crafted products and food in the Okage-yokocho shopping street, which was built to reflect the atmosphere of the Edo and Meiji periods and to reconstruct the old towns. You will feel the nostalgia of old-town Ise
You’ll arrive at your ryokan by 4pm and have traditional Japanese cuisine called Kaiseki dinner and then enjoy relaxing in a natural hot spring bath.
Suggested lunch: Traditional local cuisine called Mehari-Zushi (Sushi) in Okage-yokocho Street
Suggested dinner: Traditional local cuisine and sake at your ryokan (Japanese inn)
Accommodation: Yumeyuuka, Shimakanko Hotel The classic, Amanemu, Nemu, The Earth, etc.
Day2： One day tour to Toba; Mikimoto Pearl Island & Secret “Toshi-jima” Island of fishermen
On the second day in Mie Prefecture, after meeting your tour guide, you will head to your first destination, Mikimoto Pearl Island. Kokichi Mikimoto is a founder of Mikimoto Pearl Company. In 1893, he etched his name in history when he successfully creating the world’s first cultured pearls. Before the development of cultured pearls, only natural pearls were available, which were mere products of chance. Less than one in a thousand oyster shells may produce a pearl during their lifetime.
In Mikimoto Pearl Island, you will see the finest collections of art made of high quality Akoya pearls at Mikimoto Pearl Museum, learn history and how to cultivate the pearls, see demonstration of traditional woman divers called Ama, and visit the jewelry store of beautiful pearls.
After Mikimoto Pearl Island you will head to the next destination on a 15-20 minute ferry ride, Toshi-jima Island. Toshi-jima is a small secret fisherman island, but the biggest island in the Ise Bay. Explore and stroll around the island with your guide. Find out and see what kinds of products were caught today in the local fish market. In a secret alley, you will find a small tofu maker and taste fresh soy milk made this morning and ganmodoki, deep fried tofu mixed with thinly sliced vegetables, which were just shaped in round and fried in front of you. You’ll enjoy having the best sushi using local products from the Ise Bay for lunch at a local sushi restaurant in the island.
Suggested lunch: Sushi made using fish in season from Ise Bay for lunch at the best local sushi restaurant in Toshi-jima Island
Day 3： One day tour in Shima; around Ago-Bay and experience local cultures
Upon meeting your guide, you will head to Shinju-no-Sato by private car.
Shinju no Sato is located in a small hidden inlet of Ago Bay surrounded by only sea and mountains, and is managed by a family who’s been engaged in the pearl aquaculture business for over 65 years. They offer you simulated experiences of the various pearl farming processes, such as nucleus implantation and harvesting. You will also try your hand at making accessories from harvested pearls. Enjoy making your own accessories by extracting pearls from the shells!!
After Shinju-no-Sato, you will head to Katsuo-no-Tenpaku.
“Katsuo-bushi” Bonito flakes, have a long history in Japan dating back before the 16th century. Katsuo No Tenpaku, one of the brands of bonito flakes, is harvested by a locally famous craftsman Tenpaku family who has a very long history in making katsuo-bushi and in 1946 the family established its own business, which is now in its 4th generation.
Here, you get a full tour on how to make katsuo-bushi flakes the traditional way, after which you will taste sample the freshly shaved bonito flakes with rice.
In Japanese cuisine, bonito flakes are usually eaten with rice, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, tofu, etc.
Next, you’ll visit Ama’s hut to meet real Ama-san, woman divers who catch sea products in the sea and have seasonal fresh sea foods there. It used be seen Ama culture many seaside villages in Japan however Ama culture is dying since young women don’t want to do it anymore as it is a really hard job. This region is one of the few places in Japan where can be seen real Ama culture has been passed.
After experience Ama’s culture, stop at Yokoyama observation deck on the way to your hotel.
From this observation deck, you can take in the full view of Ago Bay’s rias coast and 64 islands dotted around the bay.
Suggested lunch: Seasonal fresh see foods at Ama hut
Suggested dinner: Traditional local cuisine and sake at your ryokan (Japanese inn)
Day 4： Departure; Morning tour to Matsusaka
On your last day of Ise, Shima, Toba and Matsusaka tour, checking out your hotel, you will stop at the last destination, Matsusaka city on the way to Chubu International Airport by private car.
Here you will experience three specialties of Matsusaka this morning, which are Matsusaka-Cotton; try wearing cotton kimono at the local kimono shop, Matsusaka-cha or Tea; visit a local tea shop to enjoy tea tasting, and Matsusaka Ushi or Matsusaka wagyu beef; taste A5 lank of Matsuzaka Ushi or Matsusaka Wagyu Beef for lunch at one of the best Matsusaka Ushi local restaurants.
All the Matsusaka Ushi must have the cert to be shown to the customers at every restaurant. Surprisingly, the only female of Matsusaka Ushi are used as Matsusaka Ushi brand because of its higher quality and also Matsusaka Ushi are not exported to the abroad. This is the reason why Matsusaka Ushi may be little-known to outside Japan comparing to Kobe beef which are exported to abroad.
After the lunch, you will be transferred to Tsu Port to take a high speed vessel to Chubu International Airport.
Suggested lunch: Matsusaka Ushi or Matsusaka Wagyu Beef in Matsusaka city
Travel with Kids：
We offer fun tours as you can enjoy journey along with children.
We can also arrange nursery teacher, doctor, nurse, and so on for you.
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