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The birthplace of the goddess Amaterasu
From Ise, we mostly know Ise-shingu. Erected in honor of Amaterasu , the sun goddess attached to the imperial family, this religious complex of 125 shrines is said to be "the soul of Japan".
Go through the Uji Bridge to access the Naiku Shrine, birthplace of the goddess. Its wooden construction would wash away their sins from those who pass through it.
The most prized shrine in the country, Naiku is said to house the yatano kagami mirror, one of the three sacred relics of Japan, and used to bring Amaterasu out of the cave in which she had been hiding following a violent argument with her brother Suzano, the god storms.
High place of veneration, don't be surprised that most buildings are closed to the public. Like the Naiku Shrine, accessible only to the Emperor and a few emeritus Shinto priests. The exteriors of the site offer a pleasant view for a walk in the heart of the city and many events take place throughout the year in the enclosure of Ise-shingu. Like the Kagura, sacred dances given in honor of pilgrims to protect them .
Nearby, don't forget the Sengukan Museum. Accessible to all, it holds the secrets of more than 1000 years of maintenance of the site!
The gastronomic specialties of Ise
Rich in its spirituality, Ise is also rich in its gastronomy. At the heart of the city, the traditional Oharai-machi area extends over more than one kilometer. Wooden houses and architecture from Edo (1603-1868), the district bordered by the Isuzu river offers a bucolic parenthesis, a trip back in time, to the time when pilgrims who came to Ise-jingu enlivened the alleys.
Within it, the Okage-Yokocho shopping street allows you to discover local specialties. Udon, Matsusaka beef, or abalone caught by the ama of the neighboring town, the countless restaurants in the area have been cooking up good recipes for centuries .
Especially with regard to tea and wagashi, since Ise is the third tea producer in the country. From there was also born akafuku, a mochi stuffed with red bean paste invented in one of the city's tea houses in the 18th century.
In addition to its restaurants, cafes and stalls, Okage-Yokocho has many souvenir shops . Homemade honey, pottery and lucky charms, the street puts the craftsmanship of Ise in the spotlight!
Especially every first of the month during Tsuitachi Mairi, the first monthly pilgrimage, when stores open very early in order to offer new things to the brave who come to Oharai-machi after their return from Ise-jingu.
The best places to eat in Ise
Akafuku Honten : Akafuku specialist
Address : 26 Ujinakanokiri-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours : from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ebiya : in abalone for several generations
Address : 13 Ujiimazaike-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours : 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Oiseya Honpo : famous for Matsusaka beef
Address : 94-7 Ujinakanokiri-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours : 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (be careful, the hours change regularly)
Iseman Naiku Mae Japanese Sake Factory : the only distillery in Ise, you can find amazake, yuzu sake and plum sake.
Address : Okage Yokocho, 77-2 Ujinakanokiri-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (times may vary regularly)
Shima Peninsula, places to visit near Ise
Beyond these must-see sites, we must spend a little more time around Ise to enjoy the Shima Peninsula National Park, especially Futami Bay, where we come to see the famous Meoto Iwa married rocks.
In the north (Toba), it is a completely different celebrity than Amaterasu who attracts the crowds: Mikimoto, founder of Japanese pearl culture. Because the local waters have long been home to pearl oysters, formerly snorkeled by artisan divers ama. They now only dive for tourists, but a museum (Mikimoto Pearl Island) pays homage to their traditions, and especially to the method that allowed Mikimoto Kokichi to make pearl culture a flourishing industry.
The south of the peninsula is quieter, but less served. More photogenic too, because the jagged coasts offer a superb panorama of the 60 islands of Ago Bay and the pearl fishing boats, while Goza is a small fishing port a stone's throw from a wide white sand beach. and end (Goza-shirahama).
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