10 things to see in Mie Prefecture

Meoto Iwa rocks - Mie prefecture

Meoto Iwa rocks - Mie prefecture

Mie prefectural government

Discovering Japan's most sacred prefecture

Famous for its beautiful temples, Mie is one of the most sacred prefectures in Japan. With its many places of worship dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu, its miraculous waterfalls, and its side roads, this small prefecture in southern Kansai is one of the favorite destinations of Japanese pilgrims. It is the region's breathtaking landscapes that have elevated it to the "spiritual cradle of the country", where the gods inhabit the forests. The pearl-lined beaches are the playground, a favorite of the last mermaids of Japan. To discover this little-known gem, here are our top ten things to see in the fascinating Mie Prefecture. 

Naiku, at the Ise shrine

Naiku, at the Ise shrine


2. Okage Yokocho (Ise)

Not far from Ise Jingu is Okage Yokocho, a traditional alley of 50 shops and restaurants that transports visitors back in time to the days when houses were made of wood and the Japanese never went out without a kimono.

Address: Mie, Ise, Ujinakanokiri-cho 52
Hours: The first shops open at 9:30 a.m.
Itinerary : 15 minutes by bus from Kintetsu Iseshi station (Yamada, Sangu lines)

Okage Yokocho

Okage Yokocho


3. Meoto Iwa (Ise)

Off the coast of Futami Okitama Shrine is Meoto Iwa, two sacred stones 9 and 4 meters high connected by a shimenawa (a sacred rope made of rice straw). In June, the site attracts many visitors when the sun rises right between the two rocks, especially couples that Meoto Iwa is popular during the year. The two stones symbolizing a couple united by the bonds of marriage, it is said that anyone who visits to admire them will be lucky in love!

Address: Mie, Ise, Futami-Cho, E 575
Hours: Every day from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Directions: 15 min walk from Futamiura station (Sangu line)

The "married couple rocks" of Meoto Iwa

The "wedding rocks" of Meoto Iwa, united by a Shinto rope, a place of worship in the Ise region.


4. Mikimoto Pearl Island (Toba)

Located off Toba Bay, Mikimoto Island has been famous for its pearls since the late 19th century. Here you can admire the technique of the Ama divers, the last keepers of an ancestral diving secret in Japan, and explore the history of these water gems at the Pearl Museum.

Address: Mie, Toba, Toba 1-7-1
Itinerary: A few minutes walk from Toba station (Sangu, Kintetsu Toba lines)

Mikimoto Pearl Island on the Shima Peninsula

Mikimoto Pearl Island in the Shima Peninsula.

Ago bay

Ago bay


6. The paths of Iseji (Kumano)

The Iseji Paths constitute the eastern part of the Kumano pilgrimage. They follow the Kii Peninsula, taking birth in the sacred shrines of Ise, and take pilgrims to discover pretty mountain landscapes interspersed with beaches and bamboo forests until they arrive at the Shinto shrine of Kumano Sanzan.

Starting point: Ise Jingu (Mie, Ise, Ujitachi-cho 1 (Naiku))
Average length: 10 towns, 170 km.

On the paths of Iseji

On the paths of Iseji


7. Maruyama Senmaida (Kumano)

With its 1340 small rice fields arranged on terraces, Maruyama Senmaida is considered one of the most beautiful rice-growing sites in the country, if not the most beautiful. It is possible to admire the work of local farmers and even participate in some workshops on rice!

Address: Mie, Kumano, Maruyama
Itinerary: 30 minutes by car from Kumanoshi station (Kisei, Nanki lines)

The puzzle of rice fields is inscribed in the rocks.

The paddy field puzzle is inscribed in the rocks


Akame waterfalls

Akame waterfalls


9. The hot springs of Sakakibara (Tsu)

Warming hearts and bodies for over 1,000 years, the Sakakibara Onsen is one of Mie Prefecture's most prestigious drop-offs. Located two hours from Ise, east of the small town of Tsu, these hot springs are particularly famous for their clear and miraculous water (they say). The waters are said to be good for firming the skin and fighting rheumatism!

Address: 5824-1 Sakakibaracho, Tsu, Mie 514-1251
Hours: Every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Itinerary: 1 hour by bus from Tsu station (Kintetsu limited express line)

Sakakibara onsen

Sakakibara onsen


Nabana no Sato

Nabana no Sato


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