Ise Shima National Park, Japan's most revered territory

2019年 04月25日

Relatively easy to access from most major cities such as Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Ise-Shima National Park located in Mie Prefecture, is close to the coastline where more than 60 islands and inland, the most important territory of the Shinto religion. Upon arrival at Ise Station, take the bus to Naigu Station (内 宮), the terminus, you will be a 10-minute walk to Ise-JIngu, one of the largest concentrations of Shinto shrines in Japan.
Landscape of the sublime countryside of Mie region

You will enter the ground of the shrine via Uji bridge from the north, a magnificent wooden bridge described as the passage of the pagan world to the sacred world. These shrines are dedicated to the supreme goddess Amaterasu-Omikami, goddess of the sun and Toyouke no Omikami goddess of agriculture. In Ise-JIngu rituals are performed daily in the name of these deities and every 20 years a new temple with similar architecture has been rebuilt for 1300 years. Visit Ise-jingu is a mystical and exotic walk because you will find yourself in the middle of a cedar forest where rise these sanctuaries with the roofs in the form of hands in prayers, where Shinto priests walk in parade, during the rituals, accompanied by the sound of Wadaikos (drums) also called Taikos.

Shinto priests in the shrine of Ise Jingu

North of Ise-Jingu, you can admire the reconstruction of districts of the Edo and Meiji era by going to Ohara-Machi, and Okage-Yokocho. Less populated by tourists and just as beautiful by its ancient architecture, the district of Kawasaki is also worth a stroll. Here you will find many stalls offering you to taste the local food. The cuisine of Ise-Shima is primarily based on seafood. You will taste grilled lobsters, oysters, or freshly caught abalones. One of the traditional dishes of Mie Prefecture is Tekone-Zushi, a sushi made from red tuna and bonito meat served with vinegar rice. The origin of the dish is eaten by local fishermen while fishing. Also we must not forget to mentione about Ama, Japan's underwater fishing divers, Ama of Ise are famous nationwidely. These women divers respect a tradition that would be 2000 years old and still snorkel today to catch most often sea urchins, lobsters, and edible seaweed. Do not hesitate to meet them, you can go to the Toba area on the east coast between Ise and Shima, at the Ama Hut of Hachiman Kamado! (Information and access to the address )
Ama diver in search of the delights of the sea

By approaching the south coast, you can admire the beautifully indented coastline, the bay of Ago punctuated by its many islands. From Shima City, from the City Hall, a bus will take you directly to the Yokoyama Observation Point in 30 minutes. From here you will have an incredible view of the coastline. The most inhabited island of Ago Bay is Kashikojima, which, like many islands in the region, is known for its pearl craft, once very often fished for its value. You will find here, many small craft shops where you will be offered to create your own accessories. The island of Mikimoto, called Pearl Island is also recommended for this activity. From the port of Kashikojima, you can easily board a boat to discover the bay's landscape from the sea.

Sunset on the islands of Ago Bay

On the side of Ise city, near the coast, a beautiful Shinto shrine is built on two rocks in the middle of the waters. That is the Futami Okitama Shrine, whose two rocks called Meoto iwa are symbols of marriaged couple both attached by a heavy rope of rice straw. This temple is strongly recommended to admire beautiful sunsets.
The authentic Futami Okitama sanctuary in the middle of the waters