10 amazing things to do in Mie, Japan!

Nov 27, 2020

Located in the central of Japan, Mie Prefecture is home to various historical and cultural monuments, including the Ise Grand Shrine, with its 200 years history, and the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes, a World Heritage Site that connects the Ise Grand Shrine in Mie with the Three Shrines of Kumano in Wakayama.

Mie is brimming with beautiful nature, as it has a deeply indented coastline and enormous mountain ranges, where you can enjoy the fall foliage. The prefecture is also famous for its amazing local treats, such as the spiny lobsters, Matsusaka beef, and Ise udon.

How about visiting Mie to have both, an extraordinary, yet a novel adventure?

Index

How to get there
Recommended sightseeing spots in Mie:
    1. Ise Grand Shrine
    2. Meoto Iwa
    3. Nabana no Sato Flower Park
    4. Kumano Kodo
    5. Onigajo
    6. Akame 48 Falls
    7. Yokkaichi Plant
    8. Tategasaki
    9. Shishi Iwa
    10. Iga Ueno Castle
Mie’s best local treats:
    1. Ise ebi
    2. Matsusaka beef
    3. Ise udon
    4. Tekone-zushi
    5. Tonteki

How to get there

The main transportation hub of Mie Prefecture is the Iseshi Station, which is connected to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya through the JR Shinkansen and the Kintetsu Limited Express.

We recommend taking the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya Station if you’re traveling from Tokyo, then transfer to the Kintetsu Limited Express at Nagoya Station. If you’re traveling from Osaka or Kyoto, all you must do is hop on the Kintetsu Limited Express train from Osaka Namba Station or Kintetsu Kyoto Station.

If you’re visiting the prefecture from other places, take the airplane bound for Chubu Centrair International Airport, and then take the Tsu Airport Line boat that takes you to the Ise area.

Recommended sightseeing spots in Mie

Mie is divided into several areas, including Ise-Shima, Iga, Higashi-kishu, Chunansei, and Hokusei, and it is a destination to visit if you’re looking for something off the beaten path.

Packed with interesting sightseeing spots like Nabana no Sato Flower Park, Meoto Iwa, and Ise Grand Shrine, Mie is a perfect destination for a weekend getaway, especially if you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the big cities.

Here are our picks for the best things to do in Mie, Japan!

1. Visit one of the most prominent shrines in Japan: Ise Grand Shrine

Ise Grand Shrine is known as one of the most important shrines in Japan, and it accommodates 125 shrines, including the main inner shrine (Naiku), and the outer shrine (Geku).

The shrines are dedicated to Amaterasu Omikami (inner shrine), a female deity worshipped as the ancestor of the Japanese Imperial Family, and Toyouke Omikami (outer shrine), a male deity of food and harvest.

Ise Grand Shrine

    • Business hours: 5:00-18:00
    • Access: a 30-minute walk from Isuzugawa Station (Kintetu Railway)
    • Google MAP
    • Website

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2. See the wedded sacred rocks: Meoto Iwa

Meoto Iwa is a pair of scared rocks near the Futami Okitama Shrine, which stand 700 meters away from the shoreline. The first rock, called Oiwa, which represents male, is 9 meters high, and the second rock, called Meiwa, which represents female, is 4 meters high. The rocks are tied together with shimenawa (sacred straw rope), and there is a torii (shrine gate) on top of Oiwa. Meoto Iwa is famous for its beautiful sunrise, which can be seen through it from May to July.

Meoto Iwa

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3. Beautiful tulips and illuminations at Nabana no Sato Flower Park

Nabana no Sato Flower Park is a large flower park in the Nagashima Resort of Mie, and it has an area over 300,000 square meters. The park is best known for its beautiful seasonal flowers, especially for its colorful tulips that bloom in spring.

The park is also known for its enormous and gorgeous illumination displays, which is held from the winter and lasts until May. Over eight million LED lights are used during this illumination program, which brightens the park’s trees and flower fields.

Nabana no Sato Flower Park

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4. Have a spiritual journey at Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

Kumano Kodo is one of the most popular destinations in Mie, and it is a pilgrimage area that connects Ise Grand Shine in Mie to the Three Shrines of Kumano – the Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and Kumano Nachi Taisha – in Wakayama.

As you get closer to Kumano area in Wakayama, you’ll find the beautiful mystical waterfall, Nachi Falls. Known as one of the most famous spiritual spots in Japan, how about visiting Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage for a spiritual journey?

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

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5. Enjoy the beauty of natural artwork of Onigajo

Onigajo is ranked as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and it is famous for its beautiful rock formation. Onigajo is a 1km cliffs on Kumanonada Sea created through geological protrusion, erosion, and weathering. The rock formation is believed to look like a demon, and there is an observation deck where you could capture the entire view of Kumanonada Sea.

Onigajo

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6. Find your Zen at Akame 48 Falls

Akame 48 Falls is a group of waterfalls in Mie that are famous for its amazing sight. The area is a famous hiking spot, which has various trekking routes, which one of them is good for slow walking.

Some of the most famous waterfalls in this area are Ninai Falls and Senju Falls, and there are also hot springs nearby, and also a Ninja Museum, where you can learn to throw shuriken and climb walls, while dressed in ninja wear.

Akame 48 Falls

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7. Instaworthy night views at Yokkaichi Plant

Looking for something to upload on Instagram? How about visiting Yokkaichi Plant at night for its amazing night view?

Yokkaichi Plant is one of the most famous photography spots in Japan, and its nightscape is best captured from the cruise ship, which departs every day at night.

Yokkaichi Plant

    • Address: 1-1-56 Yasujima, Yokkaichi-shi, Mie
    • Access: about a 30-minute drive from Tomidahama Station

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8. See the great rock face: Tategasaki

One of the most important things to do in Mie is to visit its great rock face, Tategasaki. Located on Kumano’s majestic coastline, Tategasaki is best explored with a boat, which departs three times a day from Matsuzaki Port. Tategasaki is 80 meters tall and 550 meters all the way around, and its amazing sight is best seen up close.

Tategasaki

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9. Stare at the “Lion Rock”: Shishi Iwa

Shishi Iwa, which literally means “Lion Work”, is also ranked as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and people believe that it resembles the lion, although for some people it rather looks like an eagle. The rock is located between Onigajo and Hana no Iwaya Shrine in Kumano City, so we recommend visiting this area when you go to Onigajo.

Shishi Iwa

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10. Visit the gorgeous wooden castle: Iga Ueno Castle

Iga Ueno Castle is a feudal castle originally constructed in the late 16th century, and it served as the seat of the local lords in Edo period (1603-1867). It was destroyed by a storm and rebuilt in 1935 when a local resident provided funding for the construction.

The castle was rebuilt with wood only, giving it a gorgeous, original atmosphere both on the inside and outside. It is famous for its impressive 30 meters stone walls, which are the tallest in Japan.

Iga Ueno Castle

    • Business hours: 9:00-17:00
    • Closed from December 29 to 31
    • Admissions: 600 yen (castle only); 1,750 yen (castle, Ninja Museum, and Danjiri Kaikan)
    • Access: a 5 to 10-minute walk from Uenoshi Station
    • Google MAP

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Mie’s best local treats

 Mie is best known for its delicious and fresh seafood, particularly for its Ise ebi, the spiny lobster, and its Tekone-zushi, the red fish sashimi bowl. In addition to that, the prefecture is also home to Ise udon, the thicket udon noodle in Japan, and Matsusaka beef, one of the most popular Wagyu (Japanese cattle brand) in Japan. Here are our picks for the best foods to try when visiting Mie!

1. Ise ebi

Ise ebi is perhaps the first thing that pops in our mind when we think of local treats of Mie. It is a spiny lobster originated in Mie, and it is famous for its tender texture and sweet flavor. The best time to eat Ise ebi is between October and April, when they are in season.

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2. Matsusaka beef

Matsusaka beef is a brand of cattle raised in Matsusaka City, Mie. The meat is famous for its high-quality fat, which is characterized with its extra-thin marbling. Matsusaka beef melts smoothly right away after it gets into your mouth, and it is best eaten as a steak or sukiyaki.

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3. Ise udon

Unlike other udon, Ise udon are much thicker than other udon noodles and boiled for a long time, until their texture became soft and chewy. Ise udon are eaten with a dark sauce made with tamari soy sauce, and it is usually served together with sliced green onions, raw egg, and sometimes tempura.

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4. Tekone-zushi

Mie is home to Tekone-zushi, a representative dish of Iseshima. It consists red meat fish such as bonito and tuna, which are soaked in a soy sauce-based marinade and placed on a bed of vinegared rice. Tekone-zushi was eaten by fishermen while out for fishing, by pouring soy sauce on freshly caught bonito and mixing it with rice by hand before eating it.

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5. Tonteki

Tonteki is a famous dish of Yokkaichi City in Mie, and it was popular as a hearty meal during Japan’s period of rapid growth. Tonteki is a sauteed pork meat seasoned with dark Worcestershire-based sauce and topped with fried sliced garlic. It is usually served together with thinly sliced cabbage, romaine lettuce, tomato, and sometimes potato salad.

 

Now that you have an idea of how many fabulous spots are in Mie, all you must do is plan your itinerary to enjoy unforgettable experiences in Mie!

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