Top 10 Reasons to Visit Mie Prefecture in Japan

From 23 October until 5 November 2021, Japan Centre will be hosting Mie Fair at Japan Centre Leicester Square, Japan Centre Ichiba Westfield London, and Japan Centre Online. We will have exclusive handpicked products of Mie Prefecture, including traditional products such as Matcha Yokan, Yuzu Warabi Mochi, Hojicha Latte, Sake, and much more. Join us for the next 2 weeks to learn more about this nature-filled incredible prefecture, its history, culture, and the artisan products Mie produces.

Mie Prefecture is a beautiful and serene prefecture of Japan located in Honshu, known for its breath-taking scenery, delicious food and exquisite pearls. Mie Prefecture is full of history and notable places, such as being the home to Japan’s oldest Shinto shrine named Tsubaki Grand Shrine and also Iga Ueno, the birthplace of the Ninja. Mie also has many Onsen hot spring baths and national parks and is a unique and beautiful prefecture of Japan. There are many reasons as to why you should visit Mie, and here are just a few of them.

Visit the Beautiful Natural Onsen Hot Springs.

Yunokuchi Onsen is a “hidden hot spring” in Mie Prefecture. Hidden hot springs are springs that are in remote areas and whose visitors are mostly locals. Located in the middle of the mountains, this Onsen offers a serene and pleasant atmosphere. With pools located both inside and outside, guests have a range of choice as to where they would like to bathe, and is a popular location for families of several generations to visit together.

Learn About the History of Mie

Tsu is the prefectural capital but is far from being a busy metropolis. Its modest attractions include Tsu Castle, Mie Prefectural Art Museum and MieMu, the new Mie Prefectural Museum. Tsu castle was a Japanese castle which was reconstructed in 1958, but was originally built in 1558. Tsu castle was once owned by the Imperial Japanese army and eventually sold to former Lord Todo Takakiyo in 1889. Unfortunately during the Meiji period, most of Tsu castle was destroyed and became a park. Parts of the castle were left, including the two gates and the moat.

Visit the Birthplace of the Ninja

The Ninja’s birthplace is Iga in Mie Prefecture. Here, you can visit the Ninja museum of Igaryu to learn more about Ninja. Tours are in English, Japanese and Chinese, and visitors have the opportunity to step foot inside a traditional Ninja house and see all of the hidden doors and tricks. When you enter the Ninja Experience Hall, you can see authentic Ninja’s tools as well as replicas too, including what they wore and used in daily life. At the Ninja Tradition Hall, you will find out how Ninjas lived, what they created and ate. Finally, visit the Ninja gift shop and buy some exclusive Ninja inspired gifts.

Pay Your Respects at Japan’s Most Sacred Shrine

Ise Jingu is Japan’s most sacred shrine and is a Shinto shrine for the Japanese Sun Goddess, Amaterasu. Ise Jingu is the standout attraction in Mie and attracts millions of visitors throughout the year. Ise shrine is purportedly the home of the Sacred Mirror, and is one of the most holiest and important shrines in Shintoism. The general public are not allowed past the sight of the central structures but are free to roam the forests. When you visit the shrine, a staple you have to try is Akafuku rice cake. The soft mochi rice cakes are hand-made and covered with a melt-in-your-mouth smooth anko red bean paste. After visiting the shrine, take a walk down the streets of the old town, where you can find souvenirs, famous sweet shops and hotels.

Surround Yourself with Beautiful Waterfalls

Mie Prefecture is full of beautiful natural wonders such as cascading waterfalls. Akame Shijuhataki is one of what are traditionally considered the “Top 48” waterfall areas in Japan. These waterfalls are surrounded by nature and are especially beautiful in the autumn when the leaves surrounding it turn red. There is also an annual ritual where participants pray in the waterfall for the good health of their families.

Challenge Yourself with Mountain Climbing

Mount Gozaisho is a favorite of hikers and hot spring enthusiasts alike who can climb the steep mountain and then relax at Yunoyama Onsen. It is 1212 metres high and also the closest snow-capped mountain to Nagoya, with a resort located at the top. Mount Gozaisho also has a ropeway which takes 12 minutes from one side to the other, making it one of the longest in the world.

Visit the Bustling Industrial City

Yokkaichi is the largest city in Mie Prefecture in terms of population with over 300,000 inhabitants and is mainly industrial. Yokkaichi at night looks like it came straight out of a cyberpunk sci-fi film, with its vivid colours and industrial buildings. Yokkaichi mainly produces Banko ware (a kind of porcelain), automobiles, cotton textiles, chemicals, tea, cement, and computer parts, but now has developed into a port that mainly handles glass, wool, cotton and heavy equipment.

Take a Walk Down the Stone Paved Path.

Magose-toge, the stone paved path is part of a popular hike in the forest which continues all the way until the cypress tree forest. This path passes through many historical sites such as the Yonaki-Jizo, the Guardian God of Travellers who is said to prevent babies and young children from crying at night. For hundreds of years, this was a popular pilgrimage route for monks and nuns to travel between different places of worship.

Relax at the Beach with Crystal Clear Waters.

Nearby Toba is a seaside and onsen hot spring resort known for its female ama divers and Mikimoto pearls. Mikimoto pearls are expensive pearls from Mikimoto Pearl Island, off the shore of Toba. This island is known as the birthplace of cultured pearl aquaculture. Toba’s beaches have white sands and clear waters, making them a very popular location during the summer months.

Enjoy the Famous Food of Mie Prefecture

Mie Prefecture boasts of a lot of delicacies and high quality foods. Matsusaka, another tranquil town on the outskirts of Mie Prefecture, is famous for its wagyu beef called Matsusaka wagyu, rated the 3rd best in Japan. Ise Ebi is another famous product from Mie Prefecture. Ise Ebi, also known as spiny lobster, is a large but delicate lobster which is delicious when cooked any way. Popular ways to eat it include raw as sashimi or grilled and eaten with an accompanying sauce. Tekone sushi is also a very popular seafood dish. It consists of tuna sashimi marinated in soy sauce and placed on vinegared rice. It was commonly eaten by fishermen while they were working out at sea.

Mie Prefecture has everything that represents Japan, from delicious food, beautiful mountains and exquisite waterfalls, as well as being within reasonable distance from other big cities in Japan like Osaka and Kyoto. If you’re planning a trip to visit Japan next year, Mie Prefecture will be able to offer you an extensive experience of Japan.

By Amelia

Japan Centre