15 Things to Do in Ise

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ise city
Source: Wikipedia

Located in Mie Prefecture (at the edge of Ise Bay), Ise city is the gateway to Ise Shima region. The city houses the Japan’s most sacred Shinto shrine that is about 2000 years old. The shrine is the center of major religious and spiritual activities. Moreover, the Ise shrines have two parts that both are quite apart from each other – the Inner Shrine is Naiku while the Outer Shrine is Geku. Comprising an area of 179 square kilometers, the Ise city is sightseeing tourist spot that offers lovely landscapes, rivers, cultural beauty as well as scrumptious seafood.

1. Feel Spirituality at Naiku (Ise Inner Shrine):


Source: Wikimedia

The Ise trip is incomplete without paying respect to the supreme deity Amaterasu Omikami (the sun goddess) enshrined at Naiku. Naiku is one of the two major shrines of Ise Shrines and is officially known as Kotai Jingu. This is considered as the most sacred shrine in Japan where millions of visitors arrive every month to worship for prosperity, peace and spirituality.


  • Name: Naiku (Kotai Jingu)
  • Address:  1 Ujitachicho, Ise City Mie Prefecture
  • Price: Free
  • Access: 20 minutes bus drive from Kintetsu Ujiyamada station | 6 minutes bus drive from Kintetsu Iseshi station
  • Opening hour: 5:00 hours
  • Closing hour: 18:00 hours (January to April, September) | 19:00 hours ( May to August) | 17:00 hours ( October to December)
  • Holiday: None

2. Play with Dolphins at Futami Sea Paradise:

Ise has a lot to rejuvenate your holidays. Amidst a variety of attractions, the Futami Sea Paradise is a hands-on style aquarium where you will have fun with sea animals. This place allows you to touch, play and photograph with sea animals like dolphins, otters, seals, penguins etc. What makes this aquarium really popular is the comical gestures and humorous performances by Southern elephant seals and other marine mammals.


  • Name: Futami Sea Paradise
  • Address: 580, Futami-cho (Futami-town), Ise City (Ise-shi), Mie Prefecture 519-0602
  • Price: 1,400 JPY (adults) | 600 JPY (High school & elementary school students) | 300 JPY (children over 3 years old)
  • Access: 20 minutes walk from JR Futaminoura Station
  • Opening hour: 9:00 hours  (may vary seasonally)
  • Closing hour: 17:00 hours (may vary seasonally)
  • Website: http://ise-seaparadise.com/

3. Purify Yourself at Isuzugawa Riverside:


Source: Lisa Pinehill

Naiku shrine is not only the shrine, in fact it has much more in terms of purification and nature. The Isuzugawa River runs along the grounds of Naiku shrine and is widely visited by the pilgrims or tourists in order to have a purified cleaning.Walking alongside this river will give you a scenic view of the natural beauty and you will definitely be enthralled. This view is enhanced during the season of Cherry blossoms.


  • Name: Isuzugawa River
  • Address: 1 Ujitachicho, Ise City, Mie Prefecture
  • Price: Free
  • Access: 20  minutes bus drive from Kintetsu Ujiyamada station, exit at Naiku Mae bus stop. The river is at 1-minute walk from the stop.
  • Opening hour: 5:00 hours
  • Closing hour: 18:00 hours (January to April, September) | 19:00 hours ( May to August) | 17:00 hours ( October to December)
  • Holiday:  None

4. View the Spectacular Sun Rising at Meoto Iwa (Wedded Rocks):

When you are near Futami (a small town in Ise city, you must not miss out the opportunity to view the scenic beauty of Meoto Iwa (wedded rocks) in the ocean. These are two sacred rocks, the larger one is considered the husband while the smaller one is wife. They both are connected with a Shimenawa rope. This rope is replaced three times a year in a ceremony held for this spiritual purpose. Moreover, the splendid view of the sun rising between the two rocks sounds truly amazing. If you find this chance, you must experience this beauty.


  • Name: Meoto Iwa
  • Address: 575 Futamichoe, Ise, Mie Prefecture 519-0602
  • Access: 15 minutes walk from JR Futaminoura Station

5. Stunning View of Cherry Trees at Miyagawa Tsutsumi Park:

Miyagawa Park is one of the best Sakura parks in Japan. The park is famous for its 1,000 cherry trees that run along the bank os Miyagawa river. Walking alongside the river and refreshing yourself with the beauty of amazing cherry trees will be an exhilarating experience that you can never forget. The expected  blooming period for cherry blossoms is the end of March to the beginning of April. Millions of visitors rush to this scenic place for enjoying the cherry blossoms alongside the foods available on a number of stalls.


  • Name: Miyagawa Tsutsumi Park
  • Price: Free
  • Access: Take a bus from JR Kintetsu IseshiStation and exit at Wataraibashi bus stop.
  • Opening hour: 24 hours
  • Closing hour: None
  • Holiday: None
  • Website: http://hanami.walkerplus.com/detail/ar0624e26086/

6. Visit Geku (Outer Shrine) for Blessings:

The other one of the two main shrines of Ise is Geku (that is the outer shrine). Geku or Outer Shrine is the common name, while it is officially known as  Toyouke Daijingu. This sacred place enshrines Toyouke Omikami, the goddess of clothing, food and housing. Both of the shrines are situated in the ancient forest and surrounded by splendid lakes, stones, and ponds.


  • Name: Geku (Outer Shrine)
  • Address: Toyokawa-machi, Ise-shi, Mie Prefecture
  • Price: Free
  • Access: From Tokyo, 1 hour 45 minutes to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line | From Osaka, 1 hour 40 minutes from Uehonmachi Station to Ise Station by Kintetsu Line

7. Enjoy Panoramic View of Ise From Ise Shima Sky Line:


Source: Wikimedia

If you want to rejuvenate yourself with the captivating beauty of Ise Bay and surrounding alps, Ise-Shima Skyline is the route that you must be adopted. This skyline is the mountain road that connects Ise city to Toba and the observatory (506 meters high) will give you a panoramic view of Ise Bay and Mt.Fuji (if weather allows). There is a footpath where you can walk and enjoy viewing the beautiful surroundings.  While a free foot bathing facility is provided at one end of the observatory where you can immerse your legs in hot spring water to warm up yourself.


  • Name: Ise Shima Skyline
  • Address: Asakuma-cho, Ise 516-0021, Mie Prefecture
  • Phone: Ise-Shima Skyline Toba office 0599-25-2852
  • Access: 20 minutes (by car) from Toba station

8. Explore the Streets of Okage Yokocho:

Okage Yokocho is an alleyway or street built in 1993 in front of Naiku gate of Ise grand shrine. The street has relocated the townscape of Ise in the Edo to Meiji periods. There are different shops including restaurants, shops selling candles, handicrafts, souvenirs and a museum as well. You will come across the traditional Japanese foods and history while visiting this street. Here at the center of the district, a live performance of Taiko drums is held on weekends and national holidays.


  • Name: Okage Yokocho
  • Address: 52 Ujinakanokiri Tow, Ise, Mie Prefecture
  • Phone: +81-596-23-8838 (General Information)
  • Access: An hour and a half from Nagoya Station | 5 minutes car ride from Ise interchange on Ise Jidoshado Expressway
  • Opening hour: Varies w.r.t shops and seasons
  • Closing hour: Varies w.r.t shops and seasons

9. Dive into Fun At Shima Spain Village:

Shima Spain Village or Spain Mura (aka Parque Espana) is a Spanish theme park designed with an exotic atmosphere representing the Spanish townscape. With huge attractions, shows, and restaurants, this theme park is perfect for people of all ages. Here you can find adventurous roller coasters, mystery house,fire shoot, lagoon ride, carnival house, animal jumping and a lot more attractions. Besides these fun-filled rides and adventures, you can have an enthralling fun with flamenco dance performance, dining and shopping fun as well.


  • Name: Shima Spain Village
  • Phone: +81 599-57-3333
  • Price: 5300 JPY for a 1-day passoport ( and unlimited rides)
  • Access: The closest railway station to Spain Mura is Shima – Isobe station on Kintetsu Line. There are free shuttle buses that can be used to reach Spain Mura.
  • Opening hour: 9:30 hours
  • Closing hour: 17:00 hours
  • Website: http://www.parque-net.com/

10. Pay Your Devoted Respect at Kongo Shoji Temple:


Source: Wikimedia

Since Ise city is famous for its wonderful shrines, so you have a chance to view great spirituality in the city. On the Northeast side of Ise Jingu, this temple is another serene and tranquil spot to absorb the spirituality to an utmost level. This shrine is the end point of Ise Jingu shrine visitors who visit this place as a final round of prayers.


  • Name: Kongo Shoji Temple
  • Address: 548 Asamacho Dake, Ise City, Mie Prefecture
  • Phone: +81- 596 -22 – 1710

11. Experience Serene Atmosphere at Yokowacho:

Source: Wikimedia

Although, the entire Japan attracts millions of visitors to its dazzling cherry blossom spots. Especially in the mid of spring season, the blooming starts and you will see people rushing to these spots for enjoying this splendid beauty. But if you want peaceful and less crowded cherry blossom spot, then Yokowacho area is the best option for you. Enjoy the splendors of Yokowa-zakura (cherry blossoms) from the end of March.


  • Name: Yokowa Zakura
  • Address: Yokowacho, Ise City, Mie Prefecture

12. Dazzling Magic of Pearls at Mikimoto Pearl Island:

Pearl is something so much beautiful that there wouldn’t be anyone who does not admire its beauty. And so Kokichi Mikimoto created a dazzling island for cultured pearls. Visiting this island will let you know about the production of these cultured pearls. For more information, you can visit a museum that showcases a collection of pearls. If you want to make a wish, just go the center of the island where a small shrine is there and you can make a wish upon the shell there.


  • Name: Mikimoto Pearl Island
  • Address: 1-7-1 Toba, Toba 517-8511 , Mie Prefecture
  • Phone: +81-599-25-2028
  • Access: A 5-minute walk from JR/Kintetsu Toba Station (one hour and 40 minutes from JR/Kintetsu Nagoya Station)
  • Opening hour: 8:30 hours
  • Closing hour: 17:30 hours
  • Website: http://www.mikimoto-pearl-museum.co.jp/

13. Taste the Delicious Akafuku Mochi:

Being 300 years old confectionery shop, Akafuku was started as a tea house serving the people who came to visit Ise Shrine. But expanding their services, now the shop is famous for its delicious Mochi that is a rice cake topped with sweet bean paste. Besides Akafuku, their seasonal treats like Kakigori and  Zenzai are also quite delicious and famous.


  • Name: Akafuku
  • Address: 26 Uji Nakanokiri-cho, Ise City, Mie Prefecture
  • Phone: +81- 596-22-7000
  • Access: By train: From Tokyo to Nagoya station (about 2 hours) | By Car: From Tokyo – ‘Tomei Highway’ to Ise Highway –  Higashi – Meghan Motorway
  • Website: http://www.akafuku.co.jp/

14. Expeditious Cruise to Dolphin Island:

Now it is the time to get mesmerized with the adventurous cruise trip on a castle shaped Ferry. This ferry will take you on a cruise around Toba Bay where you will then stop by at Dolphin Island. As the name implies, the island has dolphins and sea lion shows. Besides this, the visitors can swim and have fun with water sports activities like snorkeling or fishing.


  • Name: Dolphin island
  • Address: Ohamacho, Toba 517-0015, Mie Prefecture
  • Phone: +81 599253147
  • Price: 1,800 JPY (Adults)
  • Access: Approx. 10 minutes walk from Toba station
  • Opening hour: 9:00 hours
  • Closing hour: 16:00 hours
  • Website: http://shima-marineleisure.com/

15. Extend Your Visit to See Toba Aquarium:

Just near to Ise city is the magnificent city of Toba. So you must extend your trip to visit Toba Aquarium that is located on the edge of a sea in Mie Prefecture (in Toba city). About 30,000 marine animals from 1200 species are preserved in this aquarium making it as the biggest aquarium in Japan. The entire aquarium is divided into 12 zones including the sections for Marine Mammal, Living Fossils, Mermaid Sea etc.


  • Name: Toba Aquarium
  • Address: 3-3-6 Toba, Toba 517-8517, Mie Prefecture
  • Phone: +81 599-25-2555
  • Price: 2,500 JPY (Adults)
  • Access: 10 minutes walk from Toba Station
  • Opening hour: 9:00 hours
  • Closing hour: 17:00 hours
  • Holiday: None
  • Website: http://www.aquarium.co.jp/

With so many attractions and interesting activities, Ise City is literally a heaven for fun and adventure enthusiasts. here, you will have an opportunity to explore history, culture, traditions, nature, modern art and everything. So, get ready for an adventurous trip to Ise.

Have a good trip and travel!