The Ise-Shima, located in the Mie Prefecture is probably popular for its grand and holy shrines. However, there is much more to this city that just this. In Ise, you will get a dose of nature. So if you like living among the mountains and close to the coastal areas, this city is for you. There are tons of things to do in Ise. Here are the top 15 things to do in Ise:
1. Visit Ise Shrine
The Ise Shrine is dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu. This is simply known as Jingu and it is a complex shrine composed of two main shrines, Geku, and Naiku. It is a nice tourist spot but the shrines are new. You can pass through the river and cool down your feet. However, the main problem with the shrine is that it gets crowded at times. So you should probably visit it during the early hours of the day.
- Name: Ise Shrine
- Address: Ise 516-0023 , Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Website: http://www.isejingu.or.jp/foreign/
2. Visit Okage Yokocho
The Okage Yokocho was built in 1993 in the shrine town in Naigu. But this Okage Yoko Cho village is nothing like the old village because there are about 28 structures which have been rebuilt and relocated. These include food stores, museums and souvenir shops for the tourists and locals. It is an interesting place for strolling. You can buy an ice cream on a sunny day and stroll through the village.
- Name: Okage Yockocho
- Address: 52 Uji Nakanokiricho, Ise 516-8558, Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Website: http://www.okageyokocho.co.jp/english/englishA.html
3. Get Close to Nature by Visiting Meotoiwa
Meoto Iwa is two sacred rocks present in the Isa City. The larger rock represents the husband and the smaller rock represents the wife. These two rocks represent the division between earthly goods and the spiritual life. The rocks are great and a good tourist spot and they look even better during sunrise. So if you have some spare time, take a train from Nagoya to Futaminoura station and enjoy the view.
- Name: Meotoiwa
- Address: Futamichoe, Ise 519-0602, Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Website: http://www.oishiya.co.jp/english/attractions.html
4. Visit Sarutahiko Shrine
Knowing the fact that Ise is the city of shrines, why not visit another popular shrine, Sarutahiko shrine. This shrine is based on the leader of the earthly Kami who is a deity of Shinto religion. This is one of those places which is spiritual in the true sense. So if you are thinking of starting something new or you are at a turning point in your life, you should visit this place. The monks there are quite friendly and will show you the right way.
- Name: Sarutahiko Shrine
- Address: 2-1-10 Ujiurata, Ise 516-0026, Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Website: http://www.tsubakishrine.org/history/sarutahiko-o-kami.html
5. Visit Jingu Chokokan Museum
The Jingu Chokokan Museum is another worth visiting site in Ise. The museum was designate the status of important cultural property in 2011. Once you get into the museum, you should visit the magnificent building created by people due to the devotion towards emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. The museum staff and building are quite nice. The only problem is that none of the information is in English. But still, you should visit this place.
- Name: Jingu Shokokan Museum
- Address: 1754-1 Kodakushimotocho, Ise 516-0016, Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
6. Visit Tsukiyominomiya
Tsukiominmoiya shrine is a popular shrine in Ise. But despite its popularity, no one really knows when it was built because its existence dates are as early as 804. Within the shrine, there are 4 smaller shrines dedicated to the Japanese Mythology, like the goddess of sun, moon, brother and sister of the sun goddess. The shrine is a bit too quiet for some people. To reach the shrine, take a train to Isuzugawa Station and from there, walk 10 minutes to reach the shrine.
- Name: Tsukiyominomiya
- Address: 1-3-19, MIyajIrI, Ise, Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Website: http://www.isejingu.or.jp/naiku_3.html
7. Visit Mt. Asama
Mount Asama is a complex active volcano on the main island of Japan. The volcano is quite active in Honshu. An A rank scale has been classified to it by the Japan Meteorological station. The mountain looks beautiful on average days, but on snowy and rainy days, it is quite a brilliant spectacle to watch. Umbrellas are provided on rainy days. So you should visit the mountain.
- Name: Mt. Asama
- Address: Ise 516-0021, Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
8. Stroll through Orahai-machi
Oharai-Machi is quite a flourishing town in front of Ise Jingu. There are a number of shops in 800m of long pavement in this town. There are many restaurants, merchant shops and souvenir shops which the visitors can enjoy after visiting the shrine. There are a lot of restaurants nearby serving a variety of foods, from beef to snacks. It is a beautiful place recommended for food lovers.
- Name: Orahai-Machi
- Address: Uji Nakanokiri-cho/Uji Imazaike-cho, Ise 516-0026, Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Website: http://en.go-centraljapan.jp/place/detail_9.html
9. Visit Kongoshoji Temple
The Kongoshoji temple is another beautiful temple in Ise. As you enter the gates of the building, you would need to pay a parking ticket. The gold Buddha statue is right at the entrance. There is also a pond and bridge which are both signs of a good luck charm. In the main hall, the Fukuushi and Wisdom Tiger are important cultural assets. The inner shrine is also quite beautiful. So you should visit this shrine.
- Name: Kongoshoji temple
- Address: 548 Asamacho, Ise 516-0021, Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
10. Dine at Fukusuke
Fukusuke is a beautiful restaurant in Ise. It is located in Okage-Yokocho in front of Ise Jingu. The taste is really good and the meal is light. Special reservations can also be made at the restaurant. The spicy ramen is the special dish, which has the right amount of spice in it and is super tender. There is also a performance of Japanese drum team in front of the restaurant four times a day.
- Name: Fukusuke
- Address: 578 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur, CA 94939
- Opening hour: 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
- Website: http://nakamura-fukusuke.com/?lang=en
11. Visit Makonde Art Museum
As the name suggests, the Makonde Art Museum specializes in Makonde. The Makonde tribe people specialize in this art. The art is passed through generations from father to son. This museum is a rare museum collection of the Makonde sculpture. The sculpture is quite strong and has a folk manner. Special exhibitions are also held in the museum. So you should visit it.
- Name: Makonde Art Museum
- Address: 1799 Futamicho Matsushita, Ise 519-0601, Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
12. Eat Some Mochi at Akafuku
Akafuku was established back in 1707 as tea house to welcome the visitors of Ise Grand Shrine. The Akafuku mochi is a pounded rice cake having a sweet bean taste. You just can’t miss these cakes if you are in Ise. You may not be used to their sweetness, but you will find them quite yummy. The staff is also quite nice. The restaurant gives you a feeling of elegance and simplicity. So visit it.
- Name: Akafuku
- Address: 26 Uji Nakanokiri-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken, 516-0025
- Opening hour: 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Website: http://www.akafuku.co.jp/global/english/
13. Visit Ise Azuchi Momoyama Cultural Village
On your visit to Ise, you should also visit the Ise Azuchi Momoyama Cultural Village. This village mainly centers around the famous Azuchi Castle and amazing theme parks. The castle is just spectacular and has a gold covered roof. Travel back in time and witness dramas like “oiran” shows and ninja action. The parking is absolutely free in the village. You should visit the village during the weekends because, during weekdays, it’s kind of lonely.
- Name: Ise Azuchi Momoyama Cultural Village
- Address: 1201-1 Futamicho Mitsu, Ise 519-0603, Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Website: http://www.ise-bunkamura.co.jp/english.html
14. Dine at Tofuya
The Tofuya restaurant has spacious grounds and garden and gives a brilliant view of the Tokyo tower. The restaurant is actually a 200 years old brewery which was later moved. The restaurant prides itself in rich soy milk with a special broth. The atmosphere of the restaurant is also quite nice. However, it gets crowded during weekends. The restaurant is also present close to the Ise Shrine. So you should eat here.
- Name: Mr. Sasaki
- Address: 1-159 Ujiurata, Ise 516-0026, Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Website: http://www.ukai.co.jp/english/shiba/
15. Visit Ise Sea Paradise
The Ise Sea Paradise is nothing but fun. It might seem a bit old but still it’s quite fun. Among other animals, you can touch walrus, seals, and sea lions. The walrus and dolphin are quite friendly and you can touch them and shake hands with them too. The staff is quite courteous and helpful. It’s a great spot for children. So you should visit it.
- Name: Ise Sea Paradise
- Address: 580 Futamicho E, Ise 519-0602, Mie Prefecture
- Opening hour: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Website: http://www.seaparadise.co.jp/english/
Now you know the top things to do in Ise. Ise is a beautiful place to visit for both the Japanese locals and restaurants. It is known for its temples. These temples depict the true Japanese culture and have attracted many tourists from around the world. If this city doesn’t amaze you, then probably nothing in Japan will. So plan your next trip to Ise.
Have a good trip and travel!