“[Ise] is a secluded and pleasant land. In this land I wish to dwell.”
—Amaterasu (as legend goes)
Located in the middle of Mie prefecture, Ise-Shima is the perfect starting point for many adventures.
Ise’s claim to fame is the Ise Grand Shrine, the most important Shinto shrine and home of the sun goddess, Amaterasu! Within the inner shrine is a lovely forested garden, and leading up to the shrine are old-fashioned shopping streets packed with souvenir shops and food vendors. Thanks to the Grand Shrine, there many trains going in and out of the city. Nagoya, Nara, Osaka, and Kyoto are all easily accessible from Ise station and are great for day/weekend trips!
In the spring, cherry blossom trees along the Miyagawa river burst into bloom, and streets in Futami are lined with displays for Hina-matsuri. Every summer, Ise city comes alive with the Takayanagi night markets and Ise Matsuri.
East of Ise is the Toba seaside. Next to the water are small shops selling fresh, local seafood. Sight-seeing ships are always cruising around the bay, and you can see the sunset from the many local onsens. Best of all is the Toba Aquarium, number one in diversity among Japanese aquariums—over 1,200 different species are housed!
Down in Shima, you’ll find a number of beautiful beaches and hiking trails, along with Shima Spain Village, an amusement park complete with Spanish-inspired architecture and flamenco shows. From the top of Mt. Yokoyama or the Daio Lighthouse, you can get a complete view of the beautiful Ago Bay or look over the vast Pacific Ocean. Shima also has its own lively festivals in the summer, celebrating nature and harvests.
Nestled away in the Japanese countryside, most of Ise-Shima is fairly rural. Life here is relaxing and quiet, and you’ll find yourself among welcoming locals, fantastic food, and beautiful scenery. Top it off with a mild climate, and overall it’s a great place to call home!
Regional Advisor for the Ise Shima Region
Hello~! I’m Kathy, a third-year JET living in Ise. I’m from sunny San Diego, California, where I studied computing and art.
I love music, art, traveling, and food, and I’m a sucker for plants and animals. I’ve been to over half the prefectures in Japan, so if you have any travel questions, I’m your gal. I also know all the best places for food in town, so let’s go out to eat sometime!
Feel free to hit me up if you need anything. I can’t wait to see you!