A Complete Guide to Iseshima's Highlights: Enjoy Mountains and the Ocean!
9 Aug 2021
Numerous islands dot the beautiful blue ocean and give rise to the intricate beauty of the coastline. Ise-Shima National Park is the premier spot for nature in Kansai. With highlights such as Ise Jingu and its 2,000-year plus history, as well as must-eat, deliciously fresh seafood, you have to check out Iseshima!
What Is Ise-Shima National Park?
Ise-Shima National Park is an extensive national park found in Mie Prefecture, which is to the south of honshu (Japan's main island). The Shima Peninsula and its many surrounding islands are included in the park, which is nearly 60,000 hectares in size. Its main attractions are divided into two categories: the inland area at the center of which resides the 2000-year-old Ise Jingu, and the seaside area with a complex yet beautiful rias coastline and its inlets. A warm current known as the Kuroshio Current flows just off the coast, giving rise to abundant seafood and a warm climate. The area is about a 2-hour train ride from Kyoto or Osaka, and the Kintetsu Limited Express is a convenient way to get there.
What to Do in Ise-Shima?
1. Ise Jingu
Ise Jingu boasts a nearly 2,000-year history as the center of worship for those who revered the sun as a deity and is one of Japan's most recognizable shrines. Ise Jingu is comprised of 125 Ise shrines, many of which can be found within Ise-Shima National Park. Those who wish to visit Ise Jingu should begin from Geku, which is located near the train station. Next, it is recommended to visit Naiku, which is about a 20-minute bus ride from Geku. Okage Yokocho, found on the road leading up to the inner shrine, has 50 different souvenir shops and restaurants to choose from. The classic townscape is beautiful, so make sure to take a few commemorative photos while you do your shopping!
2. Meoto Iwa (Wedded Rocks)
Meoto Iwa, known in English as the Wedded Rocks, is a pair of stones—large and small—rising up from the sea that look just like a married couple. The two rocks are adored as symbols of love for couples and lovers, as well as for being a symbol of marriage. If you come to view the rocks, then you have to go in the morning! From May to July, you can see the morning sun rising right between the two stones. Nearby is Ise Meotoiwa Meoto Yokocho, a shopping center with plenty of souvenir shops and restaurants. Be sure to drop by!
【Facility Name】 Meoto Iwa (Wedded Rocks)
【Opening Hours】 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
【Days Closed】 None
"Visit ISESHIMA" Bureau Official Homepage
KANSAI Tourism Bureau Official Homepage
【Address】 Futamichoe, Ise-shi, Mie
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap
3. Ria Coast
The charm of Ise-Shima National Park is the beauty found right on its coastline. This intricate coastline is known as a ria, a former river valley now submerged by the ocean which gives rise to a unique landscape. Among all the spots within Iseshima, Agowan is most scenic. Also, be sure to visit the Yokoyama Observatory! A visitor center is located below the observatory where a popular accessory crafting activity with pearls is available.
4. Toba Observatory
Toba Observatory is a prime viewing spot offering breathtaking views of Iseshima's beautiful beaches. This observatory is located nearly 163 meters above sea level, granting visitors a vast and dynamic view. It is especially gorgeous in the morning when the sun comes up on the horizon, painting the sea orange. A souvenir shop and restaurant are also attached to the observatory. Don't miss out on the Ochiyama Soft-Serve Ice Cream (310 JPY (incl. tax)) that is full of milky flavor!
Must-Try Dishes When You Visit Iseshima
If it's Iseshima food you want, look no further than fresh seafood! Awabi (abalone), well-known as a high-end ingredient, is a must-try. Eat this top-class dish as sashimi or as a seafood steak! Ise's waters are one of the biggest production spots in Japan for Ise shrimp that are named after the local area. Enjoy shopping, eating, and souvenir hunting at Roadside Station Iseshima among other local stores!
【Facility Name】 Roadside Station Iseshima
【Opening Hours】 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
【Days Closed】 None
【URL】 "Visit ISESHIMA" Bureau Official Homepage (Japanese only)
【Address】 Roadside Station Iseshima, 511-5 Anakawa, Isebo-cho, Shima-shi, Mie
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap
Iseshima is blessed with nature, history, mountains, and oceans, meaning there's more to it than the places listed in this article! Enjoy a relaxing time in the area and find what appeals to you most in Iseshima.