Experience Ise (Part 1)
Experience Ise (Part 1)
In the Mie prefecture there is a region called Ise that is famous amongst tourists for its unique traditional cityscapes and cultural sites. There are a bunch of beautiful shrines and natural landscapes. Ise can be easily accessed from Tokyo using the Tokaido Sanyo Shinkansen and takes about 3 hours and 40 minutes. First you will need to take the Shinkansen to Nagoya and then take the Kintetsu Railway to Iseshi Station.
The first place I would recommend going is a unique theme park called the Ise Azuchimomoyama Bunkamura which is located in the Futami area. Here you can experience what life was like in ancient Ise and you can experience the traditions. The most popular attraction at this theme park is the Ninja experience. You can learn a lot about Ise’s history and their Ninja culture. Not only can you learn about it, they also have Ninja costumes that you can try on and explore that park in. They have over 100 costumes available so you have a lot to choose from!
(picture source; http://travel.willer.co.jp/area/mie/ise/spot/index.php?dp=4)
Ten minutes away from the Ise Grand Shrine is the Sarutahiko Shrine where the God of studies Sarutahiko no Kami is worshipped. The shrine is visited by many students throughout the year to pray for good results on their tests and exams. When you visit this shrine, it is said that you should touch the Octagonal rock that is placed in front of the main shrine compound. This Octagonal rock is said to be a power spot in the shrine.
Another famous power spot in Ise is the Futamiokitama Shrine which is famous for the Meoto Iwa. This Meoto Iwa is the Husband and Wife rocks. These are unique rocks which you can see right from the shrine. These are two huge rocks that formed right next to each other so it looks as though they are married to each other. During the summer you can see a special sunrise that only occurs during the summer time. The summer season is the only time you can see the sun rise from in between the two rocks. To symbolize the importance of these rocks there is a Shinto Rope that is tied on the rocks.
If you want to try out Ise’s local food then I would recommend going to Okage Yokocho as this place is known for having some of the best food. There are tons of walk as you eat foods that you can find. Some of the most popular foods are the Mitarashi Dango and the Ise Oden. There is also a special Ise ssoft cream called the Ise Shoyu Honten. It may look like an ordinary soft cream but it is a vanilla and soy sauce flavoured ice cream. It may seem disgusting but the vanilla flavour actually goes really well with the soy sauce flavor.
There is a place right outside of the Ise Grand Shrine called Oharaicho Street where a lot of people like to have lunch after visiting the shrine. You can try a bunch of local specialties at Oharaicho Street. Some of the best seafood can be found at these restaurants because the seafood is caught from the local sea. If you are looking for some treats to try then Akafuku Mochi is a great place to go to try traditional Japanese sweets. Here they will serve sweet red bean paste that is wrapped around mochi.
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