Pearls with elegant luster

Pearls with elegant luster

Walk the Magose pass on the Kumano Kodo trail

Walk the Magose pass on the Kumano Kodo trail

Situated roughly halfway along the Japanese archipelago on the Pacific Ocean side, Mie Prefecture can be reached in less than two hours or so by limited express train from Kyoto, Osaka, or Nagoya. There are five main regions in Mie Prefecture:

(1) Hokusei—the location of Seki-juku, a former Tokaido post town
(2) Iga—the birthplace of the Iga school of ninjutsu
(3) Chunansei—an area where Matsusaka beef is produced
(4) Ise-Shima—home to the ancient Ise Grand Shrine
(5) Higashikishu—the location of the World Heritage-listed Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail.

Here we would like to introduce you to a recommended course full of exclusive experiences where you can feel the 'heart of Japan' through its long-standing historical culture and rich nature rooted in Mie.

Authentic Iga ninja experience

Hokusei and Iga
This region is steeped in history and culture, including the nostalgic Edo-period streetscapes of Seki-juku, one of the 53 post stations of the Tokaido road. In the city of Iga, the birthplace of the Iga school of ninjutsu, you can learn all about ninja mainly be trying some of the tricks at a ninja house and throwing shuriken. Also, the traditional craft of Iga ware pottery, which is known for its distinctive earthy texture and heat resistance and heat retention properties, has a long history as one of the key industries in the region.

In addition to some historically significant sights like the ruins of Matsusaka Castle, where magnificent stone walls still remain, and the national historic site of the Saiku Palace, this region is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, including the Miya River, one of Japan's most pristine waterways, the Osugidani, one of Japan's three most beautiful valleys, and the scenic gorge of Kahada on the Kushida River. Owing to the crystal-clear waters of its rivers, green tea is also cultivated in the area. Plus, this region produces melt-in-your-mouth marbled Matsusaka beef—often referred to as an “artwork of meat.”

Lunch in an abundance of natural beauty

Special dinner on private beach

Ago Bay in the city of Shima is one Japan’s most well-known ria coastlines. A ria is a drowned river valley that remains open to the sea, which is why the scenic coastline of the bay is so intricately meandering and dotted with around 60 islands of different sizes. It is also known for its pearl farming. Being blessed with the fresh bounties of the sea, since ancient times the area has been called umashikuni, which literally translates to “delicious country.” And the traditional culture of mainly female ama divers, who free dive for seafood, still thrives today in this region.

Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kumano Kodo is an ancient pilgrimage route to the Ise Grand Shrine, connecting Kumano with Ise, Wakayama, and other areas. Travelers on the route can immerse themselves in both history and nature. And there are numerous magnificent sights of natural beauty to admire along the way, such as the unusually shaped rock formations sculpted by the rough waves of the Kumano Sea, including Onigajo (demon’s castle), Shishi-iwa (lion rock), and the Tategasaki rock face. Other highlights include the Maruyama Senmaida rice terraces, one of Japan's top 100 terraced rice fields.

Trekking through spiritual Iwayado

Seki-cho in the northern area of Mie Prefecture

Transfer by private car from Nagoya to Seki-cho in the northern area of Mie Prefecture.

◆ Experience indigo dyeing and fermented tea at a traditional kominka house in an old post town along the Tokaido Road, which has a history spanning 1300 years.

Lunch at Seki-juku
In the afternoon, transfer to Iga, home of ninjas and Iga pottery.     

◆ Visit a kiln with a 200-year history of Iga pottery, observe climbing kilns, and tour the “noborigama” ascending kiln and enjoy a bowl of rice freshly steamed in a fire-resistant “donabe" earthenware pot.


◆ For ninja-lovers, be sure to try an authentic ninja experience that even adults can enjoy.

Accommodation Iga-Ueno
Chusei, the central area of Mie

Transfer by private car to Chusei, the central area of Mie.

◆Experience a traditional "chaji" Japanese tea ceremony, touching the origin of Japanese hospitality, Omotenashi.

◆Cycling through the beautiful satoyama countryside and savor Matsusaka beef, a specialty of this area.

In the afternoon, move to the Ise area. 

Visit Ise Grand Shrine and don’t forget to do some souvenir shopping at Oharai-machi and Okage Yokocho.     

◆Enjoy a dinner of finest oven-baked steak paired with local-made wine at the only microwinery in Ise.

Accommodation Ise

Transfer by private car to Ise-Shima.

◆ In Shima, Japan's leading pearl-producing region, experience extracting pearls to make your very own pearl accessory, which you can take home as a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

◆ Enjoy a special dinner made with freshly caught ingredients on a private beach hosted by female divers, Ama.

Accommodation Ise-Shima

Transfer by private car to Higashikishu.

◆Visit the only swordsmith workshop in Mie Prefecture and experience making a small sword.

◆Walk the Kumano Kodo wearing traditional attire from centuries ago at a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, Magose Pass.

Transfer by private car to Wakayama or Osaka.


For more detailed information about the programs included in this tour, please access the following: