While often overlooked due to its more popular neighbors like Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya, Mie prefecture offers a unique cultural experience for those who visit. Be sure to make at least a quick stop to this prefecture if you are interested in delicious beef, Ninjas, or experiencing one of Japan’s oldest Shinto Shrines.
Mie Prefecture, originally made of four different provinces, is situated in the area of Japan most notable for its older architecture and history. It is home to the Ise Shrine, a site considered one of the most holy Shinto shrines of Japan. The shrine itself is known to hold the “Yata no Kagami”, a holy mirror that is said to be forged by a Shinto God, and is one of the three imperial regalia of Japan (including the holy sword and jewel). Ise Shrine is dedicated to Amaterasu, the Shinto Goddess of the Sun. Other religious sites include Meoto-iwa, a pair of rocky outcroppings in the sea celebrating the union of marriage, and the Kumano Kodo, a series of ancient roads used for pilgrimage.
Feeling hungry? Mie is also home to a wide variety of foods. Love seafood? No problem. The Ise Lobster is known in Japan to be one of the best types of lobster in the country. Want some meat? Matsusaka Beef is also a very famous internationally for its high fat-to-meet ratio. Have a sweet tooth? Akafuku is a variety of mochi with sweet bean paste, only sold in Mie prefecture. And this is just scratching the surface.
For those who wish to experience traditional culture first-hand, Mie is also a perfect fit. Supposedly, Mie is the birthplace of the Ninja, and is home to the Iga-ryu Ueno Ninja Museum. Here, you can experience being a ninja, as well as learn about the traditions and history behind it provided with models and weapons. They also provide a live ninja show for entertainment!
Tired of the crowdedness of Kyoto and Osaka? Mie has miles of quiet, beautiful coastline to explore, with picturesque cliffs and islands and a variety of national parks. In fact, 35% of the prefecture is made of national parks!