Travel Reports

Adventure in Mie-ken

By Jason Chan. Posted on March 1, 2013

Today, I traveled to Mie for the first time. We took the train called “Kintetsu.” At first, I thought Kintetsu, Meitetsu and Shinkansen were all part of the JR company. However, they are all separate companies.

Afterwards, went on a train with an upper and lower floor. I never thought a train could have two floors. So I was a little surprised. Then I got in the seat and started realizing the interior is very different from the Shinkansen.

Then we arrived at Ujiyamada Station, and the first thing that caught my eye was a beautifully painted CAN Bus. It was colorful with marine animals on it. It gave me the urge to go to the aquarium right away. However, we took another bus to Ise Jingu instead.

We arrived at the gate of Naiku, and because we had qualified tour guide, I learned more about the traditions and history of the most important shrine in Japan. One thing that surprised me was hearing there are 140 shrines in Ise Jingu.

Next, we went to Okage Yokocho. There were many specialty shops that interested me, such as the food stores that sell tempura, sake, and Akafuku rice cake.

Afterwards, we saw a performance of kamishibai, which was a traditional entertainment in the Edo era consisting of slide shows resembling anime. For an anime fan, it was a good fact to know that we were attracted by the taiko drum performance. They did it for blessings from some gods and goddesses.

At the ninja village, Ise Azuchi Momoyama Bunkamura, we conquered “Azuchi Momoyama” castle. The top floor of the castle was really interesting, because everything was gold-plated and shiny. Under the golden room was a floor which tourists could go outside and enjoy the beautiful view of Ise and the bay. It resembled the views I saw from Inuyama castle, but it was totally different.

Inside the ninja village, there were various unique theme houses, such as haunted house, ninja house, and monster house. It was fun for both children and adults, but children will enjoy it the most.

Next stop is the resort hotel where we stayed the night. Nemu no Sato brought many surprises. First of all, the services from the employees were incredible. Secondly, the facilities offered were simply mind-blowing.

They have one of the best golf courses in Chubu, and even major world tournament events have been held there. The campus was huge - from the entrance to the main hotel building took 10 – 15 minutes by car.

This resort offered many activities. A particular one that caught my attention was archery, since it is not a common sport and also it is not common activity offered by other resorts. I believe many people are curious about it and would like to give it a try.

Next, this resort offered two onsen locations, and both of them had indoor and outdoor pools. However, only the farther and larger one had a sauna room and cold-water pool. When I entered my room, I was amazed because there was a 5-tatami room inside the Western hotel room. It was like a fusion-style room, and it was large and comfortable.
Later, I learned the room I stayed at was the standard room that resort offered. Now, I wonder how big the president’s suite must be.

Our first activity of day two was to visit Mikimoto Pearl Island (Shinju Shima). It was really nice of the staff to offer special seats for foreign visitors to enjoy the Ama-san diving performances.

After that, we had a tour at the Pearl Museum and learned how pearls are made. It was quite interesting. Then we enjoyed a nice seafood lunch accompanied by a great ocean view on the second floor. Lastly, we learned the story of Kokichi Mikimoto, the founder of the company, and how he became a successful man.

The last event of the day was the Toba Aquarium. It was big and it had some attractive features, such as dugong and dolphins.

One that surprised me was giant isopod. It is an insect looking creature that can go without eating for 4 years and still survive. However, there are so many unknown aspects of them, such as their age, size at birth, life expectancy and so on.

Overall, the aquarium wasn’t a disappointment, because of its size and its many species of marine life, including endangered species.

This concludes my Mie adventures for this weekend. I can’t wait to go on another adventure. I also hope the next person who visits Mie will have a wonderful time like I did.

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Jason Chan

Jason Chan is an exchange student from Toronto, Canada. He majors in Human Resources Management. However, in Japan he studies the Japanese language and culture. Travel has always been his interest, and he enjoys talking to people with a different culture and discovering interesting things. One of the reasons he chose Japan as his host country is because of their politeness, culture and their creativity in merchandise.

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