Ama History and Culture

Traditional female divers known as Ama are not only found in Toba and Shima in Mie Prefecture but the diving culture is the most vibrant there. Those ladies are famous for plunging into the chilly waters with barely any professional diving equipment—just a mask and a weight belt to aid their descent. They do not only hunt for oysters, but also a variety of seafood from sea urchins to abalones. Ama huts, a common sight along the coasts, are shelters where the divers gather and relax before or after their work. Learn more about this declining Ama culture at Toba Sea Folk Museum, which houses skin-diving artifacts dating back 10,000

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Jingu and the Gods

Amaterasu Omikami, the ancestor of the Emperor of Japan used to be worship together with sacred mirror in the Imperial palace. However, due to an epidemic and severe famine that occurred during the era of the 10th emperor, the sacred mirror was shifted outside of the palace to a special place by the banks of Isuzugawa River, which is currently the main sanctuary of Kotaijingu (Naiku). During the ruling of the 21st emperor, another revelation from Amaterasu Omikami prompted the shift of Toyouke no Omikami, the provider of sacred foods and the guardian of industry and food, to Geku. Every 20 years, Amaterasu-Omikami and the other deities are relocated to

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Island Life~Toshi, Sugashima, Kamishima, Sakate

Take a short getaway via boats to the four offshore islands of Toba city for a breath of fresh air, magnificent hilltop fortresses and translucent waters. The traditional Japanese fishing culture continue to thrive vibrantly in these offshore islands and you can still feel the charm of local culture. Traditional fishing industries continue to operate and visitors may even witness the loading of fresh seafood onto the port or savor delicious marine catch at any of the local restaurants. Toushijima, the biggest island out of the four, is the site that rests the soul of Kuki Yoshitaka, a powerful naval commander of Oda Nobunaga during the warring period. One of the

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Ama Huts

Delve into Ise’s anciently female tradition as one engages in an open-hearted conversation with the Ama, traditional female divers who have been fishing the local waters for thousands of years in Toba and Shima region. They usually gather at their humble buildings to eat and chat before, as well as after, their daily ocean dives. Each visit to an Ama hut lasts at least an hour and visitors can enjoy the delicacies grilled by Ama over a charcoal fire. Depending on the season, the seafood can range from shellfish to the most prized abalone. But nothing beats the opportunity to hear the personal experience of each diver who has dedicated a significant part of her

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Ryokan

Slip off your shoes and enter a world that is entirely Japanese at traditional Japanese inns. With tatami rooms framed in heavy wooden beams and an overall architecture style reminiscent of Edo-period, some ryokans evoke a more rustic charm than others. Nonetheless, most of them are equipped with modern features and hot spring facilities where one can enjoy a moment of peace and retreat from the tensions of the external world.

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Hotels

Enjoy a luxurious stay at hotels which offer spectacular views. Some, like the Toba International Hotel and Shima Kanko Hotel, provide the choice of Japanese or Western rooms. Shuttle bus services from hotels to the nearest stations are usually available. The superior services and sincere hospitality at the hotels are bound to exceed guests’ expectations.

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5 things you should know about Matsusaka beef

1. Matsusaka beef ranks as one of the Japan top three Wagyu (among Kobe and Ohmi beef) 2. Only virgin female cattle are raised and attentively cared for to become Matsusaka beef. 3. It is the highest valued beef in Japan. The cost for one heifer was a record-setting 50 million yen. 4. Due to its low melting point, Matsusaka beef has a superb “melt in your mouth” quality. 5. Matsusaka beef is considered healthy since it has a high ratio of unsaturated fatty acids. ~Experience Matsusaka beef properly by dining in Matsusaka~ With over 50 restaurants serving Matsusaka beef, you can enjoy it in various styles like sukiyaki, yakiniku,

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Accommodations

Slip off your shoes and enter a world that is entirely Japanese at traditional Japanese inns. With tatami rooms framed in heavy wooden beams and an overall architecture style reminiscent of Edo-period, some ryokans evoke a more rustic charm than others. Nonetheless, most of them are equipped with modern features and hot spring facilities where one can enjoy a moment of peace and retreat from the tensions of the external world. Enjoy a luxurious stay at the hotels which offer spectacular views. Some like the Toba International Hotel and Shima Kanko Hotel provide the choice of Japanese or Western rooms. Shuttle bus services from hotels to the nearest stations may

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