Tekone Sushi

The local cuisine is said to be originated as a food for fishermen, who prepare the sushi with soy sauce flavored vinegar rice, bonito fish, herbs, and mix them by hand. Nowadays Tekone Sushi can be found in many local restaurants.

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Ise Udon

Distinguished by its thick handmade noodles in black broth, Ise udon was said to be originally prepared as an easily digestible dish for worshippers who travel long distances to the Grand Shrine of Ise. The black soup is made with rich concentrated black soy sauce and Japanese cooking sake. To enjoy this simple goodness, toss in the chopped spring onions and mix well with a dash of red pepper.

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Abalone

Also known as king of the sea, abalones are offered in dried form as one of the sacred delicacies to the deities at the Grand Shrine of Ise. Abalones have been always considered the prize catch of Ama, traditional female divers who are responsible for the region’s main supply of seafood products as they dive daily into the waters with simply a basket and a weighted belt. Abalones are most abundantly available from May to September in this region.

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Oysters

Blessed with plankton-rich waters and excellent climate, Toba-Shima is famed for its oysters and has developed its own brand called Matoya. Matoya oysters are a special breed of oysters that have been successfully cultivated using a patented method of sterilizing the sea water with UV rays. Hence, these bacteria-free oysters are safe for raw consumption. The best season to savor the delicacies is from October to April. Besides restaurants which serve multi-course set cuisine focusing on oysters, there are many outdoor spots in Uramura Town of Toba City, where one can feast on the freshest oysters.

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Ise Spiny Lobster

Caught between October and April, these spiny lobsters are another indulging delight from the waters of the Shima Peninsula. With its trailing “whiskers” and long life span, Ise lobsters are commonly consumed as a symbol of longevity in Osechi Ryori, lavish multi-tiered boxes of cuisine available during New Year. Apart from grilling or broiling, one of the best ways to savor the freshness is to have it as sashimi. But regardless of which ways you prefer, they are bound to leave a lingering sweet memory on your trip.

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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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