Gourmet Mie Day 2 – Divine Ise and Matsusaka beef(Article created by Cheeserland)

Gourmet Mie Day 2 –  Divine Ise and Matsusaka beef(Article created by Cheeserland)

Read my Day 1 blog post here about abalone feast at Shima Peninsula.

Mie Prefecture is blessed with the abundance of both treasures from the ocean and land. In my previous post we have had (actually just me, but it could soon be your experience if you allow yourself to! Hehe.) glorious abalone and other assorted seafood in the Shima region, today I’m bringing you to explore the crème de la crème of beef – Matsusaka from its namesake city.

But first, let’s pick up where we left in the previous post and start with a great lookout point in Shima region.

I was told that it taste very very different from any udon served elsewhere in Japan, and when I received the bowl of piping hot noodle, I thought, oh my goodness, isn’t this loh shee fun??

Ise Udon’s texture is… unlike Sanuki from Kagawa that has an al dente chewy texture or Inaniwa from Akita that’s smooth and bouncy, Ise udon was… airy? Fluffy? Oh my god I don’t even know how to describe it. It is indeed very, very different, especially served in a thick soy broth that resembles our Malaysian/Singaporean version of black soy sauce.


Akafuku is mandatory, and even if you don’t buy it here you can get it at most of other souvenir shops or even at train stations or even outside of Mie, because it is that popular.

However, there probably isn’t another place that serves Akafuku-Gori!

The shaved ice is drizzled with rich matcha syrup, and as you dig into the featherlike snowflakes, you will find the hunted treasure – Akafuku red bean paste.

Shinon Daiko

Shinon Daiko
I write this specially for myself. Haha.

Located just next to Fukusuke Ise Udon is a small event space, and there comes my favorite performance – Taiko drum show.

The performance expresses gratitude to the gods for prosperity and abundance of the town. It was mesmerizing. I love taiko. So much.
If you don’t wanna miss the taiko performance, do make sure you come by Oharai-machi during weekends.

Matsusaka City

We are moving on to another city – Matsusaka.

Only 15 minutes away by Kintetsu’s express train from Ujiyamada Station, Matsusaka is the perfect location to visit before or after Ise Jingu’s pilgrimage.

Anyway, no matter where you come from, I am making Matsusaka a compulsory stop on your itinerary, because… we are feasting again!

Gojouban Yashiki

Our first stop in Matsusaka is Gojouban Yashiki, an old town of samurai residences who guarded the Matsusaka Castle, preserved by its descendants until today.

But first, we are going to cosplay a little.

Matsusaka Momen – an Indigo-dyed cotton was sold by Matsusaka merchants in the Edo period. Check out Utsukushiya, an old storehouse converted into a traditional guest house where you can stay the night at, or simply rent an indigo cottom kimono to stroll around the old town for extra Insta points.

Walking down the Gojouban Yashiki lane in my pick of indigo cotton kimono. It’s exceptionally comfy by the way!

This is the view from Matsusaka Castle Ruins, overlooking the original residence of samurai, built in the year of 1863.

The story of how these samurai settled in Matsusaka was a heartwarming one. Originally, they served the great Tokugawa family in Kishu (now Wakayama), but one day they were ordered to serve a different master. However their loyalty to the Tokugawa was the life for them that they chose to give up their samurai status altogether, and were unemployed for 6 years.

For the whole 6 years they pleaded to be allowed back to work for the Tokugawa family, and finally they were given the duty of guarding the Matsusaka castle.

So incredibly neat with perfectly maintained hedge along the stone pavement. These houses are very rare as the descendants of the samurai still live in these houses, making them “living samura houses”. These residences have been designated as National Important Cultural Properties.

I was told that spring time is also popular as there are quite a few cherry blossom here so people are free to host BBQ or picnic sessions. While hanami‘ing.

Former Hasegawa Residence

Matsusaka is home to many affluent merchant families who made big names in Edo (Tokyo) trading all sorts of goods. The world-famous Mitsui conglomerate’s birthplace is right here, Matsusaka

I visited the Hasegawa former residence, a successful merchant who traded cotton in Edo.

Most parts of the residence is preserved by its family as it was.

The residence was so massive I was wondering how many people were living here. There was also rice pots that looked like it could serve a whole village.

Just like many rich families, the residence also features a beautiful Japanese garden.

Can you imagine having this at your back yard?

And your very own shrine? This is bliss.

Tourist attractions covered by this article