Fully enjoying Ama divers’ hometown “Pearl Farm Visit & Making traditional Japanese Sandals” - Learn About Akoya Oyster Farming and Make Beautiful Pearl Keepsakes

Fully enjoying Ama divers’ hometown “Pearl Farm Visit & Making traditional Japanese Sandals” -  Learn About Akoya Oyster Farming and Make Beautiful Pearl Keepsakes

Ise-shima is home to the Japanese cultured pearl industry that was started by Kokichi Mikimoto at the end of the 19th century. The spectacular coastal waters of Mie near Ise-Shima are dotted with islands that provide a perfect environment for the numerous Akoya oyster farms operating in the area today. Participants in the Fully enjoying Ama divers’ hometown “ Pearl Farm Visit & Making traditional Japanese Sandals ” experience will learn about traditional harvesting and make their own accessories using the luminous pearls. This experience is available April to December and costs ¥25,000-34,000 per person, depending on the group size. The start time is 1:00 PM and the entire experience takes about four hours.

Yamaoka-san pulled up some mature Akoya oysters that were about the size of the palm of my hand, which indicates that they are the proper age for pearl harvesting. I was very interested in seeing how the pearls were extracted. She gave me a quick demonstration of how to pop an oyster open with a flat blade and then handed me a knife and oyster to get started. 

Caption: The mature oysters fit into the palm of your hand.

It was a pretty simple process and I was pleased to see a gorgeous pearl come out of one of my oysters. Yamaoka-san showed me the pearl and explained that I was very lucky to have found one that was a perfect sphere. She explained that if the pearl is misshapen, it might not be usable for jewellery or other purposes.

Caption: I was able to quickly learn the proper oyster opening technique.

I asked if the Akoya oyster meat that had contained the pearl was okay to eat. My host smiled brightly and told me to go ahead and try it. Without hesitation, I popped some of the meat from the shell into my mouth and was impressed with the clean taste and firm texture. It is considered to have a similar texture to abalone. I really love fresh seafood and this was as fresh as it gets. This treat was definitely an unexpected bonus on the tour.

Caption: The fresh oyster was a tasty treat.

Next, we cleaned my pearl with some salt and then went into the building to make an accessory that I could take home. Pearl Miki had a wonderful set-up inside the building for making accessories. The walls were adorned with interesting information about pearls and many photos of past visitors to the area. There was also a large selection of premade jewellery available for purchase.

Caption: I inspected my perfectly round pearl with pride.

I decided to make a necklace with the pearl I had just pulled from the oyster. The necklace would be a gift for my four-year-old daughter and I knew she would love it. I chose a silver chain and Yamaoka-san guided me through the process of preparing the pearl and gluing it onto the heart shaped pendant. Once the necklace was complete, it just needed some time for the glue to set.

Caption: Yamaoka-san prepared my pearl for attachment to the pendant.

Caption: I made a necklace with my pearl as a souvenir for my daughter.  

While I was waiting for my pearl to set on the necklace, Yamaoka-san and my guide gave me a tour of the accessory shop and some background on some of the photos on the walls. When my necklace was ready, it was perfect and I couldn’t wait to take it home to give my daughter. I thanked Yamaoka-san for her warm hospitality and help with making the day an unforgettable experience. 

Caption: It was a wonderful pearl experience with Yamaoka-san.

This tour package offers other experiences as well and visitors have the opportunity to make different accessories. One of the most popular items that visitors can make is traditional igusa zori (Japanese straw sandals). If you choose this tour package, you will make the sandals after the boat tour. These beautiful sandals are made from the same straw used to make tatami mats and are a wonderful souvenir to take with you from your time in Mie.

If you are looking to see the natural beauty of Ise-Shima, learn about the local pearl industry and make your own souvenirs to keep as a memento, this tour package is a great option. 




Pearl Miki



Ise Shima Tourism



email: tourism@iseshima-t.com

About 4 hours
- Starts at 1:00 PM

<Operating Times>
April to December

Per Person (excluding tax)
- ¥26,000 (group of 2)
- ¥22,000 (group of 3/4)
- ¥20,000 (group of 5/6)
- Price includes: boat fee, pearl removal experience fee, rush sandals making experience fee, insurance and interpretation fees

<Tour size>
- 2-10 people

<Meeting Time and Place>
1:00 PM
Kashikojima Station

<Access to Kashikojima Station>
From Tokyo
- About 4 hours by train 
- About 6 hours by car

From Osaka
- About 3 hours by train
- About 3 hours by car

From Nagoya
- About 2 hours by train 
- About 2 hours by car

Tourist attractions covered by this article