Written by Bonnie Chow
-Table of Contents -
・The Magic of Pearl Road
・Gourmet Barbecue Buffet Lunch at Matchan Shokudo
・Shinmei Shrine in Ousatsu-cho
・Teatime at an Ama Hut
The Magic of Pearl Road
If you are planning to spend a morning in Ise City to visit Ise Jingu, instead of taking the train from Ise station to Toba why not rent a car and drive to Toba? From Ise to Toba, there is a 16.3km toll road called Ise Shima Skyline where you can overlook the beautiful coastline and small islands. Better yet avoid the tolls and take a drive on Pearl Road.
There are numerous spots along Pearl Road with excellent scenery and they are all dotted with great rest stops. At the start of Pearl Road, we saw one of ten scenic views in Toba: Ounoura Bridge, which connects the Imaura and Motoura areas. The white bridge, the blue sky, and the lush green mountains combine to create a wonderfully contrasting color. The rafts floating near the bridge are used to cultivate oysters for pearl production in this area.
Gourmet Barbecue Buffet Lunch at Matchan Shokudo
The all-you-can-eat buffet for adults starts at ¥3,480 (add ¥500 for drinks), and the course lasts for 150 minutes so you can eat your fill. Be aware that starting January 5, 2024, the restaurant has announced that due to rising costs prices will be increasing (¥4,400 to eat and drink). Seafood such as clams, oysters, scallops, and shells from the Ise Shima area are extremely fresh and delicious and were a highlight of our road trip!
Standing here feels like you are on the same level as the clouds in the distance. Toba Observatory is also a famous spot for watching the sunrise and painting the sea orange. If conditions are right, you may see Mt. Fuji in the distance! From this spot, you even have a clear view of Pearl Road.
Shinmei Jinja Shrine in Ousatsu-cho
Time to get off Pearl Road and head to Ousatsu, a small fishing village where Ama divers live. With all the rich seafood in the sea, the Ama profession is historically important to the Ise Shima area. Ama are women divers who catch seafood to earn a living. It is believed that women diving in the ocean to catch shellfish started more than 2,000 years ago. Even now, Ama divers work diligently catching abalone and seaweed.
Since ancient times, local divers have visited Shinmei Jinja Shrine (aka Ishigami-san) to pray for good catches and safety. Ishigami-san is enshrined at Shinmei Jinja Shrine. She grants women’s wishes and has become famous recently attracting worshippers from all over the world, and the shrine often goes by the name of the goddess as well. It was a great spot for us to drop by and pray.