Visit Japan - Mie
Mie, Japan - Gotta visit em’ all!
Mie is a a marvelous prefecture located in the Kansai Region that we'll be introducing to you today.
三重県 - Mie Prefecture
Ise Jingu is probably the most famous place in Mie. It is the most important Shinto Shrine, dedicated to 天照(Amaterasu), the Sun God. This shrine is so holy that the innermost part of the shrine, or where Amaterasu lives, is strictly restricted from the public, and only the roof of the shrine can be seen.
Ise Jingu is located in Ise, a town appropriately named 神都 (shinto), or the City of Gods as there are over 100 shrines in the area. Each of these shrines represent something, for example, the Meotoiwa, also known as the wedded rocks, is said to strengthen relationships. It is a popular destination for couples before their weddings.
Ise is also home to Oharai-machi, a small, old fashioned pedestrian area with many cute shops, restaurants, and cafes.
Outside of Ise, a town called Iga Ueno is a popular destination if you’re about ninjas. It is home to the Iga School for Ninjutsu, which used to be one of Japan’s best school for ninjas. Whenever I think about a Ninja school, I think about these kids:
Though unfortunately, this ninja school is currently not in session, there is a museum you can visit to learn about the history of ninjas, and even watch some ninja-skills demonstrations.
While from what I just told you, Mie may seem like an old fashioned, shrine filled, ninja roaming prefecture, it is not just that. For example, なばなの里 (Nabana no Sato) in Kuwana City is a flower themed park with miles and miles of beautiful flower displays, along with several restaurants, shops, and rides.
But again, Nabano no Sato is not just that. Though it is open all year round, many come during the winter, which may not sound like the best season to go to a flower park. But in the winter, this is what you see instead:
From October to March, the park becomes illuminated with over eight million LED lights. Each year, there is a different theme for the illuminations, and strolling through these lights is a ride you’ll surely remember.
But in Japanese, there’s a saying saying, 花より団子 (hana yori dango), or dango (or food) over flowers. So what’s better than a flower? A gyoza! And what’s better than a gyoza? A big gyoza!
This humongous gyoza, also known as Tsu-gyoza, is a popular dish that can be found all over Tsu, the capital of Mie.
Various ingredients wrapped inside an extra large gyoza skin, fried until golden and crispy… What more can you ask for? This dish is so popular that it’s a favorite for school lunches. I’m jealous of those kids!
Another food we can thank the people of Tsu is for the one and only, shrimp tempura rice ball, or 天むすおにぎり (tenmusu onigiri). Created in the 1950s by a restaurant called 千寿 (Senju), it has now become a favorite for all. I can eat ten of these!
So would you visit Mie? Let us know about what you think in the comments!