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Poets, ninja and the mother of Japan

Discover the hidden home of Japan's mysterious ninja.

Mie is situated in the center of Japan’s main island Honshu, on the Kii Peninsula facing the Pacific Ocean. More than one-third of the prefecture is made up of national parks; its craggy mountains, misty forests and waterfalls were ideal for ninja training.

The birthplace of national poet Basho Matsuo, home of one of Japan’s oldest and most sacred shrines and part of the ancient Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, Mie is Japan’s secret storybook.

Iga Ueno

Iga-Ueno Castle

The historic three-structured castle has over 400 years of history.

The Real Ninja of Mie

Koka Ninja Village in Shiga, Japan
Iga Ueno is famous for its deep history of Ninjas and numerous memorials dedicated to the poet Basho, including a museum and his birth house maintained in its original state.

For travelers wishing to learn more about how the art of Ninjas came to be, spend an afternoon exploring the Ninja Museum of Igaryu. End your day with a visit to Iga Ueno Castle while renting out a Ninja suit to try on.

Ise Shrine

The Naiku of the Ise Jingu enshrines the sun goddess Amaterasu, the mother of the Japan.

The Naiku portion of Ise Grand Shrine enshrines the sun goddess Amaterasu, the mother of Japan.

One of the most famous landmarks in Mie prefecture is Ise Jingu (Ise Grand Shrine). Encompassing nearly one-fifth of Ise’s picturesque coastal city, it’s an important temple complex to see and experience, dating back to the 3rd century.

Nearby the Okage Yokocho is a maze of alleyways lined with traditional stores and restaurants – a great place to feast on Mie specialties such as tekone-zushi (marinated tuna) and akafukumochi (pounded rice cake with sweet bean paste).

From Ise Jingu, you can also trek the ancient Kumano Kodo trail, walking the 170-km Iseji pilgrimage route to Wakayama Prefecture. Further south lies the majestic Maruyama Senmaida Rice Terraces west of Kumano city. The agricultural region features some 1,340 rice paddies.

Toba and Shima

Toba and Shima Ama Mie Prefecture

Catch one of the ama in action as they dive for pearls.

Visitors to Mie can easily visit the towns of Toba and Shima located on the Shima Peninsula. Here, you can spot traditional female ama (freedivers) at work. Historically, the ama dived for pearls while holding their breath for long periods and using special techniques to propel themselves to and from the seabed.

Take some time to explore the islands off Ago Bay’s coast with a cruise on the Kashikojima Espana modeled after a Spanish ship from the 16th century. There is also a Spanish-themed amusement park called Shima Spain Village, where visitors can enjoy various Spanish cuisine alongside park rides amidst a European backdrop.


Photo by: Thomas Shahan Follow One of the 48 Waterfalls of Akame.

Near the Nara border and the beautiful Soni Highlands, Nabari is a city home to the Akame 48 Waterfalls, a picturesque hiking spot for ninja in training. Despite its name, there aren’t 48 waterfalls, but there is plenty to see. Not to mention a giant salamander museum and real-life ninja school.

The mysterious forest boasts gorgeous koyo (autumn leaves) in autumn, cherry blossom viewing in spring, and challenging trekking in winter.  

On the outskirts of Nabari lies Kanon-ji Temple. While any temple in Japan has its history and features, Kanon-ji is famous online for its seemingly out-of-place Sonic The Hedgehog statue. The statue founds its way to the temple years ago after a nearby Sega theme park closed down, and Sonic fans have been pilgrimaging to the site ever since!

Plan your trip to Mie with the links below!


Koka Ninja Village in Shiga, Japan

The Real Ninja of Mie

These Japan Heritage Sites in Iga and Koka show us how real ninjas lived and trained throughout history.


Places to visit

okage yokocho

Okage Yokocho

Walk through ancient Edo and Meiji period downtown streets and indulge in local delicacies.


Mikimoto Pearl Island

Discover the magic of pearl cultivation and Ama divers in action at the Mikimoto Pearl Island


Stroll along the beach of Ise Bay and discover an Imperial guesthouse from the Meiji era.

The Naiku of the Ise Jingu enshrines the sun goddess Amaterasu, the mother of the Japan.


Ise is the original pilgrim's playground; home to Japan's holiest shrine.

Ueno Park Iga in Mie, Japan.

Iga City

Ninjas, a castle and a haiku poetry master—Iga is home to a whole host of traditional Japanese culture and history.

Iga Ueno Castle in Mie, Japan.

Iga Ueno Castle

A white-walled castle located in the hometown of the ninja.

Akame 48 Waterfalls in Nabari, Mie Prefecture Japan

Akame 48 Waterfalls

Find yourself on a tranquil hike or go full-on ninja in Mie Prefecture.

Kumano Kodo pilgrimage Iseji Route.

Kumano Kodo: Iseji Route

Pay your respects to Ise Jingu, Japan’s most holy shrine, and hike in the footsteps of the gods in Mie Prefecture.

nagashima spa land

Nagashima Spa Land

Come for the roller coasters, stay for the spa.

Meoto Iwa

Meoto Iwa (Wedded Rocks)

A spiritual awakening and a romantic view.

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Deer at Nara Park in Japan


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osaka castle


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In Shiga, you can't turn around without seeing something magnificent.


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