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Photo By: Wikicommons/ Katorisi
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Stroll along the beach of Ise Bay and discover an Imperial guesthouse from the Meiji era.

By Alma Reyes

In the town of Futami-ura, Mie Prefecture, a six-minute train ride from Iseshi station, known for Japan’s most venerated shrine, Ise Jingu, sits the historical Hinjitsukan, former guesthouse of Imperial families from the late Meiji period.

An easy stroll along the beach from Futaminoura station and steps away from Meoto Iwa (wedded rocks) takes you to the striking Shonin-style architecture of Hinjitsukan, epitomizing a slight mixture of a shrine, temple and castle.

The building was erected in 1887 as a lodging facility for dignitaries visiting Japan. Empress Dowager Eisho (1835-1897) stayed here in 1888. Prince Yoshihito of the Taisho era also vacationed in the villa in 1891 to escape the heat and practice swimming. After several reconstructions, the building was donated to Futami town in 2003 and converted into a museum. It was designated as an important cultural property in 2010.

On the Premises

Photo by: Wikicommons/ Katorisi Explore the tranquil Japanese garden before heading in.

The wood and stone entrance gate opens to a picturesque traditional Japanese garden with magnificent views of the sea behind. There are two characteristic suikinkutsu “water piano cave,” an upside-down buried pot with a hole where water drops into and produces music. You can also find a well made of Kurama stones, stone lanterns, ponds, and rock formations. Scenes of pine, cypress and maple trees from the upper floor of the mansion are particularly breathtaking.

Inside Hinjitsukan

Photo by: Wikicommons/ Katorisi The Great Hall consists of 120 tatami mats under an amazing Momoyama period-styled coffered ceiling and gorgeous chandeliers.

Hinjitsukan consists of two floors and twenty rooms. Corridor floors, ceilings and walls reveal delicately preserved chiseled wood. Antique floor and overhead lamps light up the hallways. Glass sliding doors peep through charming inner pocket gardens. A materials room on the first floor displays old documents, signboards of the inn and works by Japanese painter Sashu Nakamura, born in Futamicho. The second floor presents the two most impressive rooms: the Great Hall (Ohiroma) and the Palace Room (Goten-no-ma).


Photo by: Wikicommons/ Katorisi A closer look at the stage.

There is a full-size Noh stage, still used for performances. The luxurious Palace Room boasts a double coffered ceiling and an alcove with floor frames decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay in Wajima lacquerware.

Next to the windows, sitting corners are furnished with Taisho and Showa furniture, providing an excellent panorama of the garden and Ise Bay. The other guest rooms are all constructed in Shonin style and are sometimes used for meetings and exhibitions.

Hinjitsukan is an ideal representation of an ancient Imperial guesthouse depicting Japanese architecture from traditional to Western influences.

Things To Know


Open daily except Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the entrance fee for adults is ¥310 

Some rooms can be rented out for meetings and events. Contact the facility for more information.

How To Get There


By train

From Tokyo station, take Shinkansen to Nagoya station, change to the Rapid Mie line to Futaminoura station, then walk 12 minutes (approximately three hours and 40 minutes).

From Ise Jingu, take the Rapid Mie line from Iseshi station to Futaminoura station (six minutes).

Where To Stay

Hotel Castle Inn Isemeotoiwa (formerly Hotel Resort Inn Futami)
  • 537-20 Futamicho Chaya, Ise-shi, Mie, 519-0609 Japan
  • ¥7,300 - ¥41,400
  • 4.12/5 (1,614 reviews)
  • 0.3 km
Yawara no Yu Maruya
  • 277-2 Futamicho Chaya, Ise-shi, Mie, 519-0609 Japan
  • ¥14,300 - ¥28,600
  • 4.42/5 (95 reviews)
  • 0.7 km
Guesthouse Ise Futami
  • 156 Futamicho Sho, Ise-shi, Mie, 519-0606 Japan
  • ¥4,400 - ¥9,900
  • 4/5 (16 reviews)
  • 1.3 km
Ryoso Uminocho
  • 1693 Futamicho Matsushita, Ise-shi, Mie, 519-0601 Japan
  • ¥18,810 - ¥43,890
  • 4.44/5 (2,087 reviews)
  • 3.2 km
Toba Onsenkyo Todaya (Ise-Shima National Park)
  • 1-24-26 Toba, Toba-shi, Mie, 517-0011 Japan
  • ¥35,200 - ¥70,400
  • 4.07/5 (1,524 reviews)
  • 5.7 km

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