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Photo By: PIXTA/ Rise
Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Tsu
Population
1,857,365

Mikimoto Pearl Island

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

By Alma Reyes

Japan is home to the world’s most famous and sophisticated Mikimoto pearls. The indigenous craft began its first pearl cultivation in 1893 at a pearl oyster farm at the Shinmei inlet on Ago Bay in Mie Prefecture. The founder, Kokichi Mikimoto (1858-1954), was fascinated by pearl divers in Ise when he was a young man and dreamed of further perfecting the art of pearl culture.

Today, his huge enterprise sets its pearl culture production at the Mikimoto Pearl Island in Ise Bay in Toba, Mie Prefecture.

Pearl Museum

mikimoto

Photo by: PIXTA/ gaistino The first floor is devoted to the Pearl Plaza, where visitors can shop for pearls and jewelry.

The island can be visited for its Pearl Museum, established in 1962. It showcases Mikimoto company’s splendid collection of different types of pearls and jewelry with detailed explanations of their origin—from mollusks, oysters and abalones.

Videos, drawings, and installations comprehensively introduce the history, science and industry of pearl cultivation. Visitors will be mesmerized by the intricacy of the production process. A wide selection of artistic works, such as watches, pagodas and crowns assembled by Mikimoto craftsmen is also exhibited.

Ama Divers

Ama divers

Photo by: PIXTA/ gaistino This tradition of women diving for pearls has existed since 2,000 years ago as early as the Heian period.

The major highlight of visiting the island is catching a rare demonstration of Ama female pearl divers searching for pearls under the sea. This tradition of women diving for pearls has existed since 2,000 years ago as early as the Heian period. Visitors will see the divers in their white sheer garbs and headscarves jump barefoot from the boats into the waters.

A live narration (in Japanese) explains the step-by-step pearl oyster-catching process. Scheduled demonstrations start at 9:30 a.m. till 4:30 p.m. No reservation is required.

Kokichi Mikimoto Memorial Hall

Photo by: Alma Reyes Enjoy the charming garden outside the hall and museum.

Adjacent to the museum is the Kokichi Mikimoto Memorial Hall, built in 1993, dedicated to the rich life of Mikimoto, fondly called the Pearl King. Video presentations and exhibits document the background of his passion for the pearl business, as well as historical content from the Meiji era when Mikimoto developed his company.

Things To Know

HOURS AND FEES

Open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. depending on the season. Check the website for the opening dates

The admission fee for adults is ¥1,650. Buying tickets online is discounted at ¥1,350 per adult. 

How To Get There

Address

By train

From Tokyo station, take the Shinkansen to Nagoya station, change to Rapid Mie line to Toba station, and walk five minutes towards the Pearl Bridge for a total about three hours and 40 minutes

Where To Stay

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)
  • 0.8 km
Ise-Shima Senpokaku Toba
  • 2-12-24 Toba, Toba-shi, Mie, 517-0011 Japan
  • ¥14,000 - ¥43,650
  • 4.17/5 (853 reviews)
  • 0.8 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
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)
  • 6.6 km
Taoya Shima
  • 1826-1 Uramuracho, Toba-shi, Mie, 517-0025 Japan
  • ¥31,900 - ¥73,000
  • 4.22/5 (629 reviews)
  • 6.7 km

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