Art museums and souvenir shops! Six recommended sightseeing spots in Ueno
Ueno has Tokyo’s first art museum, museum and zoo and is a suitable place to visit for those of you who are interested in the history of Tokyo’s downtown.
The Ueno Royal Museum
“The Ueno Royal Museum” does not have a permanent exhibition but rather holds rotating exhibitions such as the “Ueno no Mori Museum Taishoten (exhibition of award-winning works)” and “Nihon no Shizen wo Egaku Ten (exhibition of paintings of nature)” on a regular basis. An original letter paper with the illustration of the Takamori Saigo’s statue is sold at the museum shop since the statue is located near the museum.
National Museum of Science and Nature
“National Museum of Science and Nature” is a museum where you can learn about the evolution of human-kind, various animals/plants and the development of science technology. It is the only conclusive science/nature museum in Japan which has more than 4.52 million items. The skeletal preparations of Futabasaurus suzukii and T-Rex and the stuffed specimen of animals including threatened species have a tremendous impact.
TOKYO METROPOLITAN MUSEUM
TOKYO METROPOLITAN MUSEUM is the first public museum in Japan which was established on 1926. In addition to large exhibitions where you can observe quality works from both home and abroad, they hold various rotating exhibitions and public invitation exhibitions. You can also enjoy eating/drinking in the restaurants inside the museum. Both western-style restaurants and Japanese-style restaurants where you can eat soba (buckwheat noodles) and donburis are available.
Tokyo’s Masterpieces From The National Gallery London Exhibition Adds Extra Nighttime Dates
21.September.2020 | SPOT
The National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo has been hosting the Masterpieces From The National Gallery London exhibition since June 18 this year, and has just announced additional nighttime hour viewings, so the exhibit will be open until 21:00 from October 13 to 17.
The exhibition brings together a special selection of 61 masterful works from The National Gallery London in Japan for the first time, such as Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Johannes Vermeer’s Lady Seated at a Virginal, and Claude Monet’s The Water-Lily Pond.
Tickets for the evening viewings between October 13 and 17 will be available to purchase from September 19 via FamilyMart, e+, and Yomiuri Shimbun’s online store in Japan. More details are available on the exhibition website.
Masterpieces From The National Gallery London Exhibition – Tokyo
Running: June 18, 2020 – October 18, 2020
Venue: National Museum of Western Art
Opening Hours: 09:30-17:30 (until 21:00 from October 13 to 17)
Exhibition Website: https://artexhibition.jp/london2020/
*The exhibition will move to The National Museum of Art in Osaka from November 3, 2020 to January 31, 2021
Japan’s New High Speed Bus Travels From Kyoto to Mount Koya
23.August.2020 | SPOT
Keihan Bus and Nankai Rinkan Bus are bringing back their high-speed bus service this year which will run from September 18 to November 30. The service will incorporate a mandatory booking system, making it even more convenient than last year.
Mount Kōya is the name of the temple settlement found in Wakayama which first settled in 819. It is the centre for the Kōyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism and is designated as a World Heritage Site, one of many found in Kyoto alongside Kinkaku-ji, Kiyomizu-dera, and Shimogamo Shrine.
The new Kyoto Koya-san buses offer a smooth, direct ride to the World Heritage Site, arriving there from Kyoto in just 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Kyoto Koya-san Bus (Japanese Name: 京都高野山線)
Running: September 18, 2020 – November 30, 2020
Keihan Bus Official Website: https://www.keihanbus.jp/
New Desserts Arrive at Tokyo’s Panda Themed Cafe Mainichi Panda CAFE by Saryo Ginza Seigetsudo
Saryo Ginza Seigetsudo, a cafe located on the 2nd floor of Matsuzakaya Ueno in Tokyo, has been holding its “Mainichi Panda CAFE” event since October last year where it is serving up panda themed food and drink, selling panda plush toys and books, and the cafe itself is decorated with all things pandas.
Mainichi Panda CAFE by Saryo Ginza Seigetsudo is now introducing four new panda desserts, and its exhibition theme is celebrating the birthdays of Ueno Zoo’s giant pandas Xiang Xiang and Lili.
Adzuki Bean & Warabimochi Panda Parfait | ¥1,100
Japanese style parfait topped with panda-shaped ice cream.
Panda Jonamagashi & Matcha Set | ¥1,100 *Only 4 served per day
A Japanese ‘jonamagashi’ confection made to look like a panda wearing a straw hat.
Panda Pancake-Style Dorayaki w/Orange Peel | ¥1,100 (With Coffee ¥1,430)
Saryo Ginza Seigetsudo’s signature dorayaki served pancake style and branded with a cute panda face.
Lemon Yogurt Cake Set | ¥1,210
A slice of refreshing lemon and yogurt cake.
Mainichi Panda Exhibition (Excerpt)
The cafe has a special photo exhibition on display of the cute giant panda family that is housed in Ueno Zoo.
The first 100 customers who dine at the cafe each day will receive a free postcard of Ueno Zoo’s pandas.
If you love pandas, and have visited Ueno Zoo before, then you won’t want to miss a visit to Saryo Ginza Seigetsudo.
Mainichi Panda CAFE by Saryo Ginza Seigetsudo
Address: Matsuzakaya Ueno 2F, 3-29-5 Ueno, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00 (Last Orders 19:30) *Opening hours subject to change
MAXPLAN AZABU10: The New Landmark of Tokyo’s Azabu Juban District
31.May.2020 | SPOT
MAXPLAN Co. is set to open MAXPLAN AZABU10 on October 22, 2020 which is set to become the new symbol and a landmark of Tokyo’s Azabu Juban District. The building will offer many unique and extraordinary experiences.
Nakamura Suzuko (CEO, MAXPLAN Co.) | Comment
“This project borrows the strength of internationally-active architect Kengo Kuma. I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to be a driving force together with him once again. This building, which is the ‘Azabu Juban Development Project,’ will be a place that creates and discovers new collective value between companies and individuals. A place of creative symbiosis. It aims to offer well being for companies that brings about a sense of cultural values. It will be a creative space for companies and individuals to resonate, bounce ideas off, and flow with one another. I pray from the bottom of my heart that these things will serve as a connection to how we want to live in the future.”
Kengo Kuma (Architect) | Comment
“Azabu Juban is Tokyo’s intersection between tradition and the future. I wanted to create a symbol for this district of ‘fluctuations’ around its crossroads. Combining panels of varying sizes with different heights, thicknesses, and textures expresses the district’s diversity and energy. I wanted the building to blend in as part of the ‘fluctuations,’ as well as create a small 3D city which itself has ‘fluctuations’ […]”
We look forward to seeing how this new landmark and symbol of Azabu Juban brings together the traditional and the futuristic.
Building Site: 4-1-1 Azabu Juban, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Access: 1-minute on foot from Azabu Juban Station (via Tokyo Metro Namboku Line and Toei Oedo Line)
Grand Opening: October 2020 (subject to change)
Kyoto Brighton Hotel Offers 5 New Hotel Plans For Springtime, Cherry Blossom & Temple Experiences
26.January.2020 | SPOT
Kyoto Brighton Hotel is now selling reservations for its new “Haru no Asobi Plan” (Springtime Fun Plan) which is taking place between March and May this year and offers guests the opportunity to enjoy Kyoto in the spring and its cherry blossoms.
Spring in Kyoto is the most popular season for tourists and travellers who flock from not only across Japan but from around the world. The Haru no Asobi Plan is made up of 5 exciting plans to see the ancient capital’s breathtaking cherry blossoms, vibrant green maples, and other offerings.
“Asakatsu” – An early morning temple visit and stroll
Get away from the crowded streets and enjoy the rare opportunity to experience incredible early morning sights you don’t normally get to see. Spend a quiet morning in a gorgeous environment in this plan. Several temples and gardens are in place for the experience: Kōdaiji Temple, Bishamon-do Temple, Taizō-in, Haradanien, and Tenryū-ji.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple special night viewing
One of the must-visit spots when travelling to Kyoto is Kiyomizu-dera, officially a World Heritage Site. This plan rents out the temple for you to experience it at nighttime. The main building is currently undergoing large-scale renovation to secure the roof as well as the inner construction of the temple. Seeing the temple is truly a sight to behold.
You are guaranteed a view of the famous “Stage of Kiyomizu,” an enormous veranda attached to the main hall. The surrounding trees will be lit with enchanting lights, and you’ll be able to gaze at the distant city nightscape. Experience Kyoto like never before as the warm lights illuminate the Niōmon (Deva Gate), 3-storey pagoda, and purified water which runs from the Otowa Waterfall.
Discover the world of Kyoto embroidery
The traditional practice of Kyounui, or Kyoto-style embroidery, has continued since the Heian Period and is even garnering attention overseas. It’s a delicate and refined style of embroidery unique to Kyoto.
After your embroidery session which will take place in a Kyoto town house nearby the cherry blossom-filled Hirano Shrine, you’ll look at kimono and yukata so beautiful they’ll look like they should be in an art museum, before heading to eat together with the creator.
See the green maple trees of Hōgon-in on a private train
Board the private 1-2 carriage Randen train on the Keifuku Electric Railroad, which runs from Shijō-Ōmiya to Arashiyama. This cute retro train will take you Arashiyama where the green maples are breathtakingly beautiful.
You’ll also get to stroll through the quaint gardens of Hōgon-in Temple, view artwork painted by Noriko Tamura, and more.
Enjoy a panoramic view on a private ride of the Sky Bus, a double-decker bus which is gaining huge popularity right now. You will ride through the city of Kyoto and see the rows of pink cherry blossoms. In April, they will also do an evening tour of the cherry blossoms so you can see them at night, and in May they’ll do a green maple tree tour.
Discover the beauty of Kyoto in this very special hotel plan at Kyoto Brighton Hotel.
Kyoto Brighton Hotel
Address: 330 Shiteicho Nakadachiuri Shinmachi-dori (West side of Gosho), Kamigyo, Kyoto
Official Website (English): https://www.brightonhotels.co.jp/kyoto/en/
Plan Page (Japanese): https://www.brightonhotels.co.jp/kyoto/lp/spring2020/index.html
Sanrio Gift’s New Shop in Ueno Welcomes Hello Kitty Panda Merchandise & More
Sanrio opened a new gift shop called Sanrio Gift Gate in Ueno on January 24, 2020. This is the 107th branch of the gift shop to open in Japan, following the openning of the Asakusa branch which opened in Asakusa last year. Aimed at tourists both Japanese and foreign, it sells merchandise of Sanrio’s popular cast of characters.
The souvenir shop features a range of Ueno exclusives, including a line-up of six popular Sanrio characters wearing panda outfits.
Plush Toys (6 Designs) – ¥2,200 Each / Small Plush Toys (6 Designs) – ¥1,760 Each
Who could resist one of these cute toys? The bigger ones at 16cm tall and the small ones 11cm. The line-up includes fan favourites Hello Kitty, Pompompurin, Cinnamoroll, My Melody, Kuromi, and Pochacco.
There’s also pop-up cards with a variety of designs, including one that opens up into Ameya-Yokochō open-air market, another that turns into Hello Kitty and a panda sat down, and more.
Edo-Tamagawaya x Hello Kitty Pink Tonkotsu Ramen – ¥390
Budoonoki Sanrio Character Baumkuchen – ¥594 Each (Hello Kitty/My Melody/Pompompurin/Cinnamoroll)
The Salt Industry Center of Japan x Hello Kitty Table Salt – ¥248
There’s also food and snacks amongst a whole range of other goodies, all perfect as gifts and souvenirs.
Be sure to stop by Sanrio Gift Plaza the next time you’re in Ueno.
ⓒ 1976, 1996, 2020 SANRIO CO.,LTD. TOKYO, JAPAN Original Text: SANRIO CO.,LTD.
*All listed prices include tax. Sold items receive stock turnovers.
Sanrio Gift Gate Ueno
Address: Plaza U Bldg. 1F, 4-8-6 Ueno, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Business Hours: 11:00-20:00 (subject to change – please check website for latest info))
Other: Duty-Free/Payment possible with Alipay and WechatPay.
Shop Information: https://www.sanrio.co.jp/shop/sh8122100/
Bunjee Jump From the Top of Kyoto Tower With Their New VR Experience
17.January.2020 | SPOT
Have you ever wondered what the thrill of bungee jumping would be like, but are too afraid of heights to even consider putting it on your bucket list? Have no fear, because Kyoto Tower is bringing a new VR bungee jumping experience to the top of the building which will be available to experience from February 1 for a limited time.
This VR experience was first brought to the tower in the fall of 2018, and this year it is making its grand return. After the event originally ended, there was huge demand for it to be held again.
Those brave enough to have a go at this VR bungee jump (or bungy, depending where you are from), will go above and beyond the 100 meter observation deck to the highest accessible point of Kyoto Towerーup 120.9 metersーwhich is normally closed off to the public, to the special VR deck which has been prepared.
The experience will offer you not only the thrill of jumping from Kyoto’s tallest structure, but the chance to gaze upon a panoramic view of the beautiful city too.
Kyoto Tower VR Bungy Jump
Running: February 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020
Time: 12:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:45)
Location: Kyoto Tower Observation Deck – Floor 1F (the 11th floor of Kyoto Tower)
・VR Bungy Ticket: ¥800 (Tax Included)
・Observation Deck & Bungy Set Ticket (Tax Included): Adults: ¥1,400 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,600)/High School Students: ¥1,300 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,450)/Elementary & Junior High Students: ¥1,100 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,350)
*Ages 7+ only
*Set tickets are available to purchase on floor 1F of Kyoto Tower
*Run times subject to change
*Ticket charges applied for ages 7+; those aged below 7-years-old are not permitted to use the VR system
*An entry ticket to the Kyoto Tower observation deck is not necessary to experience the VR system
Official Website: https://vr-bungee.com/
Japan Shopping Festival: Hello Kitty Supports Huge Shopping Event Aimed at Foreigners
一The Japan Shopping Tourism Organization (JSTO) has announced that it will hold an event titled “Japan Shopping Festival” aimed at foreign tourists in Japan from December 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020.
A questionnaire will be carried out for non-Japanese travellers to win round-trip tickets to Japan. Travellers will be selected randomly from a lucky draw.
②Instagram Photo Contest
Follow Japan Shopping Festival on Instagram and post photos related to the designated themes with the hashtag #jsfphoto. The themes are: ①Memories of what you bought and experienced in Japan, ②Your favourite fruits in Japan, and ③Good things about Japan you want to boast.
③Coupons, Goods & Experiences
Japan Shopping Now is one of Japan’s biggest online shopping portal sites, and they are now promoting information on Japanese shopping overseas in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean. This includes coupons, sales, and more at almost 1,000 participating stores.
・Japan Shopping Festival Tohoku (December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020)
This shopping festival will take place at 6 prefectures across Tohoku. Discover Japanese confectioneries, fashion, sake, fruit and more, including a tie-up with JR EAST PASS.
Official Website: http://tohoku.japanshopping.org/
・Matsuyama Shopping Festival (December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)
From Okaido Shopping Street to Matsuyama Gintengai Shopping Arcade, Matsuchika Town, and more, look forward to end-of-year lucky draws, food events, shopping, and so on.
Official Website: http://matsuyama.japanshopping.org/
Discover the wonders of shopping in Japan and learn more about the country with the Japan Shopping Festival.
Japan Shopping Festival 2019-2020
Running: December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020
Official Website: http://jsf.japanshopping.org/
Top 4 Places to Visit in Kyoto This Winter: Snow, Gourmet Food, Hot Springs & More
26.November.2019 | SPOT
Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history. Today, we take a look at some of the best places to visit in Kyoto this winter as covered by the November 2019 issue of Japanese magazine Mou Hitotsu no Kyoto (“The Other Kyoto”).
From gourmet food to sightseeing spots, the arts and moreーif you’re in Kyoto this year, you have plenty of reasons to leave your hotel room or house.
Yuki Tourou: See the snowy thatched-roof huts
Miyama Kayabuki no Sato is located in Miyamachokita, Nantan. It is home to 39 houses with thatched roofs and is a popular sightseeing spot due to its gorgeous natural scenery throughout the entire year. It was listed in Japan’s Groups of Traditional Buildings in 1993.
In the New Year, snow falls on the huts, which looks beautiful when they light up the “Yuki Tourou”ーor snow lanternsーin late January every year. There are stalls that serve hot food in this little town, and they also host an event where you can make your own snow lantern.
Running: January 25, 2020 – February 1, 2020
Official Website: http://www.yukitouro.jp/
Amanohashidate: One of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”
Amanohashidate is a sandbank located in Miyazu Bay that separates the north and south inlet of the Asoumi Sea. It formed as a result of pebbles being carried by the ocean current for thousands of years. Its name comes from the way it looks like a bridge spanning across the sky. It is known as one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”
Amanohashidate is a sight to behold at any point throughout the year, but if you can travel there in the winter, you’re in for a surprise, as the entire sandbank is littered with pure white snow. On very cold days in the morning the snow even covers the tops of the pine trees, but when the sun rises and the temperature warms up the snow on the frost-tipped trees melts. This has led to it being called an “illusionary sight” due to its rarity. Make a point of getting up super early so you don’t miss it!
Address: Tango-Amanohashidate-Ōeyama Quasi-National Park, Miyazu, Kyoto
Official Website: https://www.amanohashidate.jp/lang/en/
Fukuchiyama Castle: The magnificent castle of snow
Fukuchiyama Castle sits atop a tall hill in the city of Fukuchiyama. The castle was established as the new Tanba province by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1579 following the province’s capture in 1576. The castle was demolished once during the Meiji Period but was restored again in 1986. It is now the only castle that remains today built by Mitsuhide.
The castle architecture has a lot of personality, and during the winter months takes on a gorgeous white as a result of the snow. Gazing across the castle land from the watchtower is an absolute must when visiting. Also, if you’re visiting next year, the new Fukuchiyama Mitsuhide Museum is set to open on January 11, so be sure to check that out too.
Address: 5 Chome Naiki, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)
Closed: December 28-31, 2019 / January 4-6, 2020
Entry Price: General ¥330 / Elementary & Junior High School Students ¥110
Official Website: https://dokkoise.com/en/temple_shrine/index.html
Monjusou Shourotei: Feast on crab fondue while gazing at Amanohashidate
Monjusou Shourotei is a ryokanーa Japanese-style innーlocated along Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s Three Scenic Views which we mentioned earlier on this list. All guests staying at the inn are given a window view of Amanohashidate from their rooms.
The inn offers an original salted snow crab fondue. Snow crab is particularly enjoyed for its degree of freshness. It’s served with vegetables and the boiled crab itself, making for a delicious combination of flavours.
The hot springs at Amanohashidate are famous and praised as “the baths of the gods.” They are also said to leave your skin looking beautiful after a dip. The inn also offers open-air baths lined with stones from Shikoku and wild grass from the mountains, offering a truly indulging experience.
Address: Amanohashidate Monjudomisaki, Miyazu, Kyoto
Official Website: https://shourotei.com/
These are just some of the incredible places you can enjoy in wintertime Kyoto. You can find more information on Kyoto Side or from one of our many articles on Kyoto.
TOTOCO Odawara: Kanagawa’s Sea Food Theme Park Opens November 22
Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is a new “fish theme park” set to have its grand opening on November 22, 2019 at 10:00am (JST).
The facility was established to promote further exchanges with Odawara Fishing Port which is said to be the biggest fish market in western Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the first “Fishing Port” (Gyoko no Eki*) and will sell seafood sourced locally, fishery products and more, as well as hold events to help promote Odawara.
The building has three flours. The first floor is like a marketplace where fish, fishery products, produce, and more will be sold. The second and third floors house seafood restaurants and offer a panoramic view of Sagami Bay. This view is best observed from the terrace while you enjoy your delicious meal.
*Fishing Port (in Japanese: Gyoko no Eki, or 漁港の駅) is a registered trademark of Odawara City to highlight facilities that promote exchange with Odawara Fishing Port. (Registered Trademark No.: 6163121).
Odawara Fishing Port sells fresh fish sourced from the waters of Sagami Bay, which houses a variety of fish species, as well as fish and processed marine products from around Japan. TOTOCO Odawara will sell these very same products, all delivered directly from the port, to help spread the fishing culture and economy of Odawara.
Let’s take a look at some of the delicious gourmet seafood meals you can expect to tuck into at TOTOCO Odawara!
Totomaru Summit Bowl – ¥2,480
A hearty and towering dish so high that it looks like it might topple over.
Greedy Sea Urchin Eggs & Salmon Roe Bowl – ¥4,280
A dream combination you’ve been waiting for your entire life. Savour the richness and sweetness of both of these mouth-watering delights.
Oyster Egg Donburi Set – ¥1,680
You can’t even see the rice any more for the pile of tasty oyster eggs, with their exquisitely soft texture.
Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO
The third floor of the building is home to Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO, a restaurant that calls itself “Sashimi Heaven” and offers a 59 minute all-you-can-eat buffet of fish, sides, desserts and more.
59 Minute All-You-Can-Eat
Adults – ¥2,590 / Children (Elementary School & Younger) – ¥1,390 / 3-Years & Younger – Free (All Prices Before Tax)
Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is easily reachable from Tokyo and right next to the local station. If you’ve come to Japan looking to try the country’s famous seafood, then make sure to put this place on your list.
Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara
Address: 1-28 Hayakawa, Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture (West side of of Odawara Fishing Port)
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Subject to change depending on the season)
Access: By train – 10 minutes on foot from JR Hayakawa Station / By car – 2 minutes from Seishō Bypass Hayakawa Interchange or 4 minutes from Odawara-Atsugi Road Odawara-Nishi Interchange
Official Website: https://www.totoco-odawara.com
Instagram Launches #MY TOKYO IS Campaign With Tokyo Metropolitan Government
12.November.2019 | SPOT
Instagram launched a campaign with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government entitled “#MY TOKYO IS” on November 11 together with three limited-time stamps that can be used on people’s Instagram stories.
The campaign is a global initiative to have people capture their favourite moments in Tokyo in the form of photos, videos and stories on Instagram. Shared posts will be used to curate places and scenery in Tokyo that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government want to showcase to the people of the world. This curation will take the form of an exhibitionーwhich will take place at GINZA ATRIUM on floor 6F of GINZA SIX and GINZA TSUTAYA BOOKS in late March 2020ーas well as a website and a book.
Statistics have shown that Instagram has a significant influence on the Japanese economy in terms of tourism, and so the Tokyo Metropolitan Government hopes that this interactive campaign will help to promote the city to tourists and travellers worldwide.
The stamps created as part of the campaign only appear in the tray when you’re in the city of Tokyo. When you click the stamp, the #MYTOKYOIS search result page will be displayed, allowing you to see the other photos and videos posted by the people who have used the campaign hashtag.
If you’re in Tokyo, then be sure to get involved in the campaign and show the world your favourite things about the city!
Enter via Feed Posts
・Follow the official Tokyo Tokyo Instagram account @tokyotokyooldmeetsnew
・Add hashtags #MYTOKYOIS and #TokyoTokyo to your post
・Add spot or location info to the photo or video you took, and post
Enter via Stories
・Follow the official Tokyo Tokyo Instagram account @tokyotokyooldmeetsnew
・Use the #MYTOKYOIS sticker or add the hashtag #MYTOKYOIS using the text tool / hashtag sticker
・Add spot or location sticker of the photo or video you took, and post
#MY TOKYO IS Campaign Website
Sightseeing in Ise: 4 Must-Visit Souvenir Shops Near Ise Grand Shrine
The city of Ise is located in central Mie Prefecture on the eastern tip of Kii Peninsula, the largest peninsula on Japan’s largest main island Honshu. Every year, the autumn season brings in a flurry of tourists and sightseers who flock to see the city’s leaves expressing their vibrant hues of red and yellow. The city boasts a magnificent catalogue of sightseeing spots, but perhaps the most famous of all is Ise Grand Shrine, whose inner and outer shrine give visitors a sense of what the townscape looked like in ancient times. This can also be seen at Sarutahiko Shrine, amongst other places.
In this article, we’re going to introduce you to 4 must-visit souvenir shops near the inner shrine for your Ise travel bucket list.
When talking about specialty products of Ise, the one thing that’s sure to come to the minds of Japanese people are the pearls sold in the city. Amano Pearl can be found in Oharaimachi, an almost 1km long street lined with traditional shops. The owner themselves purchases and appraises the pearls while the shop staff manufacture and design gorgeous accessories to sell at an affordable price.
Accessory – ¥2,200
This rose-shaped necklace is a design favoured by women of all ages. They have plenty of other high-quality bargain picks like this too.
The shop’s diverse line-up of beautifully accessories includes those perfect for combining with one pieces and dresses, as well as for parties. Prices and designs vary greatly, so there’s bound to be something for everyone who steps inside this quaint store. So if you’re shopping for souvenirs during your trip to Ise, then you absolutely have to pay a visit to Amano Pearl to see the city’s famous pearls.
▶︎Amano Pearl – Oharaimachi Branch
Address: 45 Ujiimazaikechō, Ise, Mie
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: https://www.amanopearl.jp/
Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch
Matsujiro Honey is a long-standing honey shop that was established back in 1912. The shop sells various varieties of honey, including flavours you won’t find in supermarkets like apple honey and soba honey.
Hanabana – ¥864
Hanabana is the shop’s No. 1 most popular variety of honey and it’s made in Mie Prefecture. Its name in Japanese means “flowers,” and as the name suggests, it includes the nectar of numerous types of flowers. It has a smooth texture and distinct full-bodied floral fragrance.
Centre: Mini Honey Soap – ¥503 / Right: Honey Soap – ¥2,200 / Left: ¥2,200 Honey Face & Body Oil (48ml) – ¥2,200
The shop even sells its own honey-imbued cosmetics, all made with natural ingredients. Their soap is made with their popular Hanabana honey, and gives off a flavoursome honey smell. Your skin is left smooth, moisturised and smelling great after using it.
Their rich honey oil too is made with 90% plant-derived oil and is free from preservatives. It’s a great option for the coming dry season and is gentle on the skin.
If you visit the shop, they let you taste test their different types of honey too! Find your favourite.
▶︎Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch
Address: 7 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: https://www.matsujiro.shop/
Uroharu first opened its doors in 1931. Their products are sold as souvenirs to help spread the word of Ise’s rich food culture.
Same No Tare – Salt Flavour / Mirin Flavour
The item you absolutely want to look out for when going into Uohara is their “Same No Tare,” another Ise speciality. It was originally only eaten in Shima, Ise, but it was picked up on national television, leading it to become a food souvenir associated with Ise.
Uoharu’s products are seafood based, and there’s plenty to choose from. If you’re looking for a food product specifically from Ise then look no further than Uoharu.
Address: 49 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (*Changes depending on season)
Closed: Wednesdays (Except on national holidays in which case closed on Thursdays)
Official Website: https://www.samenotare.jp/uoharu/
Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch
Yet another speciality product of Ise comes from the much-beloved Henbaya, which first opened way back in 1775. The speciality products, also called “henbaya,” can be ordered either for takeout or enjoyed in the shop.
Henbaya (Includes 2) – ¥160
Henbaya are thin, round sticky rice cakes made with top of the range domestic ingredients and packed with smooth red bean paste. Both sides of these deliciously fragrant rice cakes are browned, and when bitten into, fill and melt in your mouth with the sweet, smooth flavour of the bean paste.
At the Oharaimachi branch of Henbaya they sell various other rice cakes too, all chewy and made with high quality ingredients from Japan. Pick up a pair and enjoy the sweet taste of Ise.
▶︎Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch
Address: 1-149-1 Ujiurata, Ise, Mie
Closed: Mondays (Except on national holidays in which case closed on Tuesdays)
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Eating in-store runs until 16:30)
*Products may sell out before 17:00
*Opening hours subject to change for January
So, if you’re making a trip to the beautiful city of Ise, you now know the must-visit spots for finding souvenirs. Let us know if you visit any!