Mie Prefecture was propelled to prominence on the global stage when it hosted the G7 Summit in Ise-Shima in May of 2016. And why would the G7 leaders not want to gather in Mie?
Aside from being home to Ise Jingu, Japan’s most sacred Shinto shrine, Mie Prefecture is also a delightful place where you can be enthralled by sensational culinary practices, time-honored traditional crafts, and state-of-the-art technologies. What’s more, it even boasts beautiful cultured pearls and fascinating ninja experiences! No wonder that you can take your pick from the broad range of artisanal and unique souvenirs simply not found elsewhere in Japan. We recommend that you put these 10 souvenirs on your shopping list!
Kagawa Prefecture may be affectionately known as the “Udon Prefecture,” but Mie more than holds its own with its rendition of one of the Japanese’s best-loved dishes. As Mie is located by the sea, its Ise udon is doused with a broth that packs a punch of umami with its bonito (dried fish) flakes, kelp, and other ingredients.
Do get hold of these thick and flavorful noodles under the Marukawa Shoten brand so that you can savor its heavenly taste again in your home country!
When you have influential global leaders coming to your doorstep, the stakes are high – everyone is waiting with bated breath to see the kind of delicacies they will partake in. Thankfully, Mie fulfills these expectations – and then some.
Famous worldwide, its Matsusaka beef tantalizes your palate with its supreme marbled fat and succulent tender flavor. Not only that, it also boasts a great story. Did you know that Matsusaka cows are fed with beer and massaged with shochu so as to ensure high-quality meat? Now, you can regale your loved ones with this tidbit of information while filling their tummies!
Fancy something simple but packs a punch in terms of enhancing the flavor of your dishes? Look no further than Mie as it offers yummy aosa nori (sea lettuce) that heightens many a meal with its addictively savory flavor. At the mouth of Ise Bay, the nutrient-rich water combines with warm seawater brought in by the Kuroshio Current, thus giving rise to nori that is of exemplary quality.
Purchase aosa nori for your family and friends and whet their appetite with its rich, briny aroma!
Mikimoto pearls are famous all over the world for their lustrous shine and exquisite look. What’s more, these pearls are cultivated, so you can buy them without feeling guilty about harming the environment.
Fashion-savvy travelers, rejoice! Turns out that the Mikimoto company is situated in Mie Prefecture. So make your way to Mikimoto Pearl Island and select the finest pearls ever at the Pearl Plaza – the perfect gift to express your undying love and devotion to that special someone!
Given the slew of popular ninja anime like Naruto and Ninja Scroll, it can be safely said that many foreigners fall in love with Japan because they have taken a fancy to an iconic Japanese character – the ninja.
In Mie, you can visit the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum, which depicts the lifestyle of the Iga ninja clan. Learn about how they used more than 400 tools like shuriken (throwing stars), swords, and grappling hooks to apply their ninjutsu (the art of stealth) and fulfill their missions discreetly.
Then head over to the gift shop to purchase all these and more, including ninja t-shirts and costumes. With these souvenirs, you will get to realize your inner ninja anytime, anywhere!
With a name like “Magic Frying Pan,” this product produced by Nishikimi Chuzo surely does not disappoint. Boasting a mere thickness of 1.5 mm, this pan is very much lighter than conventional cast iron frying pans, so even young budding chefs can use it easily in the kitchen.
To top it off, it has superb heat efficiency as well as a high ability to retain heat. You can cook food in the pan quickly and retain the original flavor of the ingredients, thus enabling you to make healthy and mouth-watering dishes. More than 150,000 (and counting!) pans have already been sold, so be sure to jump on the bandwagon and get yours, too.
Mie is home to the revered Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes, where ancient, majestic Owase cypress trees reside. The health benefits of cypress wood are aplenty, so these trees are cut down to make therapeutic woodblocks. You just have to drop them into your bath water and wait for the aromatic scent to waft through the air. Then immerse yourself in the water and wait for your body and soul to be rejuvenated.
Apparently, these woodblocks not only soothe frazzled nerves but also disinfect the skin and kill bacteria, so be prepared to embrace a whole new refreshing you!
No visit to Mie would be complete if you do not pay a visit to Ise Jingu. After soaking in the calming ambiance of this shrine, you may want to consider buying Nagamochi, oblong rice cakes that are known to be a signature snack.
As these rice cakes consist of red bean paste and are lightly grilled, they offer a layered, intricate taste. The combination of the chewy sweet paste and crispy rice cake is simply sublime! Best to stock up on these heavenly snacks to remind yourself of your Mie trip.
Sake is growing in popularity around the world as it is a versatile beverage that can be paired with anything, from meat and seafood to cocktails and even desserts. Gourmands will be pleased to find out that Mie has 35 sake breweries that produce a panoply of delicious sake as they make use of pristine waters from the mountains as well as premium rice like Yamada Nishiki. Hence, you will definitely find sake that appeals to your taste buds.
Here are just some of the breweries you should check out: Ota Brewery, Shimizu Seizaburo Shoten, and Miyazaki Honten, among others.
Mie is also well known for its tea production. In fact, it is ranked third among all 47 prefectures. Local tea farmers invest a lot of effort into making sure that Ise tea has a distinctive flavor. For example, they cover the tea leaves with a dark cloth for two weeks before picking them; this has the effect of reducing their bitterness. In addition, they steam the leaves for a long time so as to bring out a more mellow flavor. The perfect souvenir for those who do not like their tea bitter!
A trip to Mie not only presents you with one-of-a-kind cultural experiences but also contributes to your spiritual growth. With top-notch tools as well as delicious foods and beverages readily available, be ready to part with some serious cash and indulge in retail therapy!