Oharai machi is known to be a cathedral town in the Ise City of Mie Prefecture which runs between the entrance to the Inner Shrine and Prefectural Route 32. It is actually a small side street which is home to many vendors selling specialty goods and restaurants serving delicious meals. With souvenir shops and well-established confectionery stores also lining the street.
Oharai machi is a flourishing town which was completely built in 1993 consisting of historical buildings dating back to the Edo and Meiji Periods. It is almost a kilometer long and became the center of commercialization.
It is full of surprises which make it popular among tourists along with its authentic charm and old traditional buildings. The area is also popular for drum performances, museums and “kamishibai” or picture stories.
In the middle of Oharai machi is Okage yoko-cho which serves as the home to historical shops selling various goods ranging from mobile phone straps to pickles, and sweets, as well as hands-on activities such as making fish sausages and shooting galleries. It is also one of the best places to try unique and delicious Japanese cuisines.
Oharai machi is also located near Ise Grand Shrine (officially known as Jingu), venerated to the Goddess Amaterasu, which makes it an ideal destination for pilgrims. When it comes to food, “akafuku” is the town’s specialty consisting of mochi rice paste, red bean paste, and thick udon noodles. It is a must-try!
As a commercial place significant to business, it is open throughout the year. Every store has individual business hours with most open from 9:30 to 18:00. Closing time is earlier during the winter months (October to March). For people who like pilgrimages and shopping all in one area, this is no doubt the best destination in Japan. With easy access by bus from Ise-shi station, be sure to check it out!