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Bus > Ise (Japan Hot Spots Guide) > Ise Shrine and Meoto Iwa Tour

course
Sample Route

Ise Shrine and Meoto Iwa Tour
Introducing a course centering around Iseshi Station and visiting Ise Shrine and Okage Yokocho, then Ise Azuchi Momoyama Cultural Village (Ise Azuchimomoyama Bunkamura) and Meoto Iwa!
Enjoy Ise to the fullest with a route that includes classic Japan at Ise Shrine, Japanese food at Okage Yokocho, and dressing up like a samurai or ninja at Ise Azuchi Momoyama Cultural Village. Finally, delight in the view of the sea of Japan and the Meoto Iwa. Use this route for ideas when building your own itinerary.
1

9:00 Iseshi Ekimae (in front of Iseshi Station)

9:00 Iseshi Ekimae (in front of Iseshi Station)
We boarded the overnight bus from Tokyo and arrived in front of Iseshi Station.
Highway coach buses have been innovating, and you can select from seats that are easy on the back and legs. There are also added comforts for female travelers seeking comfort and safety.
We slept like rocks, and now we're in Ise and ready to, well, "rock!"
walk

Walk (approximately 10 minutes)

2

9:15 Ise Shrine Geku ("the outer shrine")

9:15 Ise Shrine Geku ("the outer shrine")
A leisurely stroll to Ise Shrine's Geku, or outer shrine.
It was surprisingly close to the station.
The Sengukan at the outer shrine was replete with historic exhibits on Ise Shrine and quite a sight to see.

Spot detail

walk

Walk (approximately 10 minutes)

Walk (approximately 10 minutes)
For our next stop, we've decided to head to Matsuo Kannon-ji Temple to leave an ema (a small wooden plaque on which worshippers write prayers) to bring us good luck on the matchmaking front.
There is a touring bus that leaves from the outer shrine that we will catch to get there. The ride takes about 10 minutes.

This bus makes a circuit around the area and is very convenient, making stops at Iseshi Station, the Kawasaki Shoninkan ("Kawasaki Merchant Museum"), which preserves the feel of an Edo period(1603-1868) merchants' quarters, and the Meoto Iwa.
bus

Bus (approximately 10 minutes)

3

11:30 Matsuo Kannon-ji Temple

11:30 Matsuo Kannon-ji Temple
We dedicated matchmaking ema plaques at the shrine. Here's hoping we meet the one!
The plaque bears the character en (meaning "relationship" or "bond"). The design is quite snazzy, though, isn't it?
We picked our fortunes together, but we both got chukichi ("moderate luck") -- nothing to write home about!

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bus

Bus (approximately 10 minutes)

Bus (approximately 10 minutes)
We got back on the Sangu Bus and took it from Matsu Kannon-ji Temple to Geku-mae.
Next is a transfer to the touring bus at the same stop and a trip to Ise Shrine Naiku, the "inner shrine."

The bus makes a convenient circuit of Ise Azuchi Momoyama Cultural Village, the Meoto Iwa, and the Toba area, so it's perfect for seeing the Ise Shrine environs.
bus

Bus (approximately 10 minutes)

4

12:15 Ise Shrine Naiku

12:15 Ise Shrine Naiku
We were blown away by the fact that the inner shrine has retained the same appearance since time immemorial.
Shrouded in greenery, the inner shrine is tranquil and stately, making you feel as if your soul has been cleansed.
There is a set of stones in the inner shrine known as "Mitsuishi" that are famous as a so-called "power spot", since it is alleged that you can feel warmth if you wave your hand over them.
Even former Prime Minister Aso purportedly felt energy after waving his hand over "Mitsuishi".

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walk

Walk (approximately 10 minutes)

5

13:30 Okage Yokocho

13:30 Okage Yokocho
We are starting to get hungry, so it is off to Okage Yokocho for some eating and a stroll!
With all the tasty-looking food - Henba mochi, rich fried cheese stick, unohana donuts - we can’t make up our minds.

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walk

Walk (approximately two minutes)

6

13:30 Sushikyu (Tekone-zushi)

13:30 Sushikyu (Tekone-zushi)
After a snack, we decided to make a lunch of Tekone-zushi, a Mie specialty.
Tekone-zushi is a kind of sushi with raw red-meat fish marinated in a sauce and mixed with vinegared rice.
Tekone-zushi is said to have originated in the Shima area as a meal that bonito tuna fishermen could easily make, allegedly beginning when these fishermen mixed together chunked bonito fish and seasonings with the vinegared rice they brought along with them (the name Tekone-zushi is said to come from the words te, meaning "hand," and koneru, meaning to "knead" or "mix," since the fishermen mixed the rice and fish together by hand).

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walk

Walk (approximately two minutes)

7

15:00 Akafuku mochi Honten

15:00 Akafuku mochi Honten
For dessert, we had Akafuku mochi from Akafuku mochi Honten, which is famous for souvenirs when traveling back from Ise! The Honten, or "main store", was built in 1877 and carries on the feel of an old monzen-jaya (a tea house in front of the gate to shrines, temples, and castles) to this day.

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walk

Travel on foot (approximately five minutes)

8

15:10 Naiku-mae

15:10 Naiku-mae
We next returned to the touring bus stop and went back to Naiku-mae, where we then headed out to Ise Azuchi Momoyama Cultural Village.
bus

Bus (approximately 20 minutes)

9

15:40 Ise Azuchi Momoyama Cultural Village

15:40 Ise Azuchi Momoyama Cultural Village
We arrived at the Ise Azuchi Momoyama Cultural Village, a theme park where you can experience the history and culture of the Azuchi-Momoyama period (circa 1558 to 1600) firsthand.
With a townscape that looks like it came right out of a Japanese period drama, the village is jam-packed with attractions such as ninja action shows, live action theater, a ninja house, and a haunted house.
At the "Makeover Photo Building", you can choose from 100 kinds of Azuchi-Momoyama period garb to dress up in! Talk about fun!

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bus

Bus (approximately 10 minutes)

10

17:00 Futami Okitama Shrine and Meoto Iwa

17:00 Futami Okitama Shrine and Meoto Iwa
Meoto Iwa (literally, "the married couple rocks") are a symbol of marital harmony and a so-called "power spot" for love and romance. The two rocks, one big and one small, are tied together with shimenawa, ropes made of rice straw commonly used in the Shinto religion. This structure apparently acts like a torii gate (usually found outside of Shinto shrines) for worshipping the Sun. They say that you can even see Mt. Fuji when the weather is nice!
There were loads of frog statues around Meoto Iwa. The statues, playing on the word for frog in Japanese, kaeru - which can also mean "return" - were allegedly dedicated as talismans to, for example: "return safely", "have lost items returned", and "return to youth".

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walk

Walk

hotel

Stay overnight near Futami

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Highway bus plan

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