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Culture & Traditions

Mie – A Charming Alternative to Modern Japan

 

Japan is globally renowned as a nation steeped in a culture that combines both tradition and modernity. Thousands of years as an isolated island country allowed Japan to undergo various cultural evolutions in solitude, creating a truly unique traditional culture. As connections with other countries grew, Japanese tradition was influenced and altered to create the unique culture of modern Japan, evident in its combination of traditional concepts with the latest technology and art that astound the rest of the world.

Discover authentic Japan in Mie

Discover authentic Japan, away from the country´s noisy cities and busy tourist spots. Get a taste of what it is like to experience the “True Japan”, while enjoying space and a relaxed pace of life. Lush mountains, crystal clear streams flowing from valleys to the sea, beautiful coves, small and large islands. . . Surrounded by the sea and mountains, Mie is a land where people have lived in harmony with nature since ancient times and visitors come in contact with the spirituality, rich culture and deep traditions of Japan.

In Mie, the spirit of continuity advances, while preserving fine traditions and handing them down to succeeding generations, and a spirit of harmony that generously accepts diversity regardless of race, generation or gender, have been cultivated. As such, Mie is a place where tradition and innovation co-exist.

Meet the locals in Mie, they are authentic and traditional. Their friendliness is amazing, and their warm hospitality is second to none. Centuries-old traditions are kept alive by tea masters, weavers, and locals, who are genuinely delighted to welcome outsiders into their postcard-perfect idyll. You’re bound to feel the Omotenashi hospitality (the Japanese mindset of hospitality, wholeheartedly looking after guests), especially on your travels to Mie. The interaction with Japanese people in Mie will create memories for a lifetime.

Mie truly boasts a long spiritual history unlike any other prefecture

Japan has around 100,000 Shinto shrines and 80,000 Buddhist temples. Some are architectural wonders while others are quiet neighborhood spots that offer ceremony, rituals and festivals to their communities. Grand Ise Shrine, the holiest shrine of all, is located in Shima, Mie. More than 8 million people visit this 2000-year-old sacred site every year to worship Amaterasu Omikami, the ancestral goddess of the Japanese imperial family and the country’s most important deity.

The ancient “Iseji” route of the World Heritage listed Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, which is one of only two pilgrimage World Heritage Sites – Camino de Santiago being the other one – links Ise Grand Shrine with the Kumano Sanzan.

Traditional Ama Culture is still alive in Mie

The coasts of Ise-Shima are also home to Japan’s greatest number of Ama women divers, who brave rugged, wind-ravaged shores to continue offering sacred abalone. Despite fears of a decline in the practice due to persistent modernization and aging population ageing, there are still close to 1,000 women actively working as Ama divers in the region. Meet these amazing female skin-diving fishers in the authentic Ama Hut Hatchiman where the traditional Ama culture is still alive.

Mie is also well-known as the place where the world’s history of cultured pearls started. The king of pearls, Mikimoto Kokichi,  was the first in the world to successfully culture pearls.  His great enterprise, however,  could not have made it without the existence of ama pearl divers. Today, Mikimoto Pearl Island is the only place where you can see ama divers doing their work, wearing their traditional white diving suits.

Looking to immerse yourself in Japan’s unique culture, amazing traditions and stunning natural environment?

Begin your journey of endless discovery in Mie, guaranteeing authentic experiences and showcasing traditional Japan with untouched rural communities and old traditions kept alive. Additional Plus – unlike many other off the beaten path destinations, getting to Mie is painless!