Taking a Break from the Metropolitan Cities of Japan at the Mie Prefecture

Foreign travelers who have had their fill of Japan’s busy, urban cities of Tokyo and Osaka can choose to travel to many other areas of the country. Japan has an abundance of natural beauty that comes in the form of hot springs, mountainous terrain, and lush forests, among many other rustic sceneries. One of the best places to go to for a break from the metropolitan life is the Mie Prefecture of the Kansai Region.

An Overview of Mie, Japan

The Mie Prefecture, or Mie-ken, is referred to as a rural area, with 35% of it being regarded as Natural Parks. It completes the eastern portion of the Kii Peninsula and borders the prefectures of Wakayama, Nara, Kyoto, Shiga, Gifu, and Aichi. Due to its location, it is also considered to be a part of the Tokai Region.

It measures about 80 kilometers in width and 170 kilometers in length. The main geographical highlights of the prefecture include the Suzuka Mountains, the Ise Plain, the Shima Peninsula, the Iga Basin, and the Nunobiki Mountainous Regions. A total of twenty-nine municipalities make up the prefecture:


  • Iga

  • Inabe

  • Ise

  • Kameyama

  • Kumano

  • Kuwana

  • Matsusaka

  • Nabari

  • Owase

  • Shima

  • Suzuka

  • Toba

  • Tsu (the capital city of the Mie Prefecture)

  • Yokkaichi

Districts & Towns:

  • District of Inabe - Toin

  • District of Kitamuro - Kihoku

  • District of Kuwana - Kisosaki

  • District of Mie - Asahi, Kawagoe, Komono

  • District of Minamimuro - Kiho, Mihama

  • District of Taki - Meiwa, Odai, Taki

  • District of Watarai - Minamiise, Taiki, Tamaki, Watarai

History of Mie, Japan

Before the Meiji Restoration, the Mie Prefecture was composed of three provinces – the Iga Province, the Shima Province, and the Ise Province – and were part of the Kii Province.

According to historical artifacts and information, the area of Mie has been inhabited by humans for over 10,000 years. It is believed that agricultural communities lived along the coastal areas or rivers of the region during the Jomon and Yayoi Periods.

By the Edo Period, the region housed feudal domains that each had its own designated Lord. Several developments were also made including the transport systems, port towns, castle towns, and posting stations.

The three provinces that made up the eastern section of the Kii Province were reorganized numerous times after the Meiji Restoration. In the year 1871, the area stretching from the Kiso Three Rivers to the city of Tsu was declared to be the Anotsu Prefecture.  Subsequently, the area located south of the Anotsu Prefecture was regarded as the Watarai Prefecture.

During 1872, the Anotsu Prefecture was reorganized to include Yokkaichi instead of Tsu and was renamed as the Mie Prefecture. The following year, the prefectural seat of Mie was returned to the city of Tsu in the hope of potentially merging with the Watarai Prefecture.

Accordingly, the southern prefecture merged with the Mie Prefecture in 1876, completing its current geographical scope.

Weather Conditions & Climate of Mie, Japan

The weather conditions and climate of the Mie Prefecture are similar to those of lying on the Pacific side of Japan. Tourists can expect hot summers and cold winters, with temperatures going as high as 30 degrees Celsius during July and August but rarely below freezing, as reported by AccuWeather RealFeel Temperature.

A significant amount of precipitation is experienced by the southern section of the prefecture throughout the year. The coastal area is showered by tons of rainfall from June to July.

A Tourism Guide for Mie, Japan – Sightseeing Destinations, Tunnel of Lights, and More

Kumano Kodo

The Kumano Kodo refers to several pilgrimage routes spread throughout the Kii Peninsula. These trails were and continue to be used by pilgrims journeying to Kumano Sanzan, the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano (Kumano Hayatama Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha, and Kumano Hongu Taisha).

Three sub-routes known as Iseji, Kohechi, and Kiji make up the Kumano Kodo. The Iseji route connects the Ise Grand Shrine and the Kumano Sanzan and the Kohechi route connects the Koyasan and the Kumano Sanzan. The Kiji route splits into two at Tanabe City forming the start of the Nakahechi and Ohechi routes, which continue to run along the western coast of the Kii Peninsula.

Address: Nakahechicho / Hongucho / Nachikatsuuracho, 646-0000

Iga Ueno Castle

The Iga Ueno Castle also goes by the name Ueno Castle and Hakuho Castle. It dates back to the year 1585 when Takigawa Katsutoshi ordered for the commencement of its construction. Other structures of the castle were renovated and redesigned by Katsuhoshi’s successors Tsutsui Sadatsugu and Todo Takatora.

The walls of the castle were made taller by Takatora, reaching up to 30 meters in length. As such, the Iga Ueno Castle holds the record for being Japan’s tallest castle up to this day.

Address: 106 Uenomarunouchi, Iga 518-0873, Mie Prefecture

Ise Grand Shrine

The Ise Grand Shrine, or Ise Jingu, is dedicated to Amaterasu, the Shinto sun goddess. It is actually a massive shrine complex that houses a total of 125 Shinto shrines. The two main shrines of the complex are known as Naiku (the inner shrine) and Geku (the outer shrine), which serve as the borders for the other shrines.

Every October, the shrine complex hosts the Kannamesai Festival. This celebration is done to show gratitude to Amaterasu for blessing them with a fruitful harvest. As such, the first harvests are used as offerings to the sun goddess.

Address: Ise 516-0023, Mie Prefecture

Ise-Shima National Park

The Ise-Shima National Park is one of Mie Prefecture’s designated Natural Parks. It houses several natural areas and cultural sites including Ago Bay, Ise Grand Shrine, Kami-shima, Kashiko-jima, Kongosho-ji, Matoya Bay, Meoto Iwa, and Toshi-jima

Address: N/A

Mikimoto Pearl Island

The Mikimoto Pearl Island, or Mikimoto Shinju Jima, is situated in the Ise Bay. It is considered to be the birthplace of culture pearl farming. The small island is owned by the Mikimoto Pearl Museum Co., Ltd., who primarily runs it as a tourist attraction.

There is a Pearl Museum within the area that showcases various pearl items. Some of the collection’s highlights include a pearl crown, a miniature replica of the Himeji Castle made from pearls, diamonds, and other gems, and a globe featuring over 12,500 pearls.

Address: 1-7-1 Toba, Toba 517-8511 , Mie Prefecture

Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination (Tunnel of Lights)

The Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination is better known as the Tunnel of Lights. The park, Nabana no Sato, hosts the annual event from October to May. An estimated total of 8.5 million LED lights is used to illuminate the flower park.

Address: 270 Komae Urushibata, Nagashimacho, Kuwana 511-1144, Mie Prefecture

Nagashima Spa Land

The Nagashima Spa Land, which also goes by the name Nagashima Supa Rando, is one of Mie Prefecture’s popular amusement parks. In fact, the park placed 18th in the list of the world’s most visited amusement parks. It houses several roller coaster rides, kid rides, a water park, and a gigantic Ferris wheel, measuring 90 meters in height and 83 meters in diameter.

Address: 333 Nagashimacho Urayasu, Kuwana 511-1192, Mie Prefecture


Saiku is a village situated northwest of the Ise Grand Shrine. It is also referred to as Itsukinomiya and Bamboo Palace.

During the Asaka Period and Nanboku-cho Period, the village served as the residence of the Saio, or Itsuki no Miko, which is a term used to refer to an unmarried female member of the Imperial Family. Back then, the Saio served at the Ise Grand Shrine on the emperor’s behalf.

When the Saio system ended, the village of Saiku was converted back into a rice-farming area. At present, it continues to exist as part of the town of Meiwa of the Taki District.

Address: Saiku, Taki-gun, Meiwa-cho 515-0321, Mie Prefecture

Sakakibara Onsen

The Sakakibara Onsen is among Japan’s most famous hot springs. Its clear waters are believed to provide numerous beneficial effects that are good for the body and soul. The onsen is classified to be an alkaline onsen which treats ailments such as diabetes, fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, and gynecological diseases.

Address: Sakakibaracho, Tsu 514-1251, Mie Prefecture

Suzuka Circuit

The Suzuka Circuit, officially referred to as the Suzuka International Racing Course, is a motorsport race track managed by the Mobilityland Corporation, which serves as a subsidiary of the Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

It was developed during the late 1950s and is among the few race tracks that feature a figure eight design. The circuit formally opened its doors to the public on 1962 and has since undergone several modifications.

Address: 7992 Inocho, Suzuka 510-0201, Mie Prefecture

Yoshino-Kumano National Park

The Yoshino-Kumano National Park is another designated National Park in the Mie Prefecture. It is comprised of non-contiguous places from the prefecture of Wakayama, Nara and, of course, Mie. The borders of Owase, Kumano, Mihama, Kiho, and Odai of the Mie Prefecture are crossed by the park.

Some of the National Park’s notable points of interest include the Nachi Falls, Kushimoto Marine Park, Kumano Hongu Taisha, Mount Omine, and Mount Yoshino.

Address: N/A

Yunoyama Onsen

The Yunoyama Onsen is a hot spring resort situated near Gozaisho-daki or Mount Gozaisho. It is considered to be a part of the Suzuka Quasi-National Park. Since the Nara Period, the onsen has served as a popular tourist destination for many locals and foreigners coming from Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagoya. The resort can easily be reached from the said areas through the Kintetsu Yunoyama Line.

Address: Komono, Mie-gun, Komono-cho 510-1233, Mie Prefecture

Mie, Japan – Map & Access (Nearest Airport, Railway Systems, Etc.)

Tourists can access the Mie Prefecture in various ways such as by air, by train, or by bus. The region is connected to other areas through multiple rail systems, expressways, and ports, which offer travelers a wide array of options to consider:

By Air:

By Gryffindor stitched by Marku1988This image was created with Hugin - , CC BY 3.0, Link

Foreign visitors who want to reach the prefecture directly are advised to look for trips that connect to the Chubu Centrair International Airport. This airport is located down south of the city of Nagoya and is about an hour or two away from the Mie Prefecture.

By Train:

The Mie Prefecture features several rail line systems that connect it to other regions in Japan. Tourists can catch a train through the following lines and get off at various stations, depending on where they want to go:

  • JR Central - Kansai Line, Kisei Line, Sangu Line, Kansai Line

  • JR West - Kusatsu Line

  • Kintetsu - Nagoya Line, Osaka Line, Yamada Line, Toba Line, Shima Line, Yunoyama Line, Uchibe Line, Hachioji Line, Suzuka Line

  • Yoro Railway

The Yoro Railway connects the Ibigawa City of the Gifu Prefecture and the Kuwana City of the Mie Prefecture by crossing the Yoro Mountains on its northeastern side.

  • Iga Railway

The Iga Railway, or Iga Line, has fifteen stations across the city of Iga in the Mie Prefecture, starting from the Iga-Kambe Station all the way up to the Iga-Ueno Station.

  • Ise Railway

The Ise Railway, or Ise Line, connects the cities of Tsu, Suzuka, and Yokkaichi of the Mie Prefecture. It has a total of ten stations spread across a length of 22.3 kilometers.

  • Sangi Railway

The Sangi Railway was originally established to serve as a freight line for cement distribution. It is now used as a commuter railway line for people going to or coming from the city of Yokkaichi.

By Bus or Car: 

Tourists may choose to take a bus or car to the Mie Prefecture through various expressway and highway map routes including:

  • East Meihan Expressway

  • Second Meishin Expressway

  • Ise Expressway

  • Ise Bayside Expressway

  • Meihan Highway

  • National Highway Route 1

  • National Highway Route 23

  • National Highway Route 25

  • National Highway Route 42

  • National Highway Route 163

  • National Highway Route 164

  • National Highway Route 165

  • National Highway Route 167

  • National Highway Route 258

  • National Highway Route 301

  • National Highway Route 311

  • National Highway Route 365

  • National Highway Route 421

  • National Highway Route 422

  • National Highway Route 425

  • National Highway Route 477

By Ferry:

The Mie Prefecture has four main ports that are accessible by ferries coming from the Chubu Centrair International Airport and other areas:

  • Yokkaichi Port

  • Tsu Port

  • Matsuzaka Port

  • Toba Port