What to See in Ise: Okage Yokocho
September 8, 2016
Okage Yokocho is an area next to Ise Grand Shrine that in many ways outshines its more famous counterpart. The district was created in 1993 when old buildings from the pilgrimage routes to Ise Grand Shrine were moved to outside the shrine to create a neighborhood with a traditional feel. The result has been a spectacular success, and the area is home to good food and drink, music performances, and a variety of authentic Japanese goods that make great gifts. People may be drawn to the area because of the shrine, but it is often Okage Yokocho that people enjoy the most.
Okage Yokocho is home to a professional drum group that performs throughout the day on the weekends. These free performances last about fifteen minutes and are held beneath a tower in the heart of the area.
Ise Kadoya Beer
Ise Kadoya is a craft brewery that has a
shop near Okage Yokocho, on Oharai-machi Street. Five varieties of beer are on
tap for 500 yen, and customers can also try oysters, which are a local
In addition to oysters mentioned above, Ise udon is especially popular, with its thick noodles and unique sauce, as well as Tekone sushi, which is marinated skipjack tuna over rice.
For Japanese sweets, don’t miss Akafuku Honten, a famous confectionary shop over a century old. Its Akafuku mochi is pounded rice topped with a sweet red bean paste. Another famous local sweet is Henba mochi.
The area is filled with shops that specialize in a variety of Japanese goods. Pictured above are hand cloths called tenugui. People visiting can also find wooden toys, chopsticks, glass products, wooden carvings, green tea, and other traditional items.
Okage Yokocho can be accessed from Ise Station by taking bus 51 or 55 to Naiku-mae bus stop. The ride takes 20 minutes and costs 430 yen.
9:30 to 5:30pm (March - July, October)
9:30 to 6pm (August - September)
9:30 to 5pm (November - February)
Christopher lives and works in Mie Prefecture. He enjoys traveling and photography and is interested in Japanese history and religion.