Mie Prefecture, located in the Kansai Region of Central Japan is an area rich in nature, history and culture. It is blessed with beautiful mountains and stunning coastlines with an abundance of fun activities for the keen traveller. Mie Prefecture manages to find a great balance of both traditional sights and modern attractions.
In my second “Fun Things to do” article, I will highlight some of the fun places to visit in this amazing prefecture. I hope you can add them to your list the next time you are in the Kansai Region of Japan.
Ise Azuchi-Momoyama Bunkamura
Ise Azuchi-Momoyama Bunkamura is a samurai theme park in Ise City that recreates the buildings and customs of old Japan in a bygone period of Japanese history. The Azuchi-Momoyama period was from 1573 to 1603 towards the end of the Warring States period and just before the Edo period, the golden age of the samurai.
Photo: Japan Australia on Flickr
The theme park is built like a small castle town with many fun attractions and activities including a spectacular live ninja show, ninja trick maze, ninja museum, Japanese haunted house, and a full size replica of Oda Nobunaga’s famous Azuchi Castle. The castle is truly impressive with a seven-story high main keep and sparkling golden turret. Take the fun to the next level by renting a period costume for the day. Popular choices include samurai warrior, ninja and Japanese princess. You can even try your hand at some cool Japanese weaponry that was popular in the era.
Take a step back in time at Ise Azichi-Momoyama Bunkamura for a fun and interactive experience of Japanese history and culture.
Shima Spain Village Parque Espana
Shima Spain Village Parque Espana is a Spanish style theme park that allows you to experience a little bit of Spain on the beautiful coastline of Shima in Mie Prefecture.
Photo: 246-You on Flickr
The theme park features all your usual attractions such as thrilling rollercoasters, huge parade, character shows, and adventure rides. You won’t fine Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck here, but will find some cute Spanish themed characters. The park is a breath of fresh air and very unique and different to your typical Disney or Universal Studios experience. The park has a large number of Spanish staff who add to the great atmosphere of the place. Restaurants feature genuine Spanish food and there are many cool souvenirs to be found at the many shops located around the park.
Shima Spain Village Parque Espana is a fun theme park full of charm that gives you a little taste of Spain in Central Japan.
Toba Aquarium is a large public aquarium located along the waterfront of Toba Bay in Toba City, Mie Prefecture. The aquarium is home to 12 different zones that reproduce natural environments, housing 1,200 species and 30,000 marine animals from local and distant oceans, seas and rivers.
Photo: foooomio on Flickr
Toba Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in Japan and is a lot of fun for the whole family. Highlights include the famous Dugongs, called mermaids of the ocean, and the spectacular Sea Lion show.
This is a place where you can easily spend several hours exploring all that it has to offer.
Nabana no Sato
Nabana no Sato is a theme park dedicated to flowers, located on the island of Nagashima in Kuwana City. The park is most famous for its seasonal flower shows, but also puts on one of the best and most spectacular winter illuminations in all of Japan.
Photo: Japan Australia on Flickr
The main focus of Nabana no Sato is the flowers but you will also find an onsen, a variety of restaurants and some interesting traditional shops. I recommend the full size German Beer Hall with its three types of locally brewed beer.
The flowers change throughout the year so you can visit several times and always see a different display. Popular seasonal events include the Cherry Blossoms and Tulips in spring, Rose Festival during May/June and Hydrangea (ajisai matsuri) in early summer.
Nagashima Spa Land
Nagashima Spa Land is a major amusement park located close to Nabana no Sato in Kuwana City. It is one of the biggest amusement parks in Japan with some pretty cool rollercoasters, thrill rides, a giant Ferris wheel and a water park. The rollercoasters here are reputed to be the best in Western Japan with the park one of the most visited amusement parks in the world.
Photo: Kyota on Flickr
Nagashima Spa Land has over forty rides ranging from gentle ones for the wee little ones to huge exhilarating ones for the thrill seekers out there. A highlight is “Steel Dragon 2000”, once the world’s fastest rollercoaster and currently the world’s longest rollercoaster track at 2.5 km.
If rides and rollercoasters aren’t your thing, you can always indulge in some retail therapy at the outlet shopping mall located next door, called Jazz Dream Nagashima. The outlet mall offers around 240 stores with world renowned brands.
Mie Prefecture is one of the most fun places to visit in Japan with everything from historic castles and shrines to modern aquariums and theme parks. Located in a beautiful part of Japan surrounded by mountains and coastline. I hope you will visit this amazing place on your next trip.
Photo: Banzai Hiroaki on Flickr
Mie Prefecture is easily accessible from anywhere in Central Japan using either the Kintetsu or JR (Japan Rail) train lines. From Tokyo you can catch the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya and then transfer to either the Kintestu or JR line into Mie.