5 Family-Friendly Activities To Check Out In Mie Prefecture | CoolJapan
While Mie is famous for being the home of Ise Jingu, a shrine known to be the 'soul of Japan', there are plenty of other reasons to visit this prefecture. From sightseeing at the beautiful Ise Shima Bay known for Japanese pearls to surveying an entire museum dedicated to the way of the ninja, here are five family-friendly activities to do in Mie to add to your itinerary.

Take a cruise around the "Doro-kyo" Valley 

Doro-kyo Valley in autumn

Doro-kyo Valley in autumn (Photo from: mac1912)

Situated in eastern Wakayama at the border of Nara and Mie prefectures, the Doro-kyo Valley is a 31KM-long ravine along the Kitayama-gawa River. Designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty, this valley was formed over centuries of powerful erosion, creating a dramatic landscape of gigantic rocks and vertical cliffs. The best way to enjoy this magnificent scenery is to hop on a cruise that takes you on a languorous tour along the emerald-green waters.

Enjoy thrills and spills at the Nagashima Spa Land 

This sprawling resort includes several attractions for the family — from outlet shopping to a verdant Flower Park — but the main draw is, of course, Nagashima Spa Land. The amusement park offers over 40 adrenaline-pumping rides, including one that does a full vertical loop. For something a little less high-octane, you may want to try the Ferris Wheel, which offers spectacular views of the Ise Bay. There is also a water park on-site to keep the young ones entertained.

Discover the way of the ninja at Iga-ryu Ninja Museum 

While there have been many movies and pop culture references about Japanese ninjas, not much is known about the history of these ancient intelligence officers. This museum may be small in size but is packed with information and exhibits depicting the reclusive lives of the ninja. Set within a typical ninja residence, guests are given a peek into the secret compartments, trapdoors and revolving walls that help ninjas maintain their stealth. You can also watch the experts demonstrate the different ninja tools such as the shuriken (a hidden hand blade) before trying your hand at throwing traditional ninja weapons.

Learn more about pearls at the Mikimoto Pearl Island 

Mikimoto Pearl Island

Mikimoto Pearl Island (Photo from: Mie Photo Library)

Mikimoto is a brand synonymous with saltwater cultured pearls and at this small island on Ise Bay, you can learn more about the process and history behind culturing pearls. From priceless antique jewellery studded with pearls to the relationship of pearls to science and industry, there’s plenty to keep the entire family engrossed for an entire afternoon. You can also watch performances by ama (traditional female divers) whose work used to involve ensuring seeded pearl oysters were not washed away by surging tides or typhoons. They did so by diving into the sea and meticulously moving the oysters to safer locations.

Hike the ancient pilgrim paths of the Kumano Kodo

Magose Toge on Kumano Kodo 

Magose Toge on Kumano Kodo (Photo from: Mie Photo Library)

Located in southern Mie and bordering Wakayama and Nara Prefectures, the Kumano area is a popular draw for travellers looking to traverse Japan’s mountainous landscapes. The UNESCO-listed Kumano Kodo is a crisscrossing network of ancient pilgrimage routes that takes you across several prefectures through idyllic countryside and tranquil forests. For something less strenuous, try the picturesque hike over Magose Pass. This 5KM-trek is part of the pilgrimage routes in the Kii mountain range and offers breathtaking views along the way.