First Shrine visit of the year – Hatsumode

New Year's is one of the most important holidays on the Japanese calendar. During the Edo period and the old way of counting, everyone was one year old at birth (because they counted the...

Japan`s World Heritage Sites: Kumano Pilgrimage Route

The World's Most Picturesque Pilgrimage If you take just one pilgrimage - or perhaps just a long hike - in your life, you won't find a more scenic one than here. Though a slight trek off the...

Toba: A Small Fisherwoman’s Village

The home of pearls and Ama-zing female divers Most of our readers have probably never heard of Toba, a small fishing village in Mie Prefecture, not too far from Ise Town. The name Mikimoto however, might...

Restaurant Review: Ise Katsura

Divine Dining At The Spiritual Center Of Japan Ise Grand Shrine's outer shrine (Geku), enshrines Toyouke no Omikami, the goddess of agriculture and industry. She is enshrined here to offer sacred food to Amaterasu, the sun...

Akafuku, Mochi Heaven

The inside-out mochi It is not exactly known when Akafuku - one of the oldest mochi (Japanese rice cake) brands still going strong today - was founded, but the oldest document referring to its existence...