We ♥ Kansai : What's It All About!?

Welcome Welcome いらっしゃいませ!(●´-`●)

January 09, 2014
Time for another update! Three years later, no less (weird phrasing there). It's been fun! So let's keep the good times rolling.

We ♥ Kansai is my small portion of cyberspace where I try to share as much information (remembered) about my life and time here in the Kansai area of Japan. Whether it's food, attractions or the language, I do my best to share and to be as honest and sincere as I can. I won't recommend places that aren't worth the time or money, but I also definitely want everyone to make their own decisions about where they would like to visit. I'm just playing devil's advocate I suppose. :)


★Things to Do★ A Trip to the Beaches of Kyotango

This summer was pretty laid back as we were both working full-time and never seemed to have the same days off. So before we got into the more crowded summer season in July/August, we took a trip to Kyotango in Kyoto to visit the Sea of Japan. It also happened to be Umi no hi (Sea Day) the following Monday, but since Shota has to work on every holiday, we only hung out for the weekend.

Kyotango is pretty far from the part of Osaka we live in. We’re right on the Osaka Bay while Kyotango is clear on the other side on the Sea of Japan. As such, the number of people beaching was significantly lower than beaches like Nishikinohama or Suma (I’ve never been to Suma, only heard horror stories). Also, being on the Sea of Japan, most Osakans seem to have very few positive things to say about it. ‘The Sea of Japan is very dark and cold.” “You’re much better off going to the Pacific Ocean, it’s much warmer.” “The fish from the Sea of Japan are delicious, but the beaches aren’t so good.”

On the way to Heikaisuiyokujo!!

I was really curious about the apparent apathy toward Sea of Japan, and began to worry about my weekend away. Would it totally bomb? What if the water was just dark and sad and only full of delicious fish? Should we re-route to Wakayama!? While very tempted to do so, I also new that a holiday weekend meant that tons of people would be flocking to Shirahama, and being the anti-social rebel that I am, I firmly decided in staying in the opposite direction of the crowd headed to Wakayama.

I am so glad I stuck with that idea because Kyotango is beautiful!! And lacking in large groups of people! Ugggh, it’s my little slice of heaven here in Kansai, for reals.

Sitting at a small Umi-no-Ie in Heikai

While it is possible to take the train to Kyotango, it looks like the closest stations are Amino and Kitsuonsen, and you would still need a bus/taxi to get to the beach. Therefore, I think this is trip best left to the automobilically (wat) mobile. Luckily, renting a car in Japan is almost as easy as ordering pizza online (though both can be exceedingly frustrating at times).

Most swimming areas are named and will have parking lots, beach-side food, toilets, showers, and even camping sites, for those into that. There are some beach-side hotels as well, but those are quite expensive. Up side, they usually include an equally expensive but delicious dinner or breakfast.
Lovely, CLEAN water at Heikai!

For our trip, getting some sun and saving money was the objective, so we kept the hotel on the cheap side (and 30 minutes away from the beach). That wasn’t a big deal though since we were able to check out a little history on the way (about the area of Kyotango and how it developed from its own ‘kuni’ into the area it is today).

While the small and intimate beaches of Kyotango don’t require much, I would definitely recommend some beach/water shoes. Most of the shore is covered with rocks covered in sea veg, so it can be quite slippery. This also means that there is quite a bit of sea life underfoot, so be careful not to step on anything cute or dangerous.

 My set included barazushi, which the Kyotango area is famous for :>

 Oyster! I forgot the name...

 Shota's fried pork set~

 We ate everything!

A bit of local Kyotango food at Torimatsu (とり松)!

Thanks to the Google gods, we were able to find a great restaurant where we could enjoy some local flavors like oyster and sashimi! And surprisingly, it was incredibly affordable! My meal set (pictured above) was under 2000 yen, and came with so many things to try! The oyster was 1100 yen or so on it’s own, and I have to admit that I much prefer mussels, but it was great to try. They also offer kaiseki meals (traditional Japanese meal sets) for a range of prices, but those might need a reservation. Anyway, I would definitely recommend Torimatsu to those of you driving through Kyotango! :>

Kamaihama! This was the only nice photo I got on my phone...

The two beaches we visited were 平海水浴場 (heikaisuiyokujo, website is JPN only) and 蒲井浜海水浴場 (kamaihamakaisuiyokujo, website JPN only). Both are in Kyotango, but on opposite sides of the peninsula (about 1+ hours away from each other). They’re not terribly huge, but they’re located in pretty isolated areas, leaving crowds to a minimum. The roads to Kamaihama are especially steep, with quite a few sharp turns, so I wouldn't recommend for drivers not used to Japanese roads.

Things to Bring 
Here is a rather small list of some things I thought you might want to take with you. You never realize how important these lists are until you start forgetting bits of it..

★ Blue Picnic sheets or lots of towels (the sand is HOT)
★ Water shoes
★ Fishing nets (if you're into that :> I think you have to return the fish tho)
★ BBQ sets (most beaches allow small grills!)
★ Fireworks (if allowed)
★ Inner tubes (they do sell them at some beaches and they're great for cruising out to rock formations)
★ Snorkling kit (a lot of beaches are filled with wild fish swimming about)

 A few moments of sunshine at Heikai.

This was my first trip to the Sea of Japan and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Kansai (Hyogo and Kyoto). You’ll have a much better (read: cleaner) time there than at any beach in Osaka.



★Summer in Osaka★ Why You Should (or Shouldn’t) Go to USJ This Summer

While I try to stay positive and tout all the amazing things there are to do in the Kansai area, every now and again, I just get so thoroughly dissatisfied with one (admittedly minute) part that I just have to vent. This was pretty apparent in my post about Spa World in Shin-Sekai, and though the experience at USJ was, in retrospect, not as bad, there was a noticeable drop in... quality I suppose, especially compared to previous trips.

For older blog posts about some of the cool things that go on at USJ, check out this Halloween Post, my first time at USJ, photos from the One Piece event in 2013, the post about One Piece Premiere Show 2013, or my recent trip for the One Piece Spring Event this year. This post will focus on the awesomeness (Sanji’s Restaurant), the still mostly pretty cool ( improved while simultaneously lacking), and the downright frustrating (MISTER POTTER *angry fist*).

This post also turned out much longer (read: rantier) that originally intended, so there’s a TL;DR below!

Sanji’s Restaurant

I think the single, best reason to go to USJ is for the One Piece-themed events! I have to admit that I don’t follow the show, and stopped reading the manga after I stopped getting Shonen JUMP, BUT I do enjoy the personalities of the characters and the way they interact. And that’s basically how the events work. The events from the show obviously influence what happens at the park (like Ace being not there :<), but the One Piece Premiere Show stories are completely separate. Similar to how the films work (I do enjoy watching the films)!

So it’s great for casual fans like myself, who enjoy the characters more than the show, and more hardcore fans like my BFF Aki, who has seen EVERYTHING. She’s a champ.

Sanji’s Restaurant is just one part of the multitudinous events at USJ. It is by online reservation ONLY, which means you cannot arrive the day of to get a ticket. You can’t even try to get the ticket 1 month before you plan to go as tickets tend to sell-out immediately. It is essential that you reserve your ticket as soon as reservations open if you want to go.

As far as English information goes, there is virtually none, aside from two news articles on the USJ English site. One was updated in February and the other is from May, and while the information does tell you where you can buy the tickets for the One Piece Premiere show, it doesn't tell you where to get Sanji’s Restaurant’s tickets or that those sites are only in Japanese, though I suppose it should be a given? Ish?

The Food

The meal itself is paid for in advance when you make your reservation online with adult meals at 4,100 yen and a child’s meal at 2,550 yen (tax included). The menu includes an appetizer, the main dish with chicken or fish (your choice), bread and desert. They did offer us a complimentary glass of orange juice or oolong tea when we entered, but any additional drinks, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, involve an extra fee starting from 400 yen.

The food wasn't very fancy, and I’m pretty sure the sauce used for the meat is the same sauce they use in the One Piece restaurant in Jurassic Park, but it’s not bad. And really, no one is there for the food anyway.

The desert was an Acai mousse topped with a pink heart-shaped macaron delivered by none other than Sanji himself. Together with the pre-recorded voice over, it was a little slice of what a bishie heaven must be like.

The Atmosphere

A shot from the Entrance.

The entire event takes about 80 minutes, and while the food is being brought out, you get to enjoy your own private One Piece show. This time, Zoro, Luffy, Nami and Law made appearances, which I hear is quite different from the Spring show which only featured Sanji, Chopper and one of the mermaid girls.

I've noticed that it's impossible to get a not-blurry photo of Luffy.

They’ll run around, using the prerecorded voices to interact with the guests, and they’ll even give out high-fives, toasts, or pop a squat next to you (when they’re hiding from Marines of course). I like to think of it as a small scale version of the Premiere Show where you can actually interact with the characters. Considering that the price for the two is almost the same, and only one of them includes food, Sanji’s Restaurant is a awesome deal and a must-see for One Piece fans visiting the Kansai area.

At the end of the event, each table gets to have a photo with the characters in attendance that day, and being that it is Sanji’s restaurant, he’s seated in the center. You can, of course, choose which character you want to stand by, but our faves for the day were Zoro and Sanji (you see that vice-grip Zoro has on Aki's head?? that's LOVEww).

One Piece Premiere Show

(photos aren't allowed during the show anymore, so enjoy these other random photos!)

This is my 3rd or 4th time going and my second trip this year (I went to the Spring show a couple months back when I dressed up like Brook). The Summer show was advertised as having a brand new show and an all around rise in presentation quality, and indeed it did! They've added a few more explosions, some cool CG graphics, and more characters (Buggy even showed up!).

The ‘meh’ side of the One Piece Premiere Show is the seating (they've also prohibited photos from this year, but it is easier to see without smartphones being waved in your face). The seats basically form a half-circle around the pool of water that acts like the stage (you can see what the stage looks like here). There are also poles, supporting the roof that covers the seating area, that essentially work as action blockers. What this means is that anything that happens right at the center of the seating area (there’s a small stage right in front of the middle isles), will probably be blocked by poles to the left and right. And what this means for the One Piece Premiere show is that a good amount of action is blocked for the 90 or so minutes that the show runs. They also tend to interact with the center crowd more than either side, which makes sense as those tickets cost more, but it’s not like the other seats are free either (actually, the price difference is only in intervals of 1000 yen or so, but it could have a big impact on how much of the show you can see). Our seats were 3,686 yen, and we were in the front row, but off to the far left, directly behind the pole. So, we ended up with moments where we just started off into space since we couldn't see anything. Those weren't the most exciting moments, so no real lost.

Anyway, I just feel like if they moved the characters around a bit more so that everyone gets a chance to see them once or twice, it would seem like getting your money’s worth. For now, I think the money is much better spent on Sanji’s Restaurant.

Wizarding Rocks from Harry Potter

Since we had some time before the One Piece Premiere Show, we thought it’d be cool to just SEE Hogwarts (ride times for the area were over 100 minutes), but they would only let people with applicable raffle tickets in so… we saw these rocks instead. SOB.

HP section for one of the souvenir shops near the Park Entrance.

We asked one of the staff about why this ridiculous system is in place, and she said it was to keep the area from getting overcrowded, but seeing as the wait times for HP attractions were even longer than the wait times for all the other USJ attractions, I don’t know if it’s working? AND some Harry Potter goods are ONLY sold in the Harry Potter area, you know, the same area you need a raffle ticket to get into in the first place. OHHH, I see USJ, you want my money, but not in any capacity that would be mutually beneficial. Got it.

Wizarding Ticketing System

There are TWO ticketing systems in place to get into the Harry Potter area and they are outlined here in English on USJ’s English site (I'll do a quick summary here too).

The first is the Time-Entry ticket system where you enter the park, line up and ask for an entry ticket that day. Timed-entry tickets appear to guarantee entry into HPland, but those are also only given out in limited quantities. You can also get a Timed-entry ticket in advance by buying the Universal Express booklet (which start at an extra 4,400 yen for HPland) or by using a travel agency when reserving your tickets. The travel agencies are listed (here at the bottom of the Tickets in Advanced tab), but most seem to operate solely in Asia. So basically, bring all yo' monies.

A pretty expensive set of Wand pens.

The second ticketing system comes into effect when there are no more Timed-entry tickets available. Since Timed-entry tickets can be purchased in advance, those looking to pick up a ticket the day of might already be out of luck, but if you really want to give it a go, I suggest entering the park as soon as it opens to use the Raffle (stand-by) ticket system. These can be picked up in the same area as the Timed-ticket entry, and the results can be checked with your phone (for those with a connection). The results will also be posted on small boards throughout the park.

So basically, if you’re coming to USJ just to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, best of luck to you (and you might not want to go in summer). Entry tickets may be unavailable if you arrive too late, and even if you get a (raffle) ticket, there is a possibility that your number may not be called. It seems like a rather poor way to entice people to see an attraction they might not get to see. Information is available in English on the website, and there are a few signs in the park as well, but it’s few and far between. There are some English speaking staff about, but I don’t know how reliable they are. :<

Other disappointing aspects were street shows appearing, seemingly randomly since there are no time tables posted, attractions not working (the Hollywood The Dream roller coaster was shut down about 30 minutes after we arrived at the park. It’s their only roller coaster), unexplained delays for attractions (at one point, the line stopped moving for over 20 minutes, and then we had to jump out of line because the Sanji event was starting), and inaccurate wait times posted in front of attractions (the supposed 25 minute wait for Space Fantasy The Ride turned into 60+ minutes). 

For Studio Pass holders, it’s not terrible, and expected in summer, but I can’t imagine the frustration anyone from out of town might feel coming to USJ. Compared to my experience at Disney Land and Disney Sea, I’m sad to say USJ still feels like it’s lacking (even the staff seem unwilling to work at times, unheard of in JP!) and I would definitely recommend Disneyland to those visiting Japan before USJ (sorry Kansai, but we gotta bring our A game).

My pass will be expire this September, and I’ll probably renew since I go to USJ for various events throughout the year, but… I’ll probably skip the rest of the summer season. Unless I buy a Universal Express book*!

*Except I probably won’t since the ones that include entry to HPland start at 4,400 yen. Egads! :<

The TL;DR Version:

I bought things USJ, but I'm still mad at you...

Sanji's Restaurant is awesome and a much better deal than the One Piece Premier Show, however tickets sell-out FAST so you have to make a reservation as soon as they open. You cannot even enter HPland without a ticket separate from your park ticket that can only be acquired in advance through agencies not connected to Universal Studios. The raffle tickets received in the park DO NOT GUARANTEE ENTRY INTO HPLAND.

Don't go to USJ in the summer. It's really hot and there are lines everywhere that require you to stand in the heat for way too long. By the time you sit on a ride, it'll probably be covered in someone else's sweat.

Here’s to a less-crowded summer elsewhere!


Extra photos will be uploaded to the W <3 Kansai tumblr


★Kansai to Chugoku★ Hiroshima City and Miyajima in a Day

I wouldn't say that I've grown tired of Kansai. That, quite frankly, is just not possible. But as Shota and I start to discuss plans of going to live in another country, I have realized that I better get out to see more of JP while I can. It’s been something of a bittersweet conversation. It will be a relief not to be surrounded by the daily squeals of pop idols and a blessing to be able to catch good TV when it comes out instead of whenever someone decides to license it here (this goes double for movies, ESPECIALLY independent films). But I would be wholly dishonest if I said I wouldn’t miss living here.

Hiroshima & Miyajima

Atomic Bomb Dome
Now, during a trip to my high school’s sister-school in Kanagawa Pref., we had the chance to travel around Japan for a week after home-stay. As a result, we got to see cities like Nikko, Kamakura, Yokohama, Nara, Kyoto, Himeiji, Hiroshima, and Miyajima, but, as it tends to go with group tours, time is limited and we were kind of rushed about.

So I've recently taken to revisiting some of these spots for a more quiet, or you could even say intimate, look around. The experience is also much different when you can communicate competently with the locals (and you're more likely to take chances on unknown trails/foods).

Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students
For this road trip, I was traveling with my mother and her boyfriend, and since we’d all been to Kyoto last time, we decided to travel a little further out to Hiroshima and Miyajima in Chugoku. For everyone besides myself, Shota included, this was their first time in Hiroshima.
BUT we also wanted to make this into a day-trip (bad idea), so we didn’t have the time to enter the HiroshimaPeace Memorial Museum. Instead, we went to see the Atomic Bomb Dome, and then we took a walk around the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall forAtomic Bomb Victims.

We also visited the Children's Peace Memorial,where people offer 1000 cranes for a world without nuclear warfare, and the Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students.

Ferry to Miyajima

It’s been 12 years since I last visited Miyajima, and it still looks like I remember it. Well, maybe it looks a little better because I didn’t have to worry about not having enough money or losing track of my mates.

Otori and Miyajima
After wandering out to the Otori to make a wish to become billionaires (or at least to be rid of college debt) we headed up to Toyokuni Shrine, the largest structure on Miyajima, and the Five-Storied Pagoda.

The unfinished Toyokuni Shrine! Yay Toyotomi Clan from Osaka-kuni :>

I’ve always been a huge history nut, but found Japanese history a bit cumbersome (it feels like the eras never end) but I recently had a chance to get to know the Sengoku Period better and thus, my love for Itsukushima Shrine has deepened that much further (also, yay Mori Clan). Sadly, thanks to Koei-TECMO, I now have a very warped view of what the men and women of the Sengoku Period looked like (almost certain suji-mori wasn’t in back then).

Anyway, one of the best parts about the shrines and temples on Miyajima is that you can walk around them, and the entry fee is very reasonable. We didn’t have the time to wander through with Mum (we were cutting it close to ferry time), so I’ll just save that for a later trip.

Itsukushima Shrine and the Otori from the ferry.

There were also more tourists now than there were back then, but we were also visiting during the weekend. It’s probably less lively on weekdays. Also, the last ferry back to the mainland is quite early, so if you’re looking to spend a significant amount of time on the island, you’ll need to either arrive earlier in the day, or plan to stay overnight (which I am definitely planning on doing again soon!).


To Hiroshima

The Expressway!
From Osaka/Nara/Kyoto/Hyogo, the easiest way to get to Hiroshima is by car, via the express way, or by bullet train. All rental cars come with car navigation or a car navi you can rent, but it can be a bit of a pain to search for the destination through the navi, so I would suggest having an address on hand or the phone number of the location. Also, most car navigation systems disable navigation functions with the car is in motion or not in Park, so be careful when trying to change the destination on the fly.

Taking the bullet train to Hiroshima is very easy as Hiroshima Station is one of the stops on the Tokaido/Sanyo/Kyushu Line. Unfortunately, unless you come from a JET budget or just don’t spend your money on anything else (or have a pass), taking the 2 hour trip on the bullet train is quite expensive (about 10,000 yen one way). Some cheaper options would be an express or night bus, which are pretty nice from what I hear. A quick Google search on prices has night buses starting at 2,800 yen, which is quite the deal, and saves daytime travel time so that you have more time for sightseeing.

To Miyajima
The ferry port for Miyajima is about 30 minutes by car from Hiroshima City. There is plenty of parking near the ferry, along with a couple hotels and some souvenir shops (but I think the better souvenirs are on Miyajima). There’s also a car ferry, if you need to take your vehicle with you, but otherwise, you can choose from 2 ferries to get you to Miyajima.
By train, it’s about another 30 minutes of travel time from Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Station on the JR Sanyo Line.

I have a ton more photos, but I will be posting those to the We <3 Kansai tumblr only as it seems my Google drive is almost at it's max (oops). I'll have another day-trip to the Sea of Japan coming up soon-ish, so drop by again sometime! :>


☆Things to Do: Ise Shrine in Mie☆

Ise Grand Shrine - Mie Pref. 

This is definitely for people sick of the skyscrapers and the smells of the city. In Ise, you'll get such a welcome dose of nature (for those who live in big cities). It's also a coastal city, so if you're a mountainside resident, it could still be a nice change of pace.

Ise Grand Shrine is easily one of those most popular shrines in the Kansai/Chubu area, and is very popular throughout Japan as a shrine with a power spot. This means that there are crowds. If you're going by car, and you're not getting there when the shrine first opens, you can wait for a parking space to open near the shrine (when we visited, it was about a 1 hour waiting period), or park a little ways away from the shrine, and walk back.

We chose the second option, and parked out car in a private lot (read: someone's yard) for 1,000 yen for a day. That's not a bad deal as there are also a lot of sourvenir shops and restaurants to peruse through on your way to and from the temple. You can also take a break down by the river nearby to cool off.

おはらい町 O-harai Machi 

Old-timey Post Office. You have to read it from right to left :U
Going from the private parking area to the Inner Shrine (内宮 naiku), there is O-harai Machi, where you may purchase your snacks and baubles. If you're looking for shrine charms, I would save those purchases for the shrine, but if you're just looking for cute items like phone straps and postcards, you will most likely find them here. 

One day, I will learn how to take a photo properly.
<--- This bridge branches off from O-harai Machi and will take you to some quieter areas if you're looking for a break. The streets of O-harai Machi are really crowded, and with the summer heat coming, visiting the shrine might seem like more trouble than it's worth (or is that just me? I really don't do well in crowds...).

O-harai Machi isn't a really long street, probably a 15 minute or so walk with minimal crowds, but on a Saturday, it could easily turn into a 25 to 30 minute walk. Pace yourself and keep an eye out for people that actually live in O-harai Machi driving up and down roads (you know, where everyone is walking..).

As a hot spot for Japanese and Non-Japanese tourists alike, my theory is that you should be okay with finding a clerk who speaks a little English. Most of the street signs are written with Japanese and Roman letters, plus the guide maps given out also come in English and Japanese.

Ise Grand Shrine - Inner Shrine
Ise Grand Shrine is, in fact, not one huge shrine, but a shrine complex, meaning it features many small shrines within it's grounds.
The bridge to Kazehinomi-no-miya.
The sacred house for kami at Kazehinomi-no-miya.
Each individual shrine usually has it's own tori, which you're supposed to bow at as you enter and leave. A couple of the large shrines also have areas for temizusha for washing the hands and mouth. After purifying, you can then go up to the shrine, toss in an offering and say a little prayer. This particular tori leads to Kazehinomi-no-miya, which is one of the power spots within the complex. People from all over Japan come here to pray for success in their endeavors. (I also heard that this shrine is where kamikaze came from, but I need to look into that more)

Within the Inner Shrine, there are a couple more powers spots, Miya-no-meguri no kami, which is a stone guarded by a rope, and a large tree you can see on your way to Kotaijingu, the main sanctuary of Ise. I didn't take any photos (too busy getting my own power spottin' on), but they can found easily by the circle of people absorbing the good vibes.

Expect lines at every shrine you visit. Especially on a Saturday. Or during the summer. Or when the weather is nice. Or with the autumn foilage. Pretty much, any time of the year that's not absolutely frigid or not suffocateingly humid.
And that about wraps it up for the Inner Shrine. It is a complex of shrines. For praying. Or just wandering around. Either way, a good way to saunter through the afternoon. Definitely a place to visit if you'll be in the Kansai area for a while, but not really essential for short trips.

If we had arrived earlier in the day, we probably would have had time to go to the Outer Shrine as well, but that's why we can always make the trip again. And I really want to go to Ise-Azuchi Momoyama Bunka Village, theme park based on the Sengoku Era of Japanese history. The history buff in me told Shota about it as soon as I found it, and is now anticipating that trip. This year. Preferably in September.

Since we drove to Ise Grand Shrine, I don't have the usual in-depth train details, but I can share what I found through a little online research.

Ise Grand Shrine is located on the Kintetsu Railway line via the Osaka, Yamada and Toba Lines. The fastest route is by the Special Express train from Osaka Uehonmachi Station to Isuzugawa Station, though you will have to change to a Local train at Ujiyamada Station, which takes 1 hour and 55 minutes, costs 3,130 yen (a little over 30 USD). The second route takes you from Osaka Uehonmachi to Ujiyamada on the Rapid Express, then to Isuzugawa on the Local and it takes 2 hours and 30 minutes. But that route costs 1,810 yen (a little under 20 bucks). I suppose it depends on how much time and money you have. ;)

However, after you get to Isuzugawa, you will need to take a bus to get to the Inner Shrine, but that, quite honestly, should be very easy to do (Japanese buses are much easier to use than D.C. buses!!) since most of the bus signs should be written in English as well.

There are also quite a few English language websites available for researching access to Ise and things to do in that area.

Ise-Toba-Shima - This website is from the Kintetsu Corporation, which is the company that runs to the trains to Ise. The sights lists information about Ise Grand Shrine, as well as a few other attractions in the area like Spain-Mura (Spain Village), Toba Aquarium, and Ise-Azuchi Momoyama Bunka Village. Unfortunately, it's not spectacularly easy to navigate, though you will enjoy their guides if you like flow charts.

Mie Tourism Guide - A website about all the lovely things in Mie Prefecture, which is where Ise is located. There is information about the Grand Shrine, Iga-Ueno, which is where ninja began, pearls, a famous export of Mie, and Matsusaka beef, another popular export of Mie.

Ise Jingu - This is the official website for the shrine. This link is in link, but it also looks like it hasn't been updated recently. But it does have some fantastic and detailed descriptions of the various shrines within Ise Grand Shrine.

I think I accidentally pushed published before I finished writing, so... sorry about that. But now the post is complete! More photos will be on the We Love Kansai tumblr, so check that out if you're looking for more!

Until next time.
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