JP 2015 Dec Ise (Part 1)


After skiing in Hakuba, travelled to Nagoya to meet up with wife flying from Hong Kong.



2nd visit. Took Kintetsu train from Nagoya and arrived at Ise. Had a great (fresh with varieties, good service and yet inexpensive) sushi lunch in local shop. Visited Oharai-machi near Naiku afterwards. As we visited the Outer and Inner shrines in an earlier visit just 1 year before, we skipped both this time.



Next to the Naiku entrance there was a long street with Meiji-style shops. Did not spend too long in the first visit. This time we spent a whole afternoon starting from Okage-yokocho. We happened to witness a drum performance, had several rounds of delicious snacks before settling down in a traditional tea house, with a nice Japanese garden.  

==> Toba ==>



21 thoughts on “JP 2015 Dec Ise (Part 1)”

      1. Thanks. what do you think of Ise-Shima Kashikojima onsen ryokan?

        I am still not sure where we should stay, Ise, Toba and Shima. Toba is not much to see, but cheaper hotel, like Toba International with sea view.

        Ise and Shima, which town is more interesting and pretty, and have more to see?

        1. Ise-Shima Kashikojima onsen ryokan – it’s nice in several aspects. Big onsen rotenburo (open-air onsen) facing the sea. Soaking in it and enjoying sunset was cool ! I picked a wing that has wide view of the estuaries and watched sunrise from room which was fantastic. Kaiseki was nice with various types of seafood and meat, though not overwhelming. Maybe I have stayed in too many onsen ryokans and over-spoiled.

          If you’re not so interested in Toba International hotel, consider Nemu Hotel resort as mentioned earlier. The Italian dinner course was very nice. Service was excellent. The weakest link is the rotenburo though.
          If you visit these places by car, you can visit the spots in Ise, Toba as Shima is less than 1 hour from them.


          1. what’s the exact name for Ise-Shima Kashikojima onsen ryokan? I did a search and found two Kashikojima Ryokans:

            Kashikojima Parkhotel Michishio
            Kashikojima Hojoen

            which one is what you’re talking about?

            is there train to Shima?

          2. how do we pick a room? which wing has wide view of the estuaries and watched sunrise from room? did you pick it upon booking, or when you checked in?

            1. I always pick my room or wing/tower upon booking, though via local travel websites in Japanese. Room rates vary upon room types, wing/tower, meals etc.

              The room I picked was in Kayou Tower (華陽棟) on high floors with seaview. Try searching Rakuten or Jalan with English pages to search if they might have similar plans. These are 2 big booking agents in Japan.


  1. Hello, we are visiting Japan in October first time. Will be at Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Naoshima and Ise. We will do day trip to Nara, Kamakura, and Karuizawa. I really appreciate if you can recommend some places to stay. We would like to stay nice traditional Ryokan if possible, otherwise nice resorts or hotels with hot spring.

    Tokyo is better close to the train station or Ginza. We would like to take hot spring bath looking at Fuji mountain. In Kyoto, we heard there are really nice Ryokan at the famous Shrines.

    In your blogs, you recommended lots of hot spring resorts, but did not give location, so I can not check each one to see where they are. Please forgive me for having no time and unfamiliar with Japan.

    For Ise, did you stay inside of the town, or at Ise Shima National Park? Do we have to drive to see the park? Do you think it is a place worth visit in a first trip?

    Thanks for your time in advance.


  2. Hi Camille,
    I have been out of town and did not notice your comments here till now.
    As this is your first visit to Japan, how long do you plan to stay ?

    For onsen ryokans, you’d need to go into the JP Alps or other mountain areas. Otherwise, most renowned onsen hotels/resorts are built in concrete. There are a few of those in Kyoto/Arashimaya but the room rates are about JPY30K+ per adult for 2 persons sharing a room including 2 meals, such as in Rangetsu. We have not stayed there but had lunch during the sakura season.

    As Arashiyama is not famous for onsen, we don’t think it’s of good value. Thus, I’d suggest Arima onsen which is a famous historical onsen for centuries and is about 1hour from Osaka by express bus.
    Our stay in Arima Grand Hotel.

    For lake view, consider Ogoto onsen about 20min from Kyoto by train.

    These are just suggestions within 1 hour from Kyoto while room rates would be around JPY25K pp + 2 meals for 2 ppl sharing.

    For 1st-timers, unless you’re staying 3 weeks in Japan I would not recommend Ise-Shima, Wakayama etc.

    In Tokyo, consider Shinjuku, Shibuya where there are more tourist hotels, easy to commute by multiple subways, commuter trains and have lots of shopping and dining options. Ginza tends to get quiet after 8pm when big department stores close.


    1. you said for the first time in Japan, Ise might not be a good choice. do you have other places to recommend that are not big modern city? thanks.

        1. Takayama was on my list until I found out it took at least 4.5 hours to get there from Tokyo. Especially from Naoshima island, it’d be much longer.

          Is Takayama much more beautiful or different than Ise?

          1. True. Most of the traditional old towns are in remote areas far away from major cities.
            Have you looked into Shirakawa-go, which is closer to Kanazawa ? or Onomichi close to Okayama ?
            How many days would you be staying in Japan ?

            1. actually I found Shirakawa-go last week by photo and love it very much! However, we’ll be there in late Oct, so don’t think they would still have the green field I love.

              have you been there in Autumn? What’s the view?

                1. sounds a good itinerary. But you were driving and we have to take the train and bus, so not sure if my boyfriend is up to the transfer with luggage. He has hip pain.

                  he will go to Toyko, Hakone and Kyoto with me, which is easier trip. but he leaves after one week, then my girlfriend joins me for another 10 nights. however, we really want to visit Naoshima for the art and architecture for two days. it’s not convenient to go to North from this island. too many transfers and long hours.

                  you don’t really think Ise is a good enough for the first trip. Then Onomichi is better, in your opinion?

                  1. We always take trains for long distances (as it’s much faster by Shinkansen, no congestion, toll fees etc). Cars are rented only in suburban areas where public transports are less efficient.

                    I see now. In your case, unless you depart from Tokyo then it does not make sense to backtrack to Kanazawa et la.

                    After Naoshima, consider Okayama > Hiroshima/Miyajima > Himeji, before Ise-Shima. The former are popular tourist destinations.


    1. let’s say if we decide to visit Ise area after Naoshima island. we have 1.5 days, or 1 whole day and two half day if we decide to depart after the lunch on the last day.

      where do you think we should stay and focus? Ise the city, Toba, or Ise Shima park?

      Are Ise and Kyoto old town kind of similar with old shrines, streets, markets? After Kyoto, is it a good choice?

      Do you think we should focus on Ise Shima Park? It’ll be in late Oct. what kind of view we will get? from the photos I have seen, I don’t feel the coast landscape are exceptionally beautiful, except to look at the islands view from the top of a hill. did you go to the hill top to see the islands view? that’s kind of landscape we love.

      Where should we stay? Ise, Toba or the hotel you stayed at Ise Shima?

      1. If the islands in the estuaries is one of your main goals, pick up a car in either Ise, Toba or Shima town (after arrival by train) and drive up to Yokoyama Observatory. Note that at the top the road uphill is narrow and steep so a small car would be better. From the parking lot, the Observatory is a 15min walk up to a wooden deck.
        Refer to this page on views that you might be looking for – names of some places would be displayed if you move the cursor over them.
        Thought hotels in Shima would be closest, Ise and Toba are within 30-40min drive from each other by national road, ie. no toll fee. Consider the Numu Hotel REsort as mentioned in another comment.


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