Different types of boats are in service.
CHARMS OF SENDAI (17): Marine Gate Shiogama, boat ride around Matsushima
Marine Gate Shiogama is the arrival and departure station for a pleasure boat service that connects Shiogama Port and Matsushima, a group of islands ranked as one of the top...
Marine Gate Shiogama

1-4-1 Minato-machi, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-361-1500

Open everyday

Recently, cute small-sized kokeshi dolls have become popular.
CHARMS OF SENDAI (14): Akiu Craft Park
One of the many things Japan is proud of is the sophisticated skill of its traditional artisans.
Akiu Craft Park

54 Uehara, Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-398-2770

The autumn hues of fall never fail to delight visitors. (Courtesy of the City of Sendai)
CHARMS OF SENDAI (8): Jozenji-dori street and Sendai Mediatheque
Sendai has long been referred to as “Mori no Miyako,” or city of trees. True to its name, the streets along and around Sendai Station are lined with trees, and the city is...
Sendai Mediatheque

Address: 2-1 Kasugamachi, Aoba Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture

Hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Closed every fourth Thursday each month, except December; Dec. 29 to Jan. 3.

Different hours, closing days apply for respective facilities.

KANEIRI Musuem Shop 6

Tel: +81-(0)22-714-3033

Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Closed every fourth Thursday each month, except December; December 29 to January 3.

Portrait of the late Kokichi Mikimoto
DISCOVERING THE HEART OF JAPAN IN MIE (8): Visit Mikimoto Pearl Island to truly know the pearl
Mikimoto Pearl Island is an excellent place to start to learn about the history of the cultured pearl and Kokichi Mikimoto, the man who gave the world the cultured pearl and...
Mikimoto Pearl Island

1-7-1 Toba, Toba, Mie Prefecture

Phone: +81-(0)599-25-2028

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Open daily

Admission: 1,500 yen for adults, 750 yen for elementary and junior high school students.

Access: Five minutes on foot from JR/ Kintetsu Toba Station

Matsusaka beef and vegetables for the sukiyaki at Matsusaka Maruyoshi Kamada Honten
DISCOVERING THE HEART OF JAPAN IN MIE (7): Taste the renowned marbled Matsusaka beef at the source
Matsusaka is world renowned for making beef an art form. The bright pink meat with fine “sashi,” or marbling, is comparable to a fine piece of woven fabric.
Matsusaka Maruyoshi Kamada Honten

239-2 Kamada-cho, Matsusaka, Mie Prefecture

Tel. +81-(0)598-51-2240 (Japanese only)

Open 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. except Wednesdays

10-minute walk from Matsusaka Station

Kameya restaurant

508 Kyo-machi, Matsusaka, Mie Prefecture

Tel. +81-(0)598-21-0109

Open daily 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

1-minute walk from Matsusaka Station

Iga wares made by Nagatanien
DISCOVERING THE HEART OF JAPAN IN MIE (6): Nagatanien, producer of classic Iga ware pottery
The rugged and sturdy Iga ware, pottery produced in Iga, Mie Prefecture, appears rather stately among pottery produced in other areas of Japan. It is the consummation of the...

569 Marubashira, Iga, Mie Prefecture

Tel. +81-(0)595-44-1511

Open daily 8:30-17:00

It takes one hour and 20 minutes from Kintetsu Nagoya Station to Iga Kanbe Station. Change to the Iga Line. It takes about 40 minutes to Iga Ueno Station. Nagatanien is a 20-minute ride from Iga Ueno Station.

Oharai-machi street is filled with visitors to the shrine.
DISCOVERING THE HEART OF JAPAN IN MIE (4): Ise Jingu Shrine--Slip back in time to the Edo Period on Oharai-machi street
The old pilgrimage road where those visiting Ise Jingu Shrine have walked for ages is called Oharai-machi street. Long-established shops targeting the worshippers line the...

It is a street that stretches 800 meters from just before the Uji Bridge found in the Inner Shrine of the Ise Grand Shrine.

For details, contact the tourism planning section of Ise City Office at +81-(0)596-21-5565.

Akafuku main store

26 Ujinakanokiri-cho, Ise, Mie Prefecture (Oharai-machi)

Tel. +81-(0)596-22-7000

Open daily 5 a.m.-5 p.m.

Himono-juku Ise main store

35 Ujiimazaike-cho, Ise, Mie Prefecture (Oharai-machi)

Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The two main products of Yamaroku are Kikubishio, right, and Tsurubishio. The two may be used in different dishes that suit their flavors. (Atsushi Yamanishi)
SETOUCHI: Traditional barrel method creates the soy sauce of Yamaroku Shoyu
Shodoshima island, the second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea, is Japan’s leading producer of shoyu, or soy sauce, with 22 firms currently in operation.

1607 Yasuda-ko, Shodoshima-cho, Kagawa Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)879-82-0666

Visitors are allowed inside the storehouse. Reservations are not necessary.

Puddings and ice cream containing soy sauce are served at the cafe. (Japanese only)

Ayakiku Shuzo’s leading sake Ayakiku and Kunishige, which is named after the brewery’s top toji sake brewer. (Atsushi Yamanishi)
SETOUCHI: Pure water, great rice, Ayakiku brews the essence of Setouchi
For more than 200 years, Ayakiku Shuzo (Ayakiku Sake Brewing Co.) in the suburbs of Takamatsu has been brewing sake with pristine water drawn from the subterranean stream of...

(Ayakiku Sake Brewing Co.)

3393-1, Yamadashimo, Ayagawacho, Kagawa Prefecture

The brewery offers Kunishige and other lines including Ayakiku.

When the first sake of the new brewing season comes around, the brewery puts out some special limited edition sake such as “muroka nama genshu,” unfiltered, unpasteurized, undiluted sake. It is sake strictly for sake aficionados. Ayakiku also produces shochu and various fruit liqueurs, including umeshu plum liqueur. (Japanese only)

"Kaki no ha zushi"
NARA: Neighborhood offers pretty streets and stylish shops
Nara's Naramachi district is worth a visit. It has narrow, labyrinthine streets lined with traditional "machiya" townhouses.
Hiraso Nara Store

Imamikadocho 30-1, Nara

Tel: +81-742-22-0866

Fax: +81-742-22-2719


Minamiichicho 23-1, Nara

Tel: +81-742-20-1210

Fax: +81-742-20-1215

A traditional Japanese warrior's helmet
KYOTO: One-stop gift center also offers craft classes
The duty-free shop Kyoto Handicraft Center is packed with everything Japanese. Located near the Heian Jingu shrine, it is the perfect one-stop craft, gift and souvenir center.

17 Shogoin Entomicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto

Tel: +81- 75-761-7000

Fax: +81- 75-761-2684

HOKKAIDO: Fine dining in a farm restaurant with a topping of ice cream
The New Chitose Airport that serves the Sapporo metropolitan area is located in the eastern part of Chitose, a city that is in the heart of farm country. Along the National...
HOKKAIDO: Ainu Museum--My first lesson in Ainu culture
On my fourth morning in Hokkaido, I headed for the Ainu Museum in the town of Shiraoi, not far from the city of Noboribetsu to the southwest of Sapporo. As I approached the...
Ideas for souvenirs

Mukkuri is a jaw harp of the Ainu, made from bamboo. The small instrument is held firmly against the mouth. The stings are pulled and plucked using the fingers to make a resonating note inside the mouth, making sounds like a stringed instrument. 500 yen ($6).

Ainu Museum:

HOKKAIDO: Historical Village, Historical Museum of Hokkaido+Sapporo Curb Market
I checked out of the Cross Hotel on the morning of the third day of my trip to Hokkaido and headed for the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market in Sapporo.
Recommended souvenir

Seafood delivery is available for domestic destinations. Red king crabs and horsehair crabs are sold at going rates, but an order for two or three people was available for between 10,000 yen and 15,000 yen.

Sapporo Central Wholesale Market:

HOKKAIDO: Hokkaido Wine Co. and Kitaichi Glass Co.
Situated between 42 and 45 degrees north latitude and with a climate similar to that of northern Europe, Hokkaido has more areas for growing grapes for making wine than any...
HOKKAIDO: Asahiyama Zoo
A 30-minute ride by car from central Asahikawa, I arrived at Asahiyama Zoo, one of the most popular in Japan.
Recommended souvenir

Official stuffed toys of animals kept at Asahiyama Zoo. Two types each of the penguin, polar bear and seal are available at 3,900-4,200 yen ($46-50).


HOKKAIDO: Sake brewery Otokoyama Co.
Asahikawa, known as Japan’s northernmost sake-producing region, creates the well-known Otokoyama brand, a drink not only loved by the locals but also a valuable export...

1-33, 2-jo 7-chome Nagayama, Asahikawa, Hokkaido

About 6 km from JR Asahikawa Station

19 km from Asahikawa Airport

Open except for year-end and New Year’s

Admission free

Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


Recommended souvenir

“Tokubetsu junmai otokoyama genshu” (1,560 yen for a 720-ml bottle) only available at the sake museum

  • 1


From AJW report

More AJW

Most Read in AJW Travel

Most Popular AJW