Exploring Shima: A Local's Guide to Hidden Gems

Exploring Shima: A Local's Guide to Hidden Gems

Exploring Shima: A Local's Guide to Hidden Gems


Welcome to Shima, a beautiful coastal town located in Japan's Mie Prefecture. As a local, I am thrilled to share with you some of the hidden gems that make Shima a truly captivating destination. From picturesque landscapes to cultural delights, Shima has something for everyone. So, let's embark on a journey to explore the wonders of this enchanting town.

1. Ago Bay: The Pearl of Shima

Ago Bay is a true gem among gems, often referred to as the "Pearl of Shima." This pristine bay boasts crystal-clear turquoise waters, dotted with over sixty picturesque islands. One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Ago Bay is by taking a sightseeing cruise. Hop aboard a traditional Japanese boat known as a "yakatabune" and let the gentle waves serenade you as you soak in the breathtaking vistas.

2. Ise Jingu Shrine: A Spiritual Haven

No visit to Shima would be complete without paying homage to Ise Jingu Shrine, one of Japan's most revered Shinto shrines. This sacred site is dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu and is surrounded by ancient forests, creating a serene and mystical atmosphere. Take a leisurely stroll through the shrine's vast grounds, marvel at the intricate architecture, and get a glimpse into Japan's rich spiritual heritage.

3. Toba Aquarium: A Marine Wonderland

If you're seeking an underwater adventure, look no further than Toba Aquarium. This acclaimed aquarium showcases an impressive range of marine life, including the mesmerizing sight of dolphins gracefully gliding through the water. Be sure to catch the sea lion show and visit the touch pools, where you can interact with some of the sea creatures up close. It's an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

4. Meoto Iwa: The Married Rocks

Located just off the coast of Futami, Meoto Iwa, or the Married Rocks, is a unique and symbolic sight. These two rocks, linked by a sacred shimenawa rope, serve as a representation of the union between a husband and wife. At low tide, you can traverse a rocky pathway to get closer to the rocks and witness the power of the crashing waves. The view of the sunset from this spot is particularly breathtaking.

5. Shima Spain Village: A Taste of Europe

Surprisingly, Shima is also home to a little slice of Europe – the Shima Spain Village. This theme park showcases Spanish architecture and culture, offering a delightful escape from the everyday. Take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets, enjoy traditional Spanish cuisine, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere. Don't forget to catch one of the captivating flamenco performances, which will transport you straight to Spain.

6. Hinjitsukan: A Historic Tea House

Step back in time and experience the elegance of Hinjitsukan, a historic tea house nestled amidst lush gardens. This traditional Japanese tea house has been impeccably preserved, allowing visitors to savor the refined art of tea ceremonies just as they were centuries ago. The tranquility and beauty of the surroundings make for a truly authentic and memorable cultural experience.

7. Matoya Bay: Nature's Tranquil Haven

For nature enthusiasts, Matoya Bay is a dream come true. This tranquil bay, located in Shima's southwestern corner, offers a serene atmosphere perfect for unwinding and reconnecting with nature. With its calm waters and unspoiled shoreline, it's an ideal spot for kayaking or simply basking in the tranquility. Don't miss the vibrant sunset over the bay – it's a sight that will take your breath away.

8. Shima Mediterranean Village: A Taste of the Med

An unexpected delight in Shima is the Shima Mediterranean Village, where you can experience a distinct Mediterranean vibe. The village is home to beautifully styled buildings that resemble those found in the Mediterranean region, creating a unique ambiance. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade, indulge in Mediterranean cuisine, and soak in the laid-back atmosphere that will make you feel like you're in a coastal town somewhere in Europe.

9. Kashikojima Island: Nature's Playground

Kashikojima Island is a nature lover's paradise, located at the southern tip of Shima. With its rugged landscapes, hidden coves, and hiking trails, this island offers a myriad of outdoor activities. Explore the enchanting Kumano Sea Cave, enjoy a picnic by the cliffside, or simply unwind on the pristine beaches. It's the perfect destination for adventurers seeking a closer connection with nature.

10. Shima Onsen: A Soothing Hot Spring Experience

The perfect way to end your journey through Shima is with a visit to Shima Onsen, a traditional hot spring resort. Immerse yourself in the restorative waters and let the therapeutic qualities of these natural springs melt away any remaining stress. Complete with stunning views of the surrounding mountains, Shima Onsen offers a serene and rejuvenating experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized.