An island that is the birthplace of beautiful cultured pearls. The home of women divers, past and present.
Toba, located at the northeastern end of the Shima-hanto Peninsula in Mie, flourished as the castle town of the Kuki family who ruled this region from the 16th century. It was also a landing spot for visitors on the sea route to Ise-jingu Shrine and belongs to Ise-Shima National Park.
Mikimoto Shinju-to Island, Iruka-to Island and many other islands are found in Toba Bay. Pearl Bridge connects the town and Mikimoto Shinju-to Island, the place where, in 1893, Kokichi Mikimoto succeeded in culturing pearls for the first time in the world. There is a model factory and a pearl museum on the island, and visitors can watch the processing of pearls, as well as observe how women divers, known as 'ama,' collect pearls as a performance show. Toba Aquarium has more than 1,200 kinds of sea creatures kept in environments that are very close to their original habitats.
Fishing villages, such as Ijika and Adako, line the east coast of the Shima-hanto Peninsula, between Imaura, in the southeastern part of the city of Toba, and Ugata. Ama collecting abalone and seaweed can be seen actively at work, and restaurants scattered throughout the area serve extremely fresh seafood.
From Tokyo :
[Rail] 1h 40 min to Nagoya by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and 1h 30 min from Kintetsu Nagoya to Toba Station by Kintetsu Line (limited express).
From Osaka :
[Rail] 2h from Namba to Toba Station by Kintetsu Line (limited express).