Islands dotting a rich blue sea
Ago Bay, situated southeast of Ise-jingu Shrine, draws visitors with its majestic meandering coast, rich with verdant islands and peninsulas. This picturesque bay is a hidden gem in Mie Prefecture, japan, offering breathtaking views of the rias coastline and a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage.
The bay is home to around 60 islands, floating like emerald gems in the crystal-clear waters. Each island has its own charm and character, from lush forests to sandy beaches and rocky cliffs. The islands create a stunning backdrop for the bay, making it a haven for nature lovers and photographers.
One of the highlights of Ago Bay is the Ama divers, women who free-dive for abalone, turban shells, and other marine products. These skilled divers have been practicing their traditional techniques for thousands of years and are recognized as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property in Japan. Visitors can enjoy fresh seafood dishes while chatting with the Ama at the Ama Hut experience facility.
Another must-see attraction in Ago Bay is the Yokoyama Observation Deck. Perched high above the bay, the observation deck offers a panoramic view of the coastline and its islands. Whether you have a car or prefer to take a taxi or walk, the breathtaking views from the deck are well worth the journey.
Ago Bay is also known for its pearl culture. It is the birthplace of pearl farming in Japan, where Kokichi Mikimoto and others successfully cultivated round pearls. Visitors can learn about the history and process of pearl farming on a ride aboard the Esperanza, a ship modeled after a Spanish pirate ship. The Esperanza provides an opportunity to view pearl farming rafts and other elements of pearl cultivation.
The Spanish influence in Ago Bay is evident in the Kashikojima Espana Cruise, where visitors can ride the Esperanza. Mie Prefecture has a sister state relationship with the Spanish region of Valencia, and the first European vessels that visited Shima City resembled the Esperanza. The cruise offers a unique experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history and cultural exchange between Japan and Spain.
To reach Ago Bay, the easiest way is by train. The only rail link in the area is Kashikojima Station, on the Kintetsu Ise Shima Line. The journey on Kintetsu lines takes about one hour from Iseshi, two hours from Nagoya, and two hours and thirty minutes from Namba in Osaka. From Kashikojima Station, visitors can explore the bay and its attractions by taxi or on foot.
Ago Bay has gained international recognition as the host of the 2016 G7 Ise-Shima Summit. The summit brought together leaders from the world’s most powerful nations to discuss global issues and promote sustainable development. The event showcased the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Ago Bay to the world, putting Mie Prefecture on the map as a must-visit destination.
In addition to its natural and cultural attractions, Ago Bay offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy. From hiking and cycling along the coastal trails to kayaking and fishing in the bay, there is something for everyone to experience. The bay is also a paradise for seafood lovers, with its abundance of fresh and delicious seafood. Visitors can indulge in a seafood feast at an Ama diver’s hut or try their hand at cooking traditional Japanese dishes using local ingredients.
As with any travel destination, it is important to stay informed about any changes or restrictions that may be in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The information provided in this article is accurate at the time of writing, but it is always recommended to check with local authorities and travel advisories before planning a trip to Ago Bay.
In conclusion, Ago Bay is a hidden gem in Mie Prefecture, Japan, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor activities. From the verdant islands dotting the rich blue sea to the traditional Ama divers and the Spanish influence, there is something for everyone to discover and enjoy in this picturesque bay. Whether you are a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful getaway, Ago Bay is a destination that should not be missed. Plan your trip now and immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of this enchanting coastal paradise.
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