10 must-eat gourmet destinations in Ise Oharaimachi Street and Okage Yokocho
Here the DiGJAPAN! editorial department introduces 10 gourmet destinations you should definitely visit, carefully selected by traveling around the restaurants of Oharaimachi Street and Okage Yokocho.
Located right in front of Ise Jingu, what are Oharaimachi Street and Okage Yokocho?Oharaimachi Street and Okage Yokocho extend before the Ujibashi bridge entrance bridge to the Naiku within Ise Jingu. Visitors to Ise Jingu are sure to visit the town of Oharaimachi Street. The Okage Yokocho area is located right in the center of Oharaimachi Street and is home to many relocated and reproduced historic buildings.
The town is crowded with many wooden houses crafted in the unique Ise architectural style, and is very photogenic. It has all kinds of restaurants, souvenir and knick-knack shops, fashionable cafes, and more.
One of the highlights of this area is the Isuzugawa river, which flows from the direction of the Naiku Inner Shrine through the back streets of the town. It offers very beautiful seasonal scenery, especially in the cherry blossom season.
Expect queues! Extremely popular dining destinations you'll absolutely want to visit
This rice cake is the most famous sweet of Ise: akafuku mochi. Beneath generous layers of soft bean paste hides a soft chewy rice cake—put one in your mouth and enjoy the gentle sweetness. When ordering akafuku mochi at a store, you'll be delighted that it comes accompanied by organically grown bancha tea. The taste of a venerable store boasting a 300-year history in Oharaimachi Street is something you should definitely enjoy on a trip to Japan.
1. The most famous souvenir of Ise: akafuku mochi (Okage Yokocho)
Akafuku shaved ice is available in summer only 520 yen
Beneath a mound of green tea-flavored shaved ice are hidden rice cakes
This akafuku mochi store opens from 5 am—the same time as the Naiku
Bancha tea brewed using water from Isuzugawa river
Take-home boxes of akafuku mochi are available in 2, 8, 12, or 20 pieces
Address: 26 Ujinakanokiri-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: 5:00am – 5:00pm
2. Butasute croquettes (Okage Yokocho)If you follow the subtle aroma drifting down Okage Yokocho... you’ll soon encounter a queue leading to Butasute, a butcher shop more than 100 years old. Popular items are fresh fried croquettes and minced pork cutlets. The crispy batter is irresistible! Apart from the take-out space, there are also a dining space where you can relax and enjoy beef rice bowls, sukiyaki, beef hotpot, and more.
Croquettes deep-frying at the store, one after another
Slabs of meat are also for sale inside
Beef rice bowl flavored with sweet soy 1,000 yen
Beef hotpot 2,260 yen. For Japanese beef, the price is low!
Address: Okage Yokocho, Ujinakanokiri-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: 9:30am – 5:00pm (doors close 5:30pm) / Dining space open from 11:00am *Hours may change seasonally. / Open 7 days per week
3. Drink fruit juice from whole fruit (Oharaimachi Street)Walking around Oharaimachi Street, you’ll see a lot of people carrying fruit such as oranges and grapefruits with straws inserted. Choose an orange or grapefruit from the piles at the shop front and hand it over. They’ll cut the fruit on the spot, juice the entire thing, insert a straw, and hand it back. Perfect for a parched throat as you walk about town.
Marugoto Kajuten (juice store) | まるごと果汁店
Address: 24 Ujiimazaike-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm *Hours may change seasonally.
4. Sweet Mitarashi dango from a dumpling restaurant (Okage Yokocho)This store sells sweet rice dango dumplings made from high-quality non-glutinous Japanese rice flour, grilled on the spot and covered with special sauce. The Mitarashi dango are especially recommended. The sweetness and flavor of the soy sauce is exquisite. The rich sweetness of black honey dango is also popular, and has been enjoyed in the Ise region since long ago. There are several benches and some raising seating where diners can sit and eat.
The large lantern and banner mark the spot
After a thorough grilling at the store, special sauce is added
Mitarashi dango flavored with sweet soy are popular
Address: 12 Ujinakanokiri-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: 9:30am - 5:30pm *Hours may change seasonally.
Enjoy the full array of delicious Ise and Mie prefectural specialty dishes!
Here you can enjoy high-quality abalone at low prices at the stall set up in front of the restaurant. Because the restaurant cooks only with fresh live abalone, a specialty of Ise Shima, it is very fresh! The interior is divided into the Ebiya Daishokudo dining hall, where you can eat dishes made with local ingredients, and Ebiya Shoten, which sells folk crafts and miscellaneous Japanese goods.
5. Abalone skewer from Ebiya Daishokudo (Oharaimachi Street)
Address: 13 Ujiimazaike-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
6. Beef skewer at Oiseya Honpo (Oharaimachi Street)Wagyu beef is popular among travelers keen to sample it during their trip to Japan. The O-Iseya Honpo restaurant offers simple beef skewer and croquette dishes featuring Mie Prefecture wagyu beef, known as Matsusaka beef. Dine on the benches in front of the store.
Address: 94-7 Ujinakanokiri-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: 10 am – 5 pm *Hours may change seasonally.
Closed on occasional days
7. Tofu-an Yamanaka natural soft tofu ice cream (Oharaimachi Street)
A popular tofu specialty store offering healthy sweets such as soft serve containing at least 50% tofu and donuts made from okara (soybean pulp). The subterranean waters of Isuzugawa river is used to make the tofu. Soft serve is available in regular size and mini size (for children, but adults can also purchase it, of course!) so order whatever your stomach can handle.
Tofu-an Yamanaka | 豆腐庵山中
Address: 95 Ujinakanokiri-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: 10:00am - 4:00pm / Closed Thursdays
An unmissable part of your Japan trip! Drink and compare sake and local beers
If you travel to Japan, you’ll want to taste Japanese sake. Hakutaka Miyake is a sake store—the sweet scent of sake will drift past when you step into the shop. You can order sake in 90ml or 180ml servings, and you can drink it standing on the spot. Experience the unique Japanese culture where the palate is cleansed with salt after drinking alcohol. This shop sells original sake made in the Hakutaka sake brewery, dedicated to the kami of Ise Jingu.
8. Stand and drink Japanese sake at Hakutaka (Oharaimachi Street)
Barrels placed in front of the shop Sugidama balls hanging over them
Standing bar made of plain unfinished wood
The Hakutaka's a perfect souvenir
Heavy sign with a sense of significance
Address: 29 Ujiimazaike-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Closed on occasional days
9. Craft beer brewed at Ise Kadoya (Okage Yokocho)Ise Kadoya microbrewery has won numerous internationally renowned craft beer awards, including IBA Gold Awards. To accompany the beer, they also serve oyster dishes from Uramura in Toba. Enjoy the perfect combination of draft beer and deep-fried oysters right in front of the store!
Ise Kadoya Beer Naikumae Branch | 伊勢角屋麦酒 内宮前店
Address: 34 Higashikashuraku, Ujiimazaike-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: 11:00am - 8:00 pm (last order 7:30 pm) (*Open 11:00am – 3:00pm on Thursdays)
10. Taste sweet sake and yuzu sake at Iseman (Okage Yokocho)At the only sake brewery in the city of Ise, located in Okage Yokocho, as well as Japanese sake you can also enjoy plum sake and yuzu sake, and Amazake(a sweet drink made from fermented rice), which has gained attention for bodily health due to its high nutritional value. From around May until September, chilled sweet sake is served. Enjoy alcoholic beverages incorporating the underground waters of the Isuzugawa river flowing through Ise Jingu.
Iseman Naiku Mae Japanese Sake Factory | 伊勢萬 内宮前酒造場
Address: Okage Yokocho, 77-2 Ujinakanokiri-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: 9:30 am - 5:30 pm (varies depending on season)
Extra: Tired of walking? Relax at Isuzugawa Cafe (Okage Yokocho)
Step in from the hustle and bustle of Okage Yokocho and discover an cafe with the atmosphere of an old hidden private house. Take a break here if walking around town tires you out. The cafe interior offers calming views of the Isuzugawa river. It opens from 9 am, so we recommend a cup of coffee here before heading to Ise Jingu.
Enjoy coffee brewed with care
Manuka honey roll cake 350 yen
The refreshing taste of yuzu squash 550 yen
A cafe with the atmosphere of an old private house
Address: 12 Ujinakanokiri-cho, Ise-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: 9:00am - 5:30pm *Hours may change seasonally.
Oharaimachi Street and Okage Yokocho are just the right size for walking, but since there are so many shops, you'll be making a lot of stops. Allow plenty of time when making plans. At DiGJAPAN!, we took over 2 hours for meals and shopping, but this wasn't nearly enough time!
When visiting Ise Jingu, always stop by Oharaimachi Street and Okage Yokocho and enjoy the gourmet destinations of Ise!
InformationOharaimachi Street and Okage Yokocho extend before the Ujibashi bridge entrance bridge to the Naiku within Ise Jingu. The opening hours of the shops that line the streets vary, but since many are closed in the evening, we recommend making plans with time to spare.
A street about 800 meters in length leading from the Naiku Ujibashi bridge bridge in front of Ise Jingu to Sarutahiko Shrine. The Isuzugawa river flows in the back streets where wooden buildings stand.
Access: From Iseshi Station (JR or Kintetsu lines) or Ujiyamada Station (Kintetsu line), catch the Mie Kotsu bus headed to Naikumae for about 15 to 20 minutes (depending on route), and get off at Naikumae bus stop.
Okage Yokocho | おかげ横丁
A town district centered on the akafuku mochi store in the middle of Oharaimachi Street. On weekends and holidays, get a feel for festive experiences such as Japanese drum performances and kamishibai street theater performances.
Access: From Iseshi Station (JR or Kintetsu lines) or Ujiyamada Station (Kintetsu line), catch the Mie Kotsu bus headed to Naikumae for about 20 minutes (depending on route), and get off at Jingu Kaikanmae bus stop.
*This article uses information obtained June 27, 2017.
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THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON INFORMATION FROM 06 28,2017 Author：DiGJAPAN! Editorial Team