While Japan is still not regarded as a golfer’s paradise, Mie prefecture has bravely taken the initial step to promote itself as the perfect location to play golf since the launch of the ‘Mie Golf Tourism Organization’ Since its inception in 2015, it has conducted various approaches to attract golfers from all over the world. As a result, more Mie golf clubs are tapping into the foreign market and successfully overcoming the cultural and language barriers to welcome international golfers with the warmest hospitality. Some have even organised match play with the local golfers for cultural interactions and relationship building. Mie continues to reinforce its position as Japan’s tourism leader in golf, hosting the very first ‘Japan Golf Tourism Convention’ and enhancing its attractions with a focus on golf tourism. The month of May is the best season to hit the tee with the exceptional views of the new green foliage but October and November are also suggested due to the cool temperature.
Located in the centre of Japan’s main island, Honshu,Mie Prefecture sits on the Kii-hanto Peninsula. The ocean-side locations offer marine activities including diving, kayaking and canoeing. Mie has always served as the economic and cultural crossroads of the nation, connecting the Kanto and Kansai regions. Neighbouring Nagoya Prefecture- the third-largest metropolitan area has influenced the northern part as transport machinery are manufactured and heavy chemical industries are dominant. The Shima Peninsula is home to fisheries and is the birthplace of the pearl farming industry which evolved the unique Ama (women divers) traditions. The daily ocean dives conducted by women are still practiced collecting seafood and pearls which is now widely acknowledged as the ‘ama culture.’ This has also become one of the attractions with efforts being made to have it be registered as a UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage site.
Mie Prefecture is easily reachable from Narita/ Haneda via Chubu International Airport with the connecting flights available. Local trains and buses also operate from the Kansai International Airport. Take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen from Narita/Haneda to Nagoya and there are several local trains that are bound for Mie.
Explore more with the article as follows;
30 Hasemachi Katada, Tsu-shi, Mie
Jumbo Ozaki- the designer of this golf course and the undisputed king of golf, have incorporated his experiences playing overseas to make it much like the famous US open courses. With wide landing areas in the beautiful landscape, it challenges golfers for accurate play and golf course management. The well-maintained fairways, the iconic bricks surrounding the lake wall and the white sand bunkers all seamlessly blend in its natural beauty.
Each hole are designed respectively with distinctive features, the par-4 1st hole awaits the golfers with meandering design on a large hill and a well-placed large bunker guarding the green. The par4 9th hole is also a highlight with the 3 metres deep bunker surrounding the green. It offers a superb golf experience combined with the regional charm and welcoming hospitality.
Overnight stay at on-site Japanese-style villa accommodation should be on everyone’s bucket list. ‘Katada lodge & Villa’ comforts golfers with its spectacular view overlooking the 18th green, relaxing atmosphere immersed in the tranquil nature and the well-attentive hospitality. Human-Nature Coexistence- the origin of Japanese values and cultures, lies in every aspect of this facility with the design and interiors incorporating natural materials and artwork unique to the surrounding area. It provides a complete golf scene, catering golfers beyond the golfing experience itself. Easily accessible with 45-minute ride by the High-speed Ferry Service from Chubu Centrair International Airport.
2796 Higashi-isshiki, Inabe-cho, Inabe-shi, Mie
Opened in 1992, a relatively new golf course made a drastic impact on establishing the courses with the elements of a Japanese garden design, taking full advantage of Mother Nature’s work. Every hazard is visible from the tee ground and the intersection point, challenging golfers’ course strategy techniques. The water meandering from the waterfall at the back of the 8th hole, adds 8 water hazards to the site, which is one of the distinctive features. This is especially evident in the par-5 18th hole as the green is firmly guarded by two bunkers and the water, requiring precise precision shots. It’s an exceptional pleasure of the full golfing .experience being immersed in the peace and tranquillity with the Japanese garden surrounding.
Bringing a tranquil retreat to the landscape, the course consists of seven Chisenkaiyushiki (A style of garden featuring a path around the pond), each showcasing the diverse Japanese beauty. The complete peace is accompanied with bridges, water, floating islands and rocks- the perfect balance created in its rich natural surroundings. Capturing different faces of each season in the water reflections, offering the dramatic beauty to the golfing scene, adding an extra bonus to your performance. With its layout altering every year, it strives to welcome visitors with the different looks. A unique golfing adventure is guaranteed not just to experience itself but also appreciating the purity and meditative spirituality given by the manicured Japanese garden designed course.
1497 Inaba-cho, Tsu-shi, Mie
Internationally renowned as once the host to the spectacular match between Tiger Woods and Shigeki Maruyama- a Japanese golfing legend, Tiger highly complimented its well-detailed designs. Its unquestionable icon is the 87,000 square metres of land located in front of the clubhouse. The water is dominant in the layout. Two additional ponds come into play on 5 holes as these holes involve shots over water requiring accuracy and adequate judgement. A memorable moment is ensured when you get to play on the site where once the golfing icons have played.
The par-4 9th hole is especially acknowledged as the ‘masterpiece.” This is a long-distance hole and the approach to the green needs to be carefully performed as it is laid out with green floating islands. The wind breeze also needs to be taken into consideration when conducting any shots on this course. Capturing its water features and the surroundings are the keys for a better performance. The club house itself is worth a visit as it is designed as being an authentic Japanese style.
1362 Seko, Tamaki-cho, Watarai-gun, Mie
Here are some of the top things to do and see in Mie Prefecture in addition to the exceptional golf experiences.
Shinto, which is Japan’s oldest surviving and widely practiced religion, has its place at Ise-jingu is its most sacred site which has been the home to the sun goddess Amaterasu for over 1,500 years. The Ise Grand Shrine which consists of 125 shrines centring the Naiku (Inner Shrine) and Geku (Outer Shrine) displaying pure Japanese culture and traditions surrounded by an incredible woodland and river. Visitors can enjoy a pleasant stroll enjoying the mystery and feeling of power and the amazing sense of reverence.
1 Ujitachi-cho, Ise-shi, Mie
Being one of the 3 major types of wagyu in Japan, its distinct features are the marbling, rich flavour and tenderness. To protect the ‘Matsusaka beef’ brand, it needs to meet the strictest of standards. A system is well-established so that the customers can confirm the meat sold as ‘Matsuzaka Beef’ and the stores serving them are authentic. While steak and Yakiniku are the typical way to enjoy Matsusaka Beef, shabu-shabu or sukiyaki are also popular methods of cooking the meat.
Once was a place of hotels and restaurants offering pilgrims to the Ise Grand Shrine, now these two streets have a nice contrast of the new and the old periodic Ise. Numerous stores align the streets with a variety of souvenirs and local specialities. Visitors can enjoy just strolling and tasting some great local foods. It really is a fun place to visit for all ages with the lovely atmosphere of the Edo-era.
52 Uji Nakanokiri-cho, Ise-shi, Mie
The birthplace of modern pearl cultivation, the Pearl Museum provides a great opportunity to learn about the history of pearl cultivation and how pearls are made with the beautiful display of pearl jewelry. It also has Ama (female divers) diving demonstration in which the Ama performers dive into the water to harvest shellfish and actually show the original methods of retrieving the pearls.
1-7-1 Toba, Toba-Shi, Mie
One of Mie’s local specialties are oysters and the best-known spot to have satisfying amounts of oysters would be Uramura where numerous ‘oyster-huts’ serve all-you-can-eat oyster buffets. This is a seasonal highlight from November to March and visitors can enjoy fresh, grilled or steamed oysters along with other delicious local seafood while enjoying the scenic landscape as well as the beautiful seaview.
Uramura-cho, Toba-Shi, Mie
Nabana no Sato is truly one of the largest flower gardens in Japan. An absolute must-go location especially during October and May (the schedule is subject to change) when 8 million LED illumination displays makes the site a stunning magical fairyland. The highlights of the display are the Tunnel of Lights and the final light performance which showcases the changing seasons from winter snow to the cherry blossom spring to a green summer and finally the autumn foliage. It is definitely a place not to be missed.
270 Komae Urushibata, Nagashima-cho, Kuwana-shi, Mie
Ama is an ancient female tradition passed down in the Ise region, where female divers dive to the ocean floor to gather sea delicacies using only goggles, a weight belt, and a chisel for prying the shellfish. Next to the sea lies the Hachiman Kamado Ama Hut, home to the divers. Here, you can try on the diving equipment, grill fresh seafood delicacies over a charcoal fire, and dance to local music to experience the traditional Ama culture. Best of all, you can listen to the fascinating personal stories of the Ama divers and learn the rich history of the region.
819 Osatsucho, Toba, Mie