Ago Bay

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 and a tranquil atmosphere.

One of the highlights of Ago Bay is the presence of around 60 islands floating in the bay. These islands add to the scenic beauty of the area and provide opportunities for exploration and adventure. Each island has its own unique charm, ranging from lush greenery to rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. Visitors can take boat tours to explore these islands and witness their natural beauty up close.

Another notable feature of Ago Bay is its historical significance. The bay was the site of the 2016 G7 Ise-Shima Summit, a major international event that brought world leaders together to discuss global issues. The summit showcased the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Ago Bay, putting it on the global map.

To reach Ago Bay, visitors can take a train to Kashikojima Station, the only rail link in the area. The journey on Kintetsu lines takes about one hour from Iseshi, two hours from Nagoya, and two hours 30 minutes from Namba in Osaka. The accessibility of Ago Bay makes it a convenient destination for both domestic and international travelers.

Spanish influence in Ago Bay is evident through the Kashikojima Espana Cruise. Visitors can ride the Esperanza, a ship modeled after a Spanish pirate ship, and experience a taste of Spanish culture in Japan. The presence of a Spanish galleon in Ago Bay is due to the sister state relationship between Mie Prefecture and the Spanish region of Valencia. The ship offers a unique perspective on the bay and its surroundings.

Pearl culture is deeply rooted in Ago Bay’s history and culture. It is known as the birthplace of pearl farming, pioneered by Kokichi Mikimoto and others. Ago Bay’s pristine waters are ideal for pearl cultivation, and visitors can witness the process of pearl farming on the Esperanza cruise. The sight of pearl farming rafts and other elements of pearl cultivation provides a fascinating glimpse into the industry.

For panoramic views of Ago Bay and its islands, the Yokoyama Observation Deck is a must-visit spot. Located on a hilltop, the observation deck offers a sweeping view of the bay and its approximately 60 islands. It is accessible by taxi from Kintetsu Ugata Station or by a scenic 40-minute walk from Kintetsu Shima-Yokoyama Station. The view from the deck is breathtaking, especially during sunrise or sunset.

Ago Bay is also famous for its Ama Divers, women who free-dive for abalone, turban shells, and other marine products. The traditional techniques of these divers have remained unchanged for thousands of years and have been recognized as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property and Japan Heritage. Visitors can learn more about the Ama Divers and their practices at the Ama Hut experience facility. Here, they can enjoy fresh seafood dishes while chatting with the Ama, gaining insights into their way of life.

In conclusion, Ago Bay is a hidden paradise in Mie Prefecture, Japan. Its picturesque coastline, verdant islands, and rich cultural heritage make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and history enthusiasts. Whether it’s exploring the islands, witnessing pearl farming, or interacting with the Ama Divers, Ago Bay offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Plan your visit to Ago Bay and immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of this enchanting destination.

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