Visiting the most sacred shrine of Japan, the Inner Shrine in Ise Jingu (Grand Shrine) in the morning, I head out for lunch in Oharai-Machi which is a “Shrine Town” right by the entrance of Ise Grand Shrine. It is a 800-meter long interesting town filled with restaurants, cafes, bars, old buildings selling souvenirs, snacks and all kinds of merchants made in Ise Shima and Mie Prefecture.
In addition to the main street, there is a special area in the middle of the street called Okage-Yokocho. It is a unique section replicating a small town back in the Edo and Meiji Periods. There are restaurants selling local food, merchant shops that sell traditional toys, candies and souvenirs.
The Ise Shrine Town is a really nice place to walk around and have simple lunch and snacks in the afternoon. The street is paralleled to the Isuzu River so you may also take a walk along the riverbank. Please note that the shops open early in the morning but close at 5pm in the winter, 6pm in spring and 7pm in the summer. So it’s more for the day time.