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Oharai-Machi & Okage-Yokocho

Ise Shrine old town 伊勢神宮老街

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.

Oharai Machi 禦祓町 伊勢老街
Oharai Machi is a charming 800-meter long stone paved street filled with historic buildings, merchant stores, restaurants and souvenir shops.
Oharai Machi 禦祓町 伊勢老街
There are a wide variety of souvenirs from Ise Shima and the rest of Mie Prefecture.
Oharai Machi 禦祓町 伊勢老街
A winery.
Oharai Machi 禦祓町 伊勢老街
This may be one of the most popular take-out restaurants in the area, selling Matsusaka beef snacks. There is always a long queue.
Oharai Machi 禦祓町 伊勢老街
October to March is the oyster season. This bar sells oysters and beers in February. An interesting combination!
Oharai Machi 禦祓町 伊勢老街
This is a bank where currency exchange is available.
 Oharai Machi 禦祓町 伊勢老街
The pearl shop and Post Office next store.
Okage Yokocho 託福小街
Okage Yokocho is in the middle section of Oharai Machi, featuring replica buildings back in the Edo and Meiji Periods.
Okage Yokocho 託福小街
There are some shades, benches and lanterns in Okage Yokocho. I think that’s what it looked like in the old days.
Okage Yokocho 託福小街
This stage is for the Okage-yokocho drum performance.
Okage Yokocho 託福小街
This Maneki-Neko (Beckoning cat) shop has the biggest collection of Maneki-Neko ornaments and charms from all over Japan.
Okage Yokocho 託福小街
Other than the “Beckoning Cat”, there is a “Wish passing dog” called Okage-inu. Dogs were used to carry the wishes for those who couldn’t make it to visit Ise Grand Shrine in the old days. Today, these souvenir dogs carrying some fortune scripts are great souvenirs.
Okage Yokocho 託福橫町
There are also shops that sell traditional Japanese toys and candies.
Okage Yokocho 託福橫町
There are quite a few restaurants selling local food in Okage Yokocho. This is one of the popular ones selling udon. People eat udon on the benches outside.
Ise Oharai Machi 伊勢老街 禦祓町
Address of Oharai Machi: Uji Nakanokiri-cho/Uji Imazaike-cho, Ise 516-0026, Mie Prefecture.
Transportation: take a bus from Ise City Station and Get off at “Jinkukaikanmae”.
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