Enjoy Travelling from Osaka to Mie (Ise-Shima) with the KINTETSU RAIL PASS
1. Amazing Sightseeing Locations You Can Visit Travelling by Train from Osaka
“Osaka” and “Kyoto” are some of Japan’s most popular tourist stops.
There are several great places to visit around Osaka and Kyoto, such as “Nara” with its historic shrines and friendly deer, “Mie (Ise-Shima),” known for the popular power-spot Ise Jingu, and “Nagoya (Aichi),” Japan’s third-largest city behind Tokyo and Osaka.
Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Mie (Ise-Shima), and Nagoya (Aichi) are all connected by the Kintetsu Railway (often shortened to “Kintetsu”).
Did you know that you can purchase an unlimited 5-day Kintetsu Railway pass for lines connecting Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Mie, and Nagoya for just 3,600 yen (prices may vary based on pass type and purchase method)?
That pass is the “KINTETSU RAIL PASS.” It’s a great boon to tourists travelling in the area, especially if you’re planning on travelling around Osaka without a set itinerary.
※Details on the KINTETSU RAIL PASS are available at the end of this article.
This time around, a tourist named Miss Kateryna used the KINTETSU RAIL PASS to enjoy her trip!
2. Depart from Osaka for Mie (Ise-Shima) for Sightseeing Using the KINTETSU RAIL PASS
2-1. Day 1 of the Trip was Sightseeing in Downtown Osaka
2-2-1. The Heart of Osaka, “Namba”
Hi! I’m Kateryna!
I arrived in Osaka after landing at Kansai International Airport! On the first day of my trip I went sightseeing in “Namba,” Osaka’s city center. My first order of business was taking a picture at the same spot I’d seen in the pictures on social media from my friends who had also visited Japan!
It was super fun to shop and eat here in some of Japan’s greatest shopping districts!
I stayed in a hotel in Namba for my first night. While I was looking into ways to reach my second day’s destination, “Mie (Ise-Shima),” by train, I found an awesome train! It’s a premium express tourism train called “SHIMAKAZE,” and it looks so luxurious and nice! Be sure to book your seat on the train’s official site, as seats must be reserved (travelling from Osaka-Namba Station to Toba Station in Mie Prefecture is an extra 2,640 per adult).
2-2. Day 2 I Travelled from Osaka to Mie (Ise-Shima)
2-2-1. Taking the Premium Express Tourism Train “SHIMAKAZE” from Osaka-Namba Station
The second day of my trip started at Osaka-Namba Station!
If you purchased your KINTETSU RAIL PASS in advance online or via a travel agency in your home country, you can exchange it for the full ticket at the express ticketing area of stations that service the Kintetsu Railway. (Please see the end of this article for details on how to purchase a pass.) Don’t forget your passport, since you need to show it when purchasing the KINTETSU RAIL PASS!
It was finally time to board the premium express tourism train “SHIMAKAZE”!
The interior of “SHIMAKAZE” was so spacious! It felt easier to relax in than a Shinkansen train. There were even convenient free lockers available!
You can even enjoy delicious restaurant-quality meals in the train. Having freshly-cooked meals in a moving train is such a unique experience!
2-2-2. Toba Tourist Information Center at Toba Station
“SHIMAKAZE” arrived at Mie Prefecture’s “Toba Station” about 2 hours after it departed from Osaka-Namba Station!
The combined area of Toba City, where Toba Station is located, and neighboring cities Ise City and Shima City is known as “Ise-Shima.” The area is packed with various sightseeing locations, like the popular Ise Jingu, features amazing seafood dishes made with fresh seafood right from the ocean, and offers up a different sort of natural scenery than what you’d find in Osaka.
The “Toba Tourist Information Center” inside of Toba Station has convenient tourism pamphlets written in foreign languages!
By the way, the three women in the above picture are local “ama.” Ama are female divers who catch things like abalone, turban shells, and spiny lobsters. Supposedly Ise-Shima is home to the largest number of ama in all of Japan!
Toba City is home to a facility called “Ama Hut Hachiman Kamado,” where you can listen to stories from ama while enjoying fresh seafood that they caught. Please note that reservations made at least two days in advance are required for this experience.
Ama Hut Hachiman Kamado
- 819 Osatsucho, Toba City, Mie Prefecture
- Reservations can be made at the official site (Japanese only)
※A free shuttle bus runs out of Toba Station.
I took a look at the pamphlet I got at the Tourist Information Center, and I found several tourist attractions around the area. I decided to stop by those before heading to Ise Jingu!
2-2-3. Toba Aquarium
“Toba Aquarium” is about a 10-minute walk from Toba Station. It’s home to around 1,200 different species! There’s so much to see here, including Japan’s only dugong, cheerful sea lion and walrus shows, and an enormous Steller sea lion diving that weighs over 700 kilograms! There’s so much to do that I probably couldn’t see it all if I spent the whole day here!
- 9:00am~5:00pm (Open 8:30am~5:30pm July 20th-August 31st)
- Adults 2,500 yen / Children (elementary and junior high) 1,250 yen / Toddlers (3 years of age and up) 630 yen
※If you show your KINTETSU RAIL PASS, the admission changes to 2,400 yen for adults, 1,200 yen for children (elementary and junior high), and 600 yen for toddlers (3 years of age and up)!
2-2-4. Mikimoto Pearl Island
It was about a 5-minute walk from Toba Aquarium to my next destination, “Mikimoto Pearl Island.” This island in Toba Bay features not only a pearl museum where you can learn everything there is to know about pearls, but also areas like the Mikimoto Pearl Museum that introduces the life story of the so-called king of pearls Kokichi Mikomoto, and Pearl Plaza (shops and restaurants). Kokichi Mikimoto was the first person in the world to learn to cultivate pearls, aside from those who had done so by coincidence in the past. Thanks to his discoveries, many women can wear beautiful pearl accessories!
Mikimoto Pearl Island
- 1-7-1 Toba, Toba City, Mie Prefectuer
- 8:30am~5:30pm (Hours may vary by season)
- Adults 1,500 yen / Children (elementary and junior high) 750 yen
※If you show your KINTETSU RAIL PASS, the admission changes to 1,200 yen for adults and 600 yen for children (elementary and junior high)!
2-2-5: Meoto Iwa
My next destination was “Meoto Iwa”! I took the Ise-Futami-Toba Circular Bus “CAN Bus” from Mikimoto Pearl Island and arrived in about 20 minutes! (Certain versions of the KINTETSU RAIL PASS let you use local bus lines like this one for free!)
Meoto Iwa, or Couples’ Rock, is, as its name would suggest, two rocks settled in close together like a married couple. It’s believed to be home to a kami, or Shinto god, of marriage, couples, and safe travels. It definitely felt divine in a way, like I could get power from here!
There were also a lot statues of frogs, which are considered familiars of the kami, around the area. They were kind of cute!
- Futami Okitama Shrine, Futamichoe, Ise City, Mie Prefecture
2-2-6 Ise Jingu
Finally, I made my way to “Ise Jingu,” the main feature of this part of my trip.
I left Meoto Iwa using the same “CAN Bus” I arrived in. Ise Jingu is not just one shrine; it is a shrine complex made up of a number of shrines. The main shrines are Amaterasu-Omikami’s “Naiku” and Toyo’uke-no-Omikami’s “Geku,” but the entire complex houses over 125 shrine-related buildings and spans an area roughly the same size as Paris. The shrine holds over 1,500 rituals every year to pray for things like world peace and bountiful harvests.
Apparently the customary order for worship at Ise Jingu has for a long time traditionally been starting at Geku, then Naiku, Goshougu, and finally Betsugu.
By the way, do you know the proper etiquette for visiting a shrine? I researched proper etiquette before my visit, so here’s a brief introduction!
<Manners when Cleansing Mind and Body with Water>
- Hold the ladle in your right hand and pour the water over your left hand to purify your left hand.
- Switch the ladle to your left hand and pour the water over your right hand to purify your right hand.
- Switch the ladle back to your right hand, pour water into your left hand, and rinse your mouth with the water from your hand.
- Purify your left hand again by pouring water over it from the ladle held in your right hand.
- Purify the ladle by letting the remaining water in the ladle run over the ladle itself.
<Manners for Praying in Front of the Shrine>
- Bow deeply twice in front of the shrine.
- Lift both hands to chest-height, with the fingers of your right hand slightly below those of your left.
- Clap two times.
- Bring your right hand’s fingers back in line with your left hand’s and bow deeply one more time.
Meoto Iwa and Ise Jingu are both known as power spots, and I felt like I got amazing power from them both!
- 1 Ujitachicho, Ise City, Mie Prefecture
- Hours for Worship
January-April, September: 5:00am~6:00pm
2-2-7. Oharai-machi (Okage Yokocho)
Next, I walked to Oharai-machi from “Naiku” at Ise Jingu. “Okage Yokocho,” located in the heart of Oharai-machi, has reproduced the atmosphere of old Japan (from the Edo Period to around the 1900s). It’s packed with lots of lovely shops with great atmosphere, almost like a theme park! I was hungry at this point, so I decided to stop and enjoy some local gourmet dishes!
There was an amazing-looking ramen restaurant here, so I wasn’t sure where to eat, but I decided that I definitely wanted to try the local cuisine no matter what! So, I stopped by a restaurant where I could have “tekone sushi,” a local specialty of Ise-Shima. Tekone sushi is a local dish where red-fleshed fish, like skipjack and tuna, are marinated in a soy sauce-based tare sauce and served over rice. It’s a dish that supposedly originated as something eaten by local fishermen between catches. Nigiri is a great way to serve sushi, but this is also amazing!
Since I came all the way out here, I also bought another dish! The other item I chose was “Ise udon.” The thick noodles are served in a rich, umami-packed tsuyu sauce. The thick noodles are gently simmered over a long period of time, so their texture was different from regular udon noodles. Udon in Japan has different textures and thickness and is served with varying tsuyu depending on the region, but this Ise udon was really delicious!
- 52 Ujinakanokiricho, Ise City, Mie Prefecture
2-2-8. Heading to the Next Sightseeing Spot from Ujiyamada Station
My journey through the Ise-Shima area of Mie Prefecture came to a close! To get back, I took a bus from the stop near Ise Jingu’s Naiku to “Ujiyamada Station,” the nearest station. From Ujiyamada Station, I headed to Kintetsu-Nagoya Station, and from there I headed to my lodging for the night!
I was super happy with my trip from Osaka to Mie (Ise-Shima)!
I added up what would have been the cost of my trip if I hadn’t used the KINTETSU RAIL PASS; going from Osaka (Osaka-Namba Station) to Mie Prefecture (Toba Station) would cost 2,040yen, and going from Ujiyamada Station near Ise Jingu to Nagoya (Kintetsu-Nagoya Station) would cost 1,450 yen. Just those two rides would come out to 3,490 yen. (Excluding limited express ticket costs)
The KINTETSU RAIL PASS costs only 3,600 yen, so with just the little travel I’d done this day it had already almost paid for itself!
I’d only used it for one day, but I still had four more days left, so the more you get out of it the better deal it turns out to be! It was also very convenient that I didn’t have to buy a ticket every time I wanted to get on the train.
3. What is the KINTETSU RAIL PASS?
3-1. KINTETSU RAIL PASS
The KINTETSU RAIL PASS is a convenient pass that allows you to freely ride Kintetsu Railway lines between Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Nagoya (Aichi), and Mie (Ise-Shima) for 5 days. When purchased online or via a local travel agency, the pass costs 3,600 yen for adults and 1,800 yen for children. If purchased in Japan, the pass costs 3,800 yen for adults and 1,900 yen for children. As an example, the round-trip fare from Osaka-Namba Station to Toba Station in Mie Prefecture and back by train is around 4,000 yen (excluding limited express ticket fees), so this pass is a great value when travelling to various spots within the target area. Additionally, there is the added convenience of not needing to purchase a ticket every time you wish to take the train. A valid passport must be presented at time of purchase.
- Adults 3,600 yen, children 1,800 yen (if purchased online or via a local travel agency)
- Adults 3,800 yen, children 1,900 yen (if purchased in Japan)
Connects the 5 areas of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Nagoya (Aichi), and Mie (Ise-Shima).
Unlimited rides on Kintetsu Railway trains for 5 days.
Available for Purchase By:
Temporary visitors to Japan for sightseeing purposes
Osaka-Namba Station, Osaka-Uehommachi Station, Osaka-Abenobashi Station, Kansai Tourist Information Center Kansai International Airport, Kansai Tourist Information Center Daimaru Shinsaibashi, BIC CAMERA Namba Store, BIC CAMERA Q’s MALL Store, and others
Kyoto Station, Kansai Tourist Information Center Kyoto, BIC CAMERA JR Kyoto Station Store, and others
Kintetsu-Nagoya Station, MEITETSU TRAVEL PLAZA at Chubu Centrair International Airport, Nagoya Tourist Information Center, BIC CAMERA Nagoya Station West Store, BIC CAMERA Nagoya JR GATE TOWER Store, and others
※As the KINTETSU RAIL PASS can be purchased at Chubu Centrair International Airport (Aichi) in addition to Kansai International Airport (Osaka), it is possible to plan to travel from Aichi to Mie as well.
Please see the official link below for further details on purchase locations.
3 additional types of KINTETSU RAIL PASS that are available are listed below.
3-2. KINTETSU RAIL PASS plus
The “KINTETSU RAIL PASS plus” offers all the features of the above KINTETSU RAIL PASS, as well as free use of the Mie Ise-Shima bus lines and Nara bus lines. This pass costs 4,800 yen for adults and 2,400 yen for children (if purchased online or at a local travel agency).
Please see the official link below for further details on the KINTETSU RAIL PASS plus.
3-3. KINTETSU RAIL PASS 1day
The “KINTETSU RAIL PASS 1day” is a lite version of the above KINTETSU RAIL PASS that works in the 3 target areas of Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara for 1 day. As such, its price is lower at 1,500 yen for adults and 750 yen for children.
Please see the official link below for further details on the KINTETSU RAIL PASS 1day.
3-4. KINTETSU RAIL PASS 2day
The “KINTETSU RAIL PASS 2day” is a lite version of the above KINTETSU RAIL PASS that works in the 3 target areas of Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara for 2 days. As such, its price is lower at 2,500 yen for adults and 1,250 yen for children.
Please see the official link below for further details on the KINTETSU RAIL PASS 2day.
Be sure to choose the right KINTETSU RAIL PASS for your trip out of the 4 available options.