”IN AND AROUND TOBA”
[ NIC INFORMATION ]
Toba, located at the northeastern end of the Shima-hanto Peninsula in Mie, Japan, is famous for pearls, its aquarium, and stunning coastal scenery. An English map and audio sightseeing guides are available from the Toba Visitors Center located outside Kintetsu Toba Station.
For further Information go online to www.toba.or.jp/english.
- By Train: A 5-minute walk from JR / Kintetsu Toba Station 鳥羽; from Nagoya takes approximately 1.5 hours by express train.
- By Car: Nagoya IC → Higashi Meihan Expressway → Ise Expressway → Ise IC (approx 165km / 2.5 hours). Parking costs 500 Yen for two hours.
★Mikimoto Pearl Island ミキモト真珠島
As many as 100,000 species of oysters exist in the world, but only 6 species are used for cultured pearls. The four prefectures of Ehime, Mie, Nagasaki, and Kumamoto account for 90% of pearl production in Japan and Akoya pearl oysters are the most widely cultivated.
In 1893, Toba native Kōkichi Mikimoto (1858 -1954), achieved the first successful cultured pearl production in the world. He opened Japan’s first pearl specialty store MIKIMOTO Pearl Shop in Ginza, Tokyo in 1899. Branches were opened in London, Paris, New York, and other major world cities – making it one of the first Japanese brands to attain international recognition. Visitors can learn about pearl cultivation, the history of pearls, buy pearls at reasonable prices, and watch the traditional female pearl divers.
- Open: 08:30 – 17:30; times vary Nov – Mar.
- Admission: Adults 1500 Yen, children (6 – 15) 750 Yen
- Access: A 10minute walk from Toba Station.
- English Website: www.mikimoto-pearl-museum.co.jp/en
■Ama Demonstration 海女実演 Ama (海女 lit. sea woman) are the traditional female pearl divers. They once played an essential role in the cultivation of pearls. Since development of pearl cultivation techniques the Ama are no longer needed. However, Ama demonstrations are held on Pearl Island in order to commemorate their once important role in pearl cultivation. Pearl Island is now the only place where you can see Ama in their traditional white diving wear.
- When: May 5 – August 12; on the hour, every hour between 09:00 – 17:00
- For other dates see www.mikimoto-pearl-museum.co.jp/ama
★Toba Bay Cruise 鳥羽湾めぐり
Take a 50 minute trip around the stunningly scenic Toba Bay and its collection of small islands, beauty spots, and blue sea. The boat leaves from the port and stops at the aquarium / Mikimoto Island, before venturing out into the bay for an optional stop at Dolphin Island (Iruka-jima). Boats depart every 30 minutes.
- Basic Tickets: Adults 1500 Yen, children 750 Yen
- Fare + Dolphin Island: Adults 2000 Yen, children 1000 Yen
- Dolphin Island イルカ島Dolphin Island features a ski lift (400 Yen, but you have the option to walk up the path as well) that takes you up to the top of the island giving you a panoramic view of the surrounding coast line. There are also regular shows:
- Dolphin show (Mar 21 – Oct 31): 09:50, 10:50, 11:50, 12:50, 12:50, 13:50, 14:50, 15:50
- Dolphin Touch: 11:10, 13:10, 14:10
- Sea lion show: 09:25, 10:25, 11:25, 12:25, 13:25, 14:25, 15:25
★Toba Aquarium 鳥羽水族館
Split into 12 zones with 850 species and 20,000 animals. It has a total walking route of 1.5km
- Sea Lion Show 10:30, 13:30 (weekends & holidays)
- Story Show 11:30, 15:00
- Walrus Performance 11:00, 13:30 (weekends & holidays)
- *Shows are approximately 20 minutes
- *Times shown are for Mar 21 – Oct 31; off-season show times may vary
- Open: Daily (09:00-17:00). July 20 – August 31 (08:30-17:30), November 1 – March 20 (09:00-16:30)
- Admission: Adults 2400 Yen, children (6 – 15) 1200 Yen, children (3-6) 600 Yen.
Futami, a small coastal town just outside Toba, is famous for the Wedded Rocks
Access: A 15 minute walk from JR Futaminoura Station 二見; 1 rapid express stop or 4 local stops before Toba
★The Wedded Rocks夫婦岩 Just outside Toba are the Meoto Iwa, two small rocks in the ocean joined by a heavy rope of rice straw. The rocks, are meant to celebrate the union in marriage of man and woman, with the larger rock said to be male. The best time to see the rocks is at dawn (varies between 04:30 – 05:30) during the summer, when the sun appears to rise between them. On a clear day Mount Fuji is visible in the distance. At low tide, the rocks are not separated by water.
★Futami Sea Paradise 二見シーパラダイス – An aquarium where you can see and touch animals up close – located a few hundred meters along the coast from the Wedded Rocks – is open daily 09:00 – 17:00 (seasonal opening times may vary) and admission is 1300 Yen for adults, 600 Yen for school-age children, and 300 Yen for children aged 3 to 6.
- Attractions:*times are subject to change
- Steller Sea Lion Show: weekday 10:00, 12:10. weekend 09:50, 12:10
- Walrus Walk: weekday 11:00, 13:00, 15:10. weekend 11:00, 13:00, 15:30
- Sea Lion Show: weekday 11:00, 13:00, 15:10. weekend 11:00, 13:00, 15:30
- Dolphin Touch: weekday 10:30, 14:00. weekend 10:20, 14:00
- Spotted Seal Touch: daily 13:40