The Prefectures of Japan

Mie Prefecture

Culture History

Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture is Japan’s most important center for Shintō, and the prefecture is also known for its ninja and its pearl divers.

Mie Prefecture in Tōkai is on the eastern side of the Kii Peninsula on Japan’s Pacific Ocean coast. Several of its cities, including the prefectural capital of Tsu, are located on the Ise Plain in the north of the prefecture. Mount Ōdaigahara in the southwest is known as one of the rainiest places in Japan.

Mie Prefecture at a Glance

  • Established in 1876 (formerly Ise Shima, Kii, and Iga provinces)
  • Capital: Tsu
  • Population: 1,770,000 (as of Oct. 2020)
  • Area: 5,774 km2


Ise Shrine, including its main Inner and Outer Shrines, is the most important center for Shintō in Japan. The two main shrines are rebuilt entirely every 20 years, with the most recent reconstruction taking place in 2013. Pilgrims have journeyed to the area for centuries. Iga is famous for its longstanding association with ninja, and visitors to the city can enjoy the Ninja Museum of Igaryū, introducing some of the stealthy spies’ tricks and traps.

The Ninja Museum of Igaryū. (© Pixta)
The Ninja Museum of Igaryū. (© Pixta)

Mie Prefecture has a robust manufacturing industry, specializing in items such as LCD panels and vending machines. It is known for its cultured pearl industry, initially developed by local businessman Mikimoto Kōkichi (1858–1954). In another marine connection, the prefecture’s traditional female ama freedivers plunge underwater in search of shellfish and other seafood.

An ama fishing. (© Pixta)
An ama fishing. (© Pixta)

Famous Figures

  • Matsuo Bashō (1644–94): Poet and travel writer, who was instrumental in the development of the haiku.
  • Edogawa Ranpo (1894–1965): Writer of mystery fiction, known for his uncanny and grotesque themes.
  • Yoshida Saori (1982–): Freestyle wrestler who won gold medals at three successive Olympics, and was the flagbearer for Japan in 2012.

(Originally published in English. Banner photo: The morning sun at the Uji Bridge, which leads into the Inner Shrine at Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture. © Pixta.)

For the complete list of the country’s 47 prefectures, see “The Prefectures of Japan.”

Mie prefectures Ise Shrine Tsu