|Centrip Editorial Board

Ise Shima Most Popular Souvenir: Centrip Japan's Complete Guide to Ise Shima

Since many Japanese have visited Ise from the olden times, there are many gifts sold there. A wide variety of gifts such as traditional craftworks, knick-knacks, accessories, and sweets are available. There are many stores where you can buy various kinds of gifts all at once.

Pearls
Pearls are mystic jewelry grown inside the seashell. Toba is the very first place in the world to succeed in cultivating pearls, and birthplace of Mikimoto, the world famous jewelry brand. Here, many pearl products are sold as gifts, ranging from high-end jewelry to reasonably-priced pieces. Since Toba has a lot of pearl shops, you may find a one-of-a-kind.
Ise Cotton
Among many Japnese crafts including kimonos, Japanese visitors often buy cloth products made of Ise cotton as gifts because they are great for daily use. Tenugui [Japanese hand towels] and handkerchiefs are popular gifts. The more you use them, the more they get soft. Also, you can use them for many years. So, cloth products are perfect as gifts and for practical use.
Mochi
Since the samurai era, Japanese people have traveled to Ise Shrine from far away to worship, at least once in their lifetime. People like to take mochi [rice cakes] with them on their trips because it is fast and filling. There are many unique types of mochi available in Ise. Even the road to Ise from Kuwana in Mie is called Mochi Street! Eating mochi will take you back to a time when travelers enjoyed them on their way to their destinations.
Shell Madeleines
Toba's most popular souvenir is the pearl-shaped madeleine. Every madeleine is hand-baked and made with locally-sourced eggs and flour. They are crispy outside and soft inside. Also, natural pearl shell calcium created by the Mikimoto group is mixed into the madeleine. Cleopatra was said to use pearls to maintain her beautiful appearance.
Ise Stencils
For over 1000 years, these stencils have been an integral part of the fabric dying process. These stencils are made from Japanese paper and carved into patterns used to dye clothing. They were originally used in the production of kimonos and yukatas, but are also used to make more everyday items and souvenir pieces as well. At Ise Shrine's nearby Okage Yokocho, you'll find souvenirs like Japanese hand towels that feature patterns created with these stencils. You'll also find kimonos featuring these designs available for rental. Enjoy a stroll in a bit of fancy dress.
Matsuzaka Cotton
These strips of woven cloth are dyed indigo and express subtle color intensities that depend on how they were exactly dyed. This cloth is known at Matsuzaka Momomi, and specialty shops in Okage Yokocho turn it into beautiful articles of clothing, umbrellas, pouches, stuffed toys, bags, caps and Japanese folding fans. The soft color of the fabric is gorgeous.
Iga Braids
These braids are made using high-quality string. They were once used as in the making of a samurai's weapons and tools used by Buddhist priests. They are also used for kimono accessories, a skill passed down through the generations. These beautiful braids are fashioned using raw silk and gold or silver thread. Okage Yokocho is home to a shop specializing in these types of braids and they sell souvenirs such as phone straps, key rings, earrings, and coasters. They are available in a host of different colors.
Good Luck Cats
These cat ornaments are placed in front of businesses in order to bring good luck. You'll often find them placed in front of shops and restaurants throughout Japan. In the fall, there are lucky cat festivals and shops specializing in lucky cats in Ise Shrine's nearby Okage Yokocho. They have 1000 different kind of cats on-hand. The tradition of the lucky cat is a long one and Okage Yokocho has many special ones of its own.

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