Guide to the gourmet destinations and souvenir shops in Ise Jingu and Okage Yokocho

Ise Jingu is a famous shrine always drawing crowds. During your visit, don’t miss Okage Yokocho street, located right by the Inner shrine (Naiku) of Ise Grand in the center of the Oharai-machi. In this article, we will introduce must-visit foodie destinations and souvenir shops in Okage Yokocho, lined up along the beautiful streets.

About Okage Yokocho

Okage Yokocho is a popular tourist spot with around 50 specialty stores selling everything from Ise souvenirs to gourmet foods. The word ‘okage yokocho’ is a mix of ‘okagesama,’ a Japanese word for gratitude, and ‘yokocho,’ an alleyway. 
It was built to express the gratitude to the Ise Jingu. 

The street reproduced the crowded Ise temple town from the Edo to the Meiji eras. Walking amidst the bustle feels like time slipping back to the old times and proves a nice opportunity to experience a historic charm of Mie's long-established stores and local specialties.  

What to eat at Okage Yokocho

Here are some recommended gourmet foods to try at Okage Yokocho. 

Akafuku 

Akafuku is a famous Japanese sweets shop in Ise City, Mie Prefecture, with a history dating back to 300 years. There is not a single soul in Japan who doesn’t know about it. Its most famous confectionery product, akafuku-mochi is made of red beans, glutinous rice, and sugar. 

The shape of the bean paste represents the flow of the Isuzu River and white mochi inside depicts pebbles on the riverbed. At the store opposite Akafuku, you can also enjoy seasonal foods like shaved ice ‘Akafuku ice’ in summer and warm bean soup ‘Akafuku zenzai’ in winter. 

Yummy and recommended when visiting Ise! 

Udon Restaurant Fukusuke 

This restaurant serves Ise Udon, known for its thick noodles and a dark dipping sauce. It can be enjoyed by everyone, from small children to the elderly. Fukusuke's homemade dipping sauce is made with tamari soy sauce and soup stock containing bonito flakes and kelp. Unlike conventional soy sauce, tamari sauce contains a higher volume of soybeans, resulting in a rich, thick texture. 

In addition, you can try a simple Ise udon without any ingredients, or choose your own topping such as Matsuzaka beef, Japanese beef brand that comes from the region of Mie, shrimp tempura or egg-topped Tsukimi udon, shown in the photo. 

Enjoy historical vibes of the old days together with Ise Udon! 

Dango-ya 

The only one specialty store at Okage Yokocho that serves classic dango, grilled rice flour dumplings on a stick. Dango in the photo is made with sweet soy sauce mitarashi and sugar syrup kuromitsu, unique to the Ise region. With additional flavors such as roasted soybean flour kinako and pure soy sauce, the freshly made dango tastes best even if it’s cold.  

Omiyage-ya 

As the name suggests, this is the best place to buy souvenirs from Ise. On top of that,  Omiyage-ya also provides information on the various stores in Okage Yokocho, first aid and nursing room services. The most recommended items are the Okage Inu (thankful dog) branded goods. The Okage Inu was believed to have been sent on pilgrimages to Ise Shrine on the master’s behalf.  

Store sells numerous kinds of auspicious souvenirs, including ceramic Okage Inu, which have paper fortunes inside. This 5-cm tall palm-sized figure makes a perfect gift.  

There are many other cute goods and items on sale, including body towels and Japanese-style tenugui hand towels. 

Bancha tea house 

Mie Prefecture is one of the most famous tea producing areas in Japan, and tea is generally recognized as a must-have souvenir. Bancha tea house offers delicious tea and ensures its safety standards by stating that tea leaves are bred in Japan without any pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

Bancha tea house sells organic tea adapted to the local environment without using a selective breeding method. Called indigenous tea, it has been cultivated in the local region for centuries. 

Cute tea packages suitable for souvenirs are available for a purchase. You can also sample tea inside the store. 

Okage Yokocho street 

Okage Yokocho is a charming ancient street filled with tourist gems. Visitors flock to see the traditional buildings along the street and slip back in the time.  

There are many benches installed in Okage Yokocho. Please sit down and do not savor Ise’s culinary delights while walking.  

Since Okage Yokocho takes its historical vibes seriously, there are no signs in English, but as you can see in this photo, there are many trash cans blended in with the scenery. Being respectful and well-mannered is important during sightseeing.  

Finally

Okage Yokocho, with its historical Ise’s streetscapes featuring Edo and Meiji period architecture, resembles a theme park. Virtually everyone who visits Ise Jingu goes to Okage Yokocho after paying their respects in the shrine to feel traditional Japanese culture.  

Access: 

Address 52 Uji-Nakanokiri-cho, Ise City, Mie Prefecture 516-8558, Japan
Transportation Get off at Ise-shi station or Ujiyamada Station, board Mie Kotsu Bus.
bound for Naiku-mae, get off at Jingu Kaikan-mae Stop and walk 5 min.
To go back, board Mie Kotsu Bus bound for Ujiyamada Station, Ise-shi Station, Soto-gu Mae, get off at Ise-shi Station Stop and walk min.
Official website https://www.okageyokocho.co.jp/