Known to be the “Soul of Japan”, Ise Jingu (Ise Grand Shrine) has been a popular place for pilgrimage from the old days, and as of today, is still attracting travelers from all around the world. If you are planning for your visit to the Ise-Jingu, you should start to prepare your list for what to eat at “Okage Yokocho”. Let us introduce you to some of the must-eat gourmets for your visit to the Grand shrine.
What is Okage Yokocho?
Okage Yokocho is an alley leading to the Ise-Jingu. Opened in 1993, it reproduced the streetscape of the Meiji & Edo eras, and have around 50 stores selling souvenirs and local cuisines. The name “Okage (= Grateful) Yokocho (= Alley)” comes from thanking the Grand Shrine, as its profit is collected from tourists visiting the shrine. The entrance to this alley is free.
List of Must Eat Gourmets at “Okage Yokocho”
“Akafuku” – Akafuku Main Branch
One thing you cannot miss is visiting the main branch of “Akafuku”, which is the most popular store in this alley. Being the top-ranked souvenir of Japan, Akafuku is loved for over 300 years. It is a Japanese style snack, with a smooth red bean paste surrounding a chewy mochi. The sophisticated sweetness matches perfectly with the Japanese tea of Ise.
“Ise Udon” – Fukusuke
Ise Udon, a local specialty of Ise, is special for its thick noodles combined with a rich sauce made by special blended “Dashi” and Soy Sauce of Ise. The texture of the Udon is surprisingly soft and fluffy, allowing you to finish your bowl within just a few minutes!
“Tekone Zushi” – Sushikyu
Located on the coastline, Ise is blessed with fresh seafood. Try eating the “Tekone Zushi”, local cuisine of this area. This is not normal sushi but is a bowl of rice topped with sashimi marinated in soy sauce. At Sushikyu, they serve you “Tekone Zushi” using Bonito, which matches perfectly with the thick and sweet soy sauce of Ise.
“Matsuzaka Beef” – Dangorou Chaya
Ise is known for its world-famous wagyu; the Matsuzaka Beef. At Okage Yokocho, you will be able to savor various types Matsuzaka Beef gourmet. If you wish to experience having Matsuzaka Beef without paying much money, go to Dangorou Chaya to take out the Matsuzaka Beef Skewer, and bite into the juicy meat!
“Coroquette” – Butasute
Butasute is a butcher founded in the Meiji Era. Being famous for its beef cuisines, the most popular of all is the just fried croquettes which you can take out and eat while wandering around the alley. The small-sized croquette is perfect for you to pop into your mouth when you feel there is that empty space left in your stomach.