Old-fashioned shops line the street
Oharai-machi is located in front of the Naiku for Ise-Jingu Shrine. On this beautiful 800m stone-paved street which extends from Ujibashi Bridge along the Isuzu River, there are plenty of old residences lined up which evoke that old-fashioned atmosphere. Many of the buildings that can be seen on the street are constructed in the tsuma-iri style in which the main entrance is situated perpendicular to the gabled roof. It is said that this style developed in deference from the townspeople to the hira-iri style (the entrance is parallel to the roof) which characterizes the awe-inspiring appearance of the shrine buildings of Ise Jingu.
The real pleasure of Oharai-machi is in walking while enjoying the famous food of Ise
There are many examples of local cuisine along the beautiful stone-paved street! You can easily enjoy a stroll while indulging in items such as nerimono (spread food) using the freshest seafood and soft-serve ice cream made with tofu along with the famous Matsuzaka beef. When it comes to lunch, much recommended are Ise udon and tekone-sushi (raw fish placed on a bowl of rice). Ise udon involves eating thick noodles in a dark and rich soup. The noodles have a soft texture instead of the usual firm bite so that they have a gentle taste which is evident even on sight. Tekone-sushi is a local dish that was first developed in the Shima region. Red-fleshed fish such as bonito and maguro tuna are marinated in a shoyu-based sauce and placed upon vinegared rice. Even now in Mie Prefecture, this is eaten at banquet parties.
The Tsuitachi Mairi on the 1st of every month is alive with activity right from the wee hours
On the 1st of each month, there is a pilgrimage to Ise Jingu Shrine to give thanks to the gods in a spirit of purity to start the month in a ritual known as the Tsuitachi Mairi (Pilgrimage of the First). It was first established in the Meiji Era and since then it has continued to thrive. Especially on August 1st, the ritual is called Hassaku Sanguu in which after the walk to the shrine, prayers are made for a bumper harvest and sound health. A number of shops on Oharai-machi open up early in the morning and a special menu of dishes including Tsuitachi asagayu (morning rice soup) is prepared which is perfect for the morning meal. Furthermore, Okage Yokocho which is in the center of Oharai-machi is very active right from the early morning hours. There is a morning market from 4am to 8am.