Heading to Ise?

Good morning everyone,

It's just cloudy now, but it looks like it's going to rain later today-around lunchtime and then continue through the day and into tomorrow morning. The rest of the week will be a mix of sun and clouds with highs in the mid to high 20s.

With the G7 Ise-Shima conference having wrapped up, I'm thinking of making my way to Ise City, Mie Prefecture.

So, I'd like to explore some of the culinary wonders of Ise, although being the cheapskate I am, I'm taking a pass on such prestigious yet premium local delicacies as Ise ebi (spiny lobster) and Matsuzaka beef, and have instead compiled a list of six (affordable) things you’ll want to try when you visit the home of Shinto’s Ise Shrine.

1. Ise miso ramen
Kura de Ramen /蔵 de らーめん

IF 1

Sapporo may be Japan’s most famous miso ramen mecca, but Kura de Ramen’s take on the dish, made with locally produced miso and served in a converted miso warehouse, looks like some seriously tasty stuff. And if you know me, you know that miso is my first choice when it comes to ramen.

2. Ise udon
Chitose / ちとせ

IF 2

If you’re craving even more Ise-style noodles, make your next bowl one of Ise udon, the chilled noodles that have been refreshing travelers and pilgrims for generations. Chitose’s udon is especially tasty, with a consistency that’s pleasingly soft and fluffy, but never mushy.

3. Beef bowl/gyudon
Butasute /豚捨

IF 3

Butasute means “throw out the pigs,” which is a really odd name for a restaurant. Still, after eating one of their mouthwatering beef bowls, filled with juicy, flavorful strips of beef, you might find you’ve acquired a similar disdain for pork.

4. Akafuku Kori

IF 4

This dessert is perfect for indecisive types. Akafuku is famous for the confectionary of the same name, which is a small ball of mochi enveloped in smooth anko (sweet bean paste).

▼ Akafuku

IF 5

The akafuku kori, though, takes an akafuku and tosses it into a heaping serving of matcha-flavored shaved ice, making it sweetly satisfying and soothingly cool.

IF 6

5. Henba mochi
Henba Shoten / へんば商店

IF 7

While it’s not as famous as akafuku, henba mochi is also definitely worth trying. Composition-wise, it’s the exact opposite of akafuku, with mochi on the outside and anko inside.

6. Ise ebi ice cream
Oharaimachi / おはらい町

IF 8

Next to Ise Shrine you’ll find Oharaimachi, a neighborhood with souvenir shops and restaurants catering to the many travelers the shrine draws. Some of the stalls sell ice cream, and if you’re craving something more unique than chocolate or vanilla, you can try ice cream actually flavored with Ise ebi.

Being made from Ise ebi makes it hard to say no to, but this scoop of ice cream genuinely tastes, and smells, like a bunch of shellfish. So while it’s worth eating if you’re trying to one-up anyone who’s eaten instant ramen ice cream, this Ise ebi ice cream is definitely something you eat more for the experience than the flavor. As such, you might want to try it before the other items on this list, because you’ll probably find yourself wanting to eat something else to get the taste out of your mouth as soon as possible.

How about you? Is there anything you recommend trying in Ise?

Have a great day!

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