Meet new & old JAPAN ~MIE Prefecture 4 Pearl


Mie Prefecture has turned into a center of pearl cultivation

In 1858, Mikimoto Kōkichi (御木本 幸吉) was born in Toba City, Mie Prefecture. While gaining experience from various businesses and trading, his attention was attracted by pearls, which at the time were a famous specialty of Shima. Initially, he engaged in pearl oyster breeding but soon went on trying to cultivate the pearl itself. While repetitiously experimenting and experiencing failure, Kōkichi put great effort into realizing his dream. His efforts finally bore fruit in 1893, when Kōkichi succeeded in creating a semispherical pearl. Then, in 1905, he managed to come up with the world’s first cultivated pearl. Ever since, Mie Prefecture has turned into a center of pearl cultivation, with its crafting technique and quality gaining high acclaim internationally. With Ise City, Toba City and Shima City featuring many pearl shops, why not buy a pearl as a souvenir from the trip?

To know more about pearls

mie2■Mikimoto Pearl Island (mikimoto shinjushima): The island where Mikimoto Kōkichi fi rst succeeded in creating a pearl. It is the birthplace of the international “Mikimoto” brand and has a museum where you can view the history and art of pearl cultivation handicraft. You can also watch a performance by the ama (“female shell divers”).

■Kashikojima España (“Spanish”) Cruise (kashikojima esupānya kurūzu): Tour of Ago Bay where you can watch the rafts used in pearl cultivation.

Text and photo are from MIE Prefecture. Supported by JETRO KUALA LUMPUR. MIE Tourism Guide Facebook: travelmiejapan