From Mie Guidebook
Shima (志摩市 : Shima-shi) is a small city in eastern Mie with a population of about 60,000. A few years ago, there was a big merger of five separate towns and because of this, Shima isn't so much of a "city" as it is a bunch of small towns grouped in the same area.
It is where the Kintetsu train line meets its endpoint (ever seen trains going to "Kashikojima"...yea, that's in Shima)
"Shima" is named after the old province. What is now the city of Shima and the city of Toba used to be their own province during the Edo period, and that was known as Shima Province.
When the city was created after the merger, the name "Shima" was chosen as it has name recognition throughout Japan and covers most of the area that was once Shima Province. People in the towns were actually allowed to vote on the name of the new city and their choice was "Shima".
The word "Shima" is age-old and the origin is hard to trace. It is likely a reference to the Japanese word shima 「島」 meaning "island", however for some reason the province chose to use these more decorative kanji characters.
What is now the "city" of Shima was once five distinct towns:
- Ago (阿児町)
- Isobe (磯部町)
- Shima (志摩町)
- Daiō (大王町)
- Hamajima (浜島町)
Sanco runs a variety of buses around Shima, but prices add up pretty quickly.
Having a car is recommended in Shima, it is extremely spread out and so getting by on a bicycle is challenging.
The city, Isobe in particular, is home to Shima Spain Village. It's a Spain-themed amusement park with a couple of decent rides amidst a load of crappy ones. The Pyrenees is a decent roller-coaster but the whole place is essentially overpriced. After paying an entrance fee, you STILL have to pay for individual rides (¥600 for Pyrenees).
- Yokoyama Observatory (横山展望台 yokoyama tembōdai)
- There's an observatory on Yokoyama that gives a great view of the whole Ago Bay
- Daiōzaki (大王崎 daiō zaki)
- A gorgeous little town with a small lighthouse, well worth a visit. From Ugata station take bus 60 from stop number 2 for about 40 minutes (¥400 ish). It's ¥200 to get into the lighthouse and the surrounding area is very scenic. Don't forget your camera.
- Anorizaki Lighthouse (安乗崎灯台 anori zaki tōdai)
- Another lighthouse, about 20-30 minutes from Ugata. It is immediately north of Kō Beach.
Events and Festivals
Shima has a wonderful marathon every April. There are 10km and half-marathon courses. The route is beautiful, but rather tough due to the number of hills. It's rated in the top 100 marathons in Japan and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys running.
Food and Drink
Restaurants and Bars
- The Standard - Official website
- A Shot Bar run by a cute and friendly Japanese couple, Shinji and Kyoko. Close friends of former ALTs, they would love for you to visit. Visit Goza-shirahama during the day, drink away the evening at The Standard.
Recreation and Entertainment
- Kō Beach (国府白浜海水浴場 kō-shirahama kaisui yokujō)
- One of the best beaches in Mie Prefecture; popular amongst surfers from far and wide. Location of the annual welcome beach party.
- Goza Beach (御座白浜 goza-shirahama)
- Smaller than Kō Beach but definitely one the most beautiful white sand beaches in Mie Prefecture.
- By Car: From Ugata, travel along the Route 260.
- By bus: 2-minute walk from Goza Shirahama Bus Stop after 60-minute ride on buses heading to Goza-ko from Ugata Station on Kintetsu Line, or 10-minute walk after 25-minute ride on scheduled boat service from in front of Kashikojima Station on Kintetsu Line.
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