beer stand at Okage Yokocho: Try Shinto Beer (Sinto Beer) (maybe only here)
The makers of this beer have the historical distinction of being the oldest Japanese brewery tracing their roots back to 1574. I didn't even notice the connection of the name Sinto at first with Shinto (one of Japan's primary belief systems meaning the way of the gods). For beer connoisseurs, the beer alone could be an excellent reason to come here (to Ise City) and sample it.
The staff selling the beer told me that it's the best in Japan. I'm very particular about beer and although it was good (better by far than Kirin, Asahi, and Sapporo), I have to say I wouldn't call it the best. That title I still reserve for Echigo beer in Niigata city (and for those who've tried it, I'm not the only one who thinks so).
As this is basically just a local brewery, this beer is not widely available. In fact, I had never seen it before. I guess I just got lucky to stumble upon it.
For more on the historical roots of this beer and others produced by the company please check out the website below.
What to pay: I think it cost me 300 yen for a can of the beer.
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Oharaimachi and Okage Yokocho: Where to Buy Your Omiyage
Oharaimachi has traditional Japanese buildings, and today they are shops and restaurants. Although many of the shops carry the same items, most of them also have items unique to their shop, so if you have time to browse before buying, it may be worthwhile to do so. There are more shops and restaurants in Okage Yokocho, which is located on a side street in the middle of Oharaimachi. Along with the shops there are also some games that you can play along the streets, similar to carnival games.
What to buy: Any souvenirs (omiyage) you wish to buy from Ise can be bought in Oharaimachi.
At the restaurants, you should try Ise Udon, because it is one of Ise City's famous dishes.
You may also wish to try Ise Ebi (shrimp), although it's a bit expensive!
In Okage Yokocho there is a Mikimoto pearl shop. If you wish to purchase Mikimoto jewelry but can't travel to Toba or do not wish to pay the fee to go to Mikimoto Pearl Island, the shop in Okage Yokocho is worth a stop.
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