Thursday, 24 December 2009

Japan 2009: Day 5 (Mikimoto Pearl Island at Toba 鳥羽)


From Futaminoura station, it’s a 10 min train ride to Toba station and Mikimoto Pearl Island is just a couple of mins walk from Toba station. Come out from the station and walk towards to torii, along the train track you should see it on your left then you cross under te track. It’s the home of world famous Mikimoto pearls =) I had wanted to buy a necklace to match my earrings but the string of pearls are all so expensive (thousands) I settled on a single pearl pendant on a chain =) Chris offered to buy the pearl pendant for me for our anniversary =) will save up to buy a string of pearls when I’m older and can carry it.

Ama 海女 (women divers) did a demo… amazing… they only wear a white suit (supposed to scare away sharks and dolphins) and can hold their breath for more than a minute. They hold/tie a rope to a floating wooden basin and dive in like those synchronised swimmers. When they emerge from the water, they’d breathe with a whistling sound, supposedly to minimise damage to the lungs. They dive for abalone, sea cucumber, sea urchin etc… and work all year round except during very cold seasons (but sea urchin is best in winter). Ama divers either work as a couple (husband waits on the boat) in deep seas or solo nearer the coast. Average age is 72 years old siah… power... no wonder called "ama" LOL




Here's a silly touristy shot... They had some backdrop and props so you can pretend to be a pearl harvestor and take pictures LOL


We had lunch there. Katsu kare (Pork cutlet curry). Quite nice =)

Access:
JR Rapid Mie from Nagoya to Toba (about 2 hours) or two stops from Futaminoura station. I suggest you visit Ise Shrine and Meoto-iwa as well because spending 2 hours to come here is not really worth the time. You can definitely do a day trip from Nagoya covering Ise Shrine, Meoto-iwa and Mikimoto Pearl Island if you start early.

Duration: 1 – 2 hours (Ama demonstration every hour)