Exploring Mie prefecture; Japan’s spiritual home and premier golf tourism destination.
Aussies have been traveling to Japan for many years now for the fantastic skiing that the northern regions offer during winter, but when it comes to golf, relatively little is known about the amazing golf destination that is Japan.
The largest golfing nation in Asia, Japan has a whopping 2,200+ courses all over the country, and 68 of the most beautiful of which are located in the picturesque Mie prefecture in the south. Renowned for its religious and cultural importance, boasting some of the most important world heritage sites on the island, and is fast creating a name for itself as Japan’s international golf destination of choice.
Mie is located in the center of Japan. From Tokyo, it’s an easy 1-hour flight from Haneda Airport to Centrair airport. Once there, It is recommended to rent a car and head around the Ise Bay and into Mie prefecture.
Starting in the northern Hokusei region of Mie, there are some fantastic courses to choose from; Mie Country Club lies in the Komono area and is 5 minutes from the Komono expressway exit. A great course to kick-off on, this straight 18-hole course is not too long but requires some controlled shot-making, check out the 12th’s crazy elevated green, and it can’t hurt to have a pray to the golf gods at the only golf-dedicated monument located on the course!. Just down the road from Mie Country Club and a must-visit, is the Gozaisho ropeway (the oldest ropeway in Japan) or if you are looking for something a little romantic then head back to Nagashima on the coast for a trip to Nabana no Sato, an amusement park dedicated to flowers that are breathtakingly lit up at night.
Back to the golf, and something a bit more exclusive; located a little further north, the Ryosen golf club is a real treat, this caddy-only course has some epic holes with the surrounding mountains making a dramatic backdrop, add to that- lakes, waterfalls, and probably the most strategically placed bunkers known to humanity; and you won’t be disappointed. Also worthy of mention is Suzuka Country Club, boasting 52 holes, the 3 courses have something for everyone with the Naka course being the longest and most challenging, the Nishi course being the shortest and arguably the most scorable, and the Higashi course, with slick Korai greens (unusual for Japan) offering a true test.
Traveling to the southern region we come to the spiritual home of the land of the rising sun: The Ise Shima area.
Ise Jingu shrine is probably one of the most revered Shinto shrines in Japan, with two main shrines of Naiku and Geku, and a network of 125 shrines in the extended area. It’s well worth it to take a day or two to just explore this amazing place, take the pilgrimage route around the shrines, and stroll down the famed Okage Yokocho shopping street for Japanese street food and traditional souvenirs.
Just a short drive away is the wonderful Ago bay, renowned for its breathtaking natural environment and steeped in local tradition. The course to play in this region is Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club, the site of the LPGA Mizuno open for many years, where Karrie Webb famously won her 34th victory in stoic fashion. It’s a fantastic mature course, with wide fairways and very quick greens. Very reasonably priced to play too, given the history and quality of the course. Right next door is the Miyako Resort Shima Bayside Terrace Hotel which has amazing views of the Ago bay and national park, delicious Japanese and French food, and is the perfect regional base from which to go exploring. Recommended is to take the tour from the hotel jetty, which includes cruising Ago bay and a visit to one of the local pearl farmers, where you can harvest pearls for yourself and even make jewelry with your new-found treasure. Also on the tour, you can try your hand at traditional weaving with reeds, passed down from generation-to-generation, It’s a really enjoyable experience to sit with the local artisans and learn to make a pair of traditional Zori sandals!.
If you would like to come to Mie for Golf and some sightseeing, you really need to allow 5-10 days to truly give yourself enough time to experience this fantastic region. There is plenty of help for planning and booking, and all courses and hotels are available for 2021 bookings.
Mie Golf Tourism Organization:
All course information and articles
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