We spent 10 days in Mie in September 2016.
It was not our first time there. We’d lived in Suzuka for 2 years a long time ago. And I also lived there when I was a kid. It’s a place filled with memories. Plus, it has my dad. He hadn’t met Coral yet, so this was perfect.
While we were there, we used most of the time to stay with my dad, see friends, see the places we used to love. It was such a great time. I love it there. It’s not fancy like Tokyo, nor historical like Kyoto, nor is it the prettiest place on earth, but it’s still great.
We spent most of our time in Suzuka, at my dad’s. It’s a small town that gets crowded once a year when it’s F1 season. They have the Suzuka Circuit. We, smartly, missed it.
We’ve posted many photos on Instagram, and you can see the difference. There are houses and low buildings (even though some of them reach 10 stories high) and so many rice plantations.
Last time we were there was in 2010 and a great part of it hadn’t changed: same houses, same stores, same restaurants, same parks, same everything. It was great not having to figure everything out every time we went out. It was a lot less time trying to figure out where and how to go and more time doing what we wanted to.
The 10 days went by way too fast, it rained almost every day and we didn’t get to do everything we wanted to (guess what, it’s not that easy living there without a car). But we enjoyed it.
Where to eat in Mie with kids
– Kappa Sushi: it’s a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. The sushi isn’t the best, but it’s a fun experience. When the kids were little, they’d want to order just to see the sushi they chose arriving on a small bullet train over the conveyor belt. Just fun. I love their tea, it’s not too bitter nor too strong, just delicious. It’s a chain, we found one in Osaka too.
– Tonkatsu Saboten: a restaurant specialized in katsu (deep-fried breadcrumbed meat), pretty good. We didn’t eat in, but we bought the food, took home, and ate a few hours later, and it was still delicious. Apparently, they’re all over Japan.
– Stamina Tarou: a Japanese barbecue restaurant in Yokkaichi that’s all you can eat style. Grilling your own meat and veggies is a good experience. Just beware, you’ll have 90 minutes to eat.
– Pinède: a French patissèrie with just the best ever choux cream in the world. Really. Not that I’ve tried the real French one, though.
– Baskin & Robins: ice cream, from the USA. Love the strange Japanese flavors, like maple and sweet potato. Try them, they are incredibly good!
– Kiou Ramen: it used to be my favorite ramen in the whole world, but now it’s not anymore. I still love it, and the pork dumplings are so delicious! Oh, the chili sauce here is probably the best! Try the abura-soba (or the ramen without soup, with a bit of olive oil). Plus, they have a nice play area for kids.
– Okada Shokudô: We used to go there a lot when we were living there because it was cheap, had a wide variety of food, you can choose item by item and it’s traditional home-made Japanese food. Most shokudôs are like that, so give it a try!
– Ueno Kouen Kankou Shokudô: A small restaurant by the Ninja Museum in Igaueno. It serves only udon and soba, nothing exceptional, just okay.
What to do in Mie with kids
For fun, we only went to 2 playgrounds: Flower Park and Bentenyama Kôen. They’re both fun, though they’re different. Flower Park is a bit far, not easy without a car, but it’s massive. Coral loved it. Bentenyama Kôen is just behind Hunter mall nearby Hirata-chô train station, smaller but with water plays. 2 fake geyser-like things where kids can play and one artificial creek, which is super fun.
But then, we went to Iga, the ninja village. Not that there are real ninjas there (at least I don’t think so, but they’re sneaky, so…) but there’s the ninja museum, with loads of stuff about ninja. In Danjiri-kan (the Danjiri Museum or the museum about the festivals push cars) where you can dress up in a ninja costume and spend the day like that. Even in Iga Castle, there were ‘ninjas’ on the walls.
One thing my kids loved to death was Suzuka malls’ arcade area. They got wild every time we saw one. They were lucky grandpa gave them money or they wouldn’t be able to play as much.
What I loved the most, as you can probably imagine, is the food. Hahaha, always that with me.
We deliberately skipped Suzuka Circuit’s theme park, Motopia, because it’s more geared toward smaller kids and with 3 big ones, it wouldn’t be worth it. We also missed Suzuka river, which we loved, and the beach. Both of them due to lack of time and way too many tattoos (they do get people scared still, even more, if they’re big tattoos, like ours).
And a bit of Suzuka!
Would you consider going to a small town like Suzuka if ever going to Japan? Let us know!