In Japan, most big companies own a couple of hotels on scenery locations in Japan where employees can spend time free of charge. Now that’s nice! So we traveled all the way to Mie prefecture, about 3 hours south-east of Osaka, to spend a night in our company’s hotel, which included a luxurious dinner, bubble-baths, an outdoor pool with the company logo in it and a game room downstairs. The view from our room was also fantastic!
For dinner we had to sukiyaki our own Matsusaka beef. This beef is one of the most famous beef in Japan. The cows are raised in the quiet and peaceful surroundings of Mie prefecture. The cows live a wonderful life, drinking beer and receiving massages, also enjoying nice and soothing music throughout the day. It may sound a bit ridiculous but it’s true! Maybe that’s why the Matsusaka beef is so delicicous!
The next course was another very famous Japanese food; The Ise-ebi, or spiny lobster! This lobster, like the cows, lives a happy quiet life in the Mie prefecture. This expensive lobster is often used in Japanese high-cuisine, and it was absolutely delicious. It was a bit tricky to eat though, the lobster has some nasty stings on his back!
We went to the game room and baths, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset!
The next day we got up early for breakfast and then headed to the town of Ise, which is where the most important shinto shrine of Japan is located. This shrine is rebuilt every 20 years as a tradition, and since that was around last year, the temple looked very new!
Around Ise there are a lot of shrines and temples, and Ise is seen as the place where all Japanese gods come together and can be worshipped. The priest(ess) of this shrine has to be someone from the Imperial family, emphasizing the importance of this shrine.
We then visited another impressive spot just outside of Ise near the ocean:
The Meoto Iwa (the Wedded Rocks)!
A rope that weighs more than a ton connects these two rocks and they are said to symbolize the gods Izanami and Izanagi and their marriage. In summer you can actually see between these rocks the sun rise just above mount Fuji!
Another funny rock started the worship of frogs in this area. The rocks looks like a little frog!
And so there are frogs statues and shrines all over the place, very funny :-)
We then headed back to the train to start the long journey back to Osaka.