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Getting There

By Train -- The easiest way to get to Ise-Shima is from Nagoya on the private Kintetsu Railway's Ise Shima Liner (tel. 052/561-1604; www.kintetsu.co.jp), which departs every 30 minutes or so from Kintetsu Station, next to the JR Nagoya Station. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes via limited express to reach Ise (with stops at both Ise-Shi and Ujiyamada stations), about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Toba, and 2 hours and 10 minutes to reach Kashikojima (note: only JR trains go to Futami). A ticket from Nagoya to the end of the line in Kashikojima costs ¥3,480 one-way. There are also Kintetsu trains to Shima Peninsula from Kyoto (2 1/4 hr. to Toba; fare: ¥3,780) and from Osaka's Uehonmachi Station (2 hr. to Toba; fare: ¥3,550 and ¥3,450). Most economical, however, is to purchase a Kintetsu Rail Pass before arriving in Japan, which costs ¥3,500, is valid for 5 days (but only three journeys can be aboard a limited express train), and includes travel to and from Nagoya, Osaka/Kyoto, and Ise.

If you're traveling on a Japan Rail Pass, you can also reach Ise-Shima by JR Mie Kaisoku (rapid express) trains, which depart hourly from Nagoya Station, but you'll be charged an extra ¥490. JR trains stop at Ise-Shi and Futami-no-ura before terminating at Toba, where, if you're heading to Kashikojima, you'll have to transfer to the Kintetsu Line (fare from Toba to Kashikojima: ¥460).

By Bus -- Buses depart nightly from Tokyo's Ikebukuro Station's east exit at 10:20 and 11:20pm, arriving at Ise-Shi Station at 7:10 and 8:10am respectively and Toba 30 minutes later. The fare to Ise-Shi Station is ¥8,200 one-way. From Kyoto Station, buses depart four times a day for the Ise Grand Shrines and Ise-Shi Station for ¥3,000.

Visitor Information

Be sure to drop by the Tourist Information Centers in Tokyo or the international airports at Narita or Osaka to pick up the free leaflet, "Ise-Shima," which lists train schedules from Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya and gives information on the park's main attractions (you can also download it from the Japan National Tourist Organization's website at www.jnto.go.jp by looking under "Browse by Destinations"). Otherwise, drop by the Ise City Tourist Information Offices located in front of the Outer Shrine Gate (tel. 0596/28-3705), open daily 8:30am to 5pm, and at Kintetsu Ujiyamada Station in Ise City (tel. 0596/23-9655) open daily 9 to 5:30pm; or check its website at www.ise-kanko.jp. The Toba Tourist Office at exit 1 of Toba Station (tel. 0599/25-2844; www.toba.gr.jp) is open daily 9am to 5:30pm. More information on the area is available at www.iseshima-kanko.jp.

Getting Around

Transportation within Ise-Shima National Park is either by train or by bus. Trains are convenient if your destinations are Ise City, Toba, Futami, and Kashikojima. Some major sites, however, including the Ise Grand Shrines and Ise Azuchi Momoyama Bunkamura, are best reached by bus. For sightseers, there's the CAN-Bus, which you can board in front of the JR stations in Ise City and Toba. Buses, departing about once an hour on weekdays and twice an hour on weekends, travel from Ujiyamada and Ise-Shi stations to both Outer and Inner Shrines of the Ise Grand Shrines and Ise Azuchi Momoyama Bunkamura before continuing onward to Toba. One-day passes for ¥1,000 and 2-day passes for ¥1,600 can be bought aboard the buses (unfortunately, the bus timetable is in Japanese only). There are also local buses that run between the Outer and Inner Shrine of the Ise Grand Shrines; you must also take a bus for Parque España.

In Ise, it makes sense to rent a bicycle, available at Ujiyamada Station (¥500 for 4 hr.). Ise-Shi and Ujiyamada stations are a 7-minute walk apart. There are luggage storage facilities at Ujiyamada, Toba, and Ise-Shi stations, as well as at the entrance to the Inner Shrine in Ise.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.