Spouses’ ProgramーJapanese Hospitalityー

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Akie Abe, the wife of the Japanese prime minister, hosted the G7 Ise-Shima Summit’s Spouses’ Program in Mie. This program provided a chance to experience Japan’s scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage, including Ise-jingu Shrine and Mikimoto Pearl Island, and to cultivate friendships in a peaceful atmosphere with food that made plentiful use of ingredients from Mie. Participating in this program were Joachim Sauer, the husband of the German chancellor; Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, the wife of the Canadian prime minister; and Małgorzata Tusk, the wife of the president of the European Council.

The Spouses’ Program itinerary was filled with the attractions of Japan and Mie Prefecture.

The Japanese Hospitality Route lets visitors tour the area of the Spouses’ Program.It is highly recommended for getting the most out of your first visit to Ise and Shima!

1Ise-jingu Shrine (the Inner Shrine)

When you reach the long path paved with crushed gravel, you’re within the shrine precincts.

2Mikimoto Pearl Island

Watch the female ama divers dressed in their ancient white garb put on a performance.

3Shima Kanko Hotel The Classic

This long-standing hotel, located on Kashiko Island in Ise-Shima National Park, affords a panoramic view of Ago Bay.

1Ise-jingu Shrine: The Inner Shrine (Kotai-jingu)

Japan’s unspoilt landscape, the nation’s spiritual homeland

おEver since the reign of Emperor Suinin some 2,000 years ago, Amaterasu, the ancestor of the royal household, has been enshrined in Kotai-jingu Shrine, by the Isuzu River, as the tutelary goddess of the Japanese people. To reach the inner shrine, one must cross the Uji Bridge. When you reach the long path paved with crushed gravel, you’re within the shrine precincts. Japan’s unspoilt landscape, the nation’s spiritual homeland, lies before you.

● Spouses’ Program, Day One: Morning Visit

Mrs. Abe and the other spouses went to visit Ise-jingu Shrine. First they were greeted in front of Uji Bridge by preschool children from the shrine kindergarten, and then they continued with their experience of the shrine’s solemn, dignified atmosphere by visiting the shogu shrine (Kotai-jingu Shrine).

For lunch, as part of the hospitality shown by Mrs. Abe, the other spouses were presented with dishes made with plentiful ingredients grown in Mie Prefecture, as well as Japanese sake and wine, using the meal as an extremely valuable opportunity to share the appeal of Japan’s culinary culture with the world.

The G7 leaders’ spouses cross Uji Bridge, one of Japan’s top 100 bridges. Uji Bridge is a popular spot for tourists to take commemorative photographs.

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2Mikimoto Pearl Island

The World’s First Successful Pearl Cultivation

The Shima area of Mie Prefecture has been famous since ancient times as a source of natural pearls. However, in the latter half of the 19th century, the pearl oysters that produce natural pearls came to the brink of extinction due to over-catching. Mikimoto Kokichi, a merchant from the city of Toba, Mie, recognized this danger and started a business cultivating pearl oysters and then experimented with culturing pearls. In 1893, after three years of trial and error, he succeeded for the first time in the world. Kokichi continued to do research, and techniques were established as other pearl cultivators came on the scene at the same time, so that in 1928, when the patents were broken up, the entire Shima area was able to flourish with the pearl cultivation industry. Kokichi opened a shop dedicated to pearls in Ginza, Tokyo with the intention of “decorating the women of the world with pearls”, and in addition to sharing the appeal of pearls with others within Japan and abroad, he worked to raise the value of cultivated pearls through fastidious elimination of inferior products.

● Spouses’ Program, Day One: Afternoon Visit

Mrs. Abe and the other spouses visited Mikimoto Pearl Island, where they observed a performance by female ama divers, visited the Pearl Museum, and participated in a pearl extraction activity. Afterward, they learned more about Japanese culture by conversing with the ama and enjoying Kuki Suigun drums and traditional Ise music performed by locals.

The spouses enjoyed Kuki Suigun drums and traditional Ise music performed by locals.

The spouses enjoyed Kuki Suigun drums and traditional Ise music performed by locals.

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3Shima Kanko Hotel The Classic

An Elegant Resort Hotel on a Hill on Kashiko Island, Overlooking Ago Bay

Renowned for its legendary hospitality and French seafood cuisine. The French cuisine in particular is so famous, people come from far and wide to try it.

● Spouses’ Program, Day One: Afternoon Visit

A commemorative tree-planting hosted by a council of prefectural residents took place in the garden of the Shima Kanko Hotel. Governor Suzuki, as representative of the hosts, gave an introductory welcome, followed by an greeting by a representative of the local Shinmei Elementary School. Next, the participating spouses together with Shima mayor Oguchi and governor Suzuki planted a tree with the assistance of children from Shinmei Elementary School.
○Number of prefectural residents who participated: Nine children from Shinmei Elementary School in Shima
○Tree that was planted: Yamazakura cherry

Commemorative planting

The participating spouses together with Shima mayor Oguchi and governor Suzuki planted a tree with the assistance of children from Shinmei Elementary School.

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ルートマップ

1.Ise-jingu Shrine: Inner Shrine (Kotai-jinja)
⇩ Car: approx. 27 min / approx. 14.2 km
2.Mikimoto Pearl Island
⇩ Car: approx. 36 min / approx. 23.9 km
3.Shima Kanko Hotel The Classic

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