Beautiful panoramic kayak experience in Mie’s Ago Bay
The rias coast (リアス式海岸 Riasu Shikikaigan) of the Shima Peninsula (志摩半島 Shima-Hantō) Rias Coast has a unique shape, making it the defining characteristic of Mie Prefecture (三重県 Mie-ken). With over 60 islands which are all in different shapes and sizes, the entire city is designated as a national park (Ise-Shima National Park 伊勢志摩国立公園), and there are tons of lush greenery. To best enjoy the area, pick up a kayak and paddle through the beautiful Ago Bay (英虞湾 Ago-wan) where the blue sea and the green islands blend into the horizon, and catch a superb view of the setting sun.
This activity allowed me to forget about everything and just be in the moment. Kayaking out there is how I want to feel, and I try to maintain that feeling. It was refreshing to know I could feel exhilaration from something new, and this was possible in Mie.
(Image credit: Mie Prefecture)
We drove our rental car into the mountains and saw lots of amazing places and scenery. We drove past places that looked like beach houses and arrived at a vast parking lot where we saw lots of people and boats. We met two men who got in a truck and led us on a road that led to a long dirt road next to a beautiful resort. At the end of the dirt road, we ended up at a group of little houses that were full of more kayaks and equipment.
I could see lots of kayaks and people enjoying themselves. Just looking at them got me excited for what was to come. (Image credit: Mie Prefecture)
We were overlooking a vast view of the bay. We could see that not only was it a bay for kayaking but also for other kinds of boats, too. There were also places that were set up for farming and harvesting pearls or seaweed and people relying on the bay to make a living for themselves.
It was all so exciting and I could not wait to get into the water. Our water guides helped us to get changed into our clothes, life jackets and water shoes. They helped us get familiar with our equipment and we made our way to the beach ready to go.
We floated in the bay, with the islands of the Shima Peninsula behind us. The poles out of the water are there to be used for navigating the bay and we saw similar ones used for farming seaweed. (Image credit: Mie Prefecture)
Masakijima is a small island with a population of about 100 people, where humanity and nature live side by side. (Image credit: Mie Prefecture)
My guide and I paddled out into the bay. We made our way towards other islands that could be seen from the beach. As we got closer I could then see behind the island, and discovered more places that looked amazing and could be explored! One of them was the island of Masakijima (間崎島) which looked interesting, and I look forward to returning to explore it.
I became used to paddling the kayak and both of us worked together to move smoothly. (Image credit: Mie Prefecture)
There was so much life thriving everywhere between people and animals. I could see little crabs running around, fish swimming, and many birds. It was all so beautiful.
The coastline was vast and there was an intricate network of coves that could be seen, waiting to be explored. It was all so picturesque and inviting.
It was spectacular to see the bay from the water when I was kayaking. (Image credit: Mie Prefecture)
There were other people on the water, and they were friendly too. I waved at them and they waved back at me.
There were also other people in the ocean enjoying kayaking too. (Image credit: Mie Prefecture)
My guide was helping me get the technique of how to paddle the boat. (Image credit: Mie Prefecture)
It was a little cold at the time, but it looked perfect for swimming in the summer. The sea was so calm, and there were no big waves to fight against, so even beginners will have no problem. Not only can you kayak but you can enjoy SUP (stand up paddleboard) and diving.
I never really kayaked like that before, but the guides being there made everything easy and I knew that I could go there with my family and we would enjoy it. It was the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of Ise-Shima, which had a beauty I had never seen before.
We can see the different islands that we can visit and explore. The kayak makes it possible and the way we paddle is the perfect way to travel. (Image credit: Mie Prefecture)
(Image credit: Mie Prefecture)
When we arrived back at the beach we had a final talk with our guides about what we had experienced and made sure we took pictures so that we could show others and come back next time with a bigger group.
I had never seen anything like that before and it was only possible in Mie. Kayaking around Shima Peninsula’s complex Rias coast and the many scattered islands, you can really enjoy the lush greenery that emerges above, while we paddle on the sea below. This was truly an unforgettable experience.
(Video credit: Mie Prefecture)
Shima Nature School (志摩自然学校)
Address: 2199 Tomoyama Park, Daiocho Nakiri, Shima, Mie 517-0603
Nearest station: Ugata Station (鵜方駅)
Directions: From Ugata Station, take a 20-30 minute taxi ride to Shima Nature School.
Opening hours: 9am–5pm
Admission fee (90-minute kayaking tour): ¥4,500 (Adult), ¥3,500 (Child)
Tel: +81 599-72-1733
Nathan Raymond believes that travel is what allows us to better enjoy life without being tied to the past. Originally from New York, Nathan now lives in Gifu with his family and has been fascinated by Japan by discovering new places and having experiences.