SYNOPSIS:  About the origin of the cultivated pearl industry on Mikimoto Pearl Island in the town of Toba.


First Japan turns out to once be the largest silver producer in the world, now it turns out that cultivated pearls originated from right here.  All the things I did not know…

Outside of Ise, just 30 minutes away by local train is the little town of Toba.  From the station it takes a mere five minutes along the inland bay before you reach a covered bridge announcing the entrance to Mikimoto Pearl Island.  $15 entrance fee is not cheap, but this island museum was well done and even though highly commercialized — a huge sales shop is strategically placed and an overpriced restaurant is hoping to entice you — the museum displays were fascinating, tangible and bilingual and the landscaping and layout of the island a masterpiece of Japanese garden aesthetics.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY