Mikimoto Island is the result of the grandiose endeavor of Japanese entrepreneur Kokichi Mikimoto... read more
It appears that you could take the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) Tokkaido Line from Kyoto to the Osaka Main Staition, then the Osaka Loop Line to the Kinsetsu-Osaka Line, which then connects to the Kinsetsu-Yamada Line, and... More
It appears that you could take the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) Tokkaido Line from Kyoto to the Osaka Main Staition, then the Osaka Loop Line to the Kinsetsu-Osaka Line, which then connects to the Kinsetsu-Yamada Line, and finally, to the Kinsetsu-Toba Line, which takes you into Toba City. From there, it's a short, pleasant walk by the sea, most over a scenic boardwalk to the bridge entrance to Mikimoto Island. Here, you will buy your entrance ticket and pick up an English language brochure that will be very informative to the sites on the island. Once there, you walk through a small park with zen garden features to the main museum complex. The lower level illustrates the history of cultured pearls, which originated here in world history. Various stations demonstrate the process in which a bead is inserted into the shell to begin the culturing process. At scheduled times, "ama", the female pearl divers, will give demonstrations outdoors by an aquatic amphitheater, to show how they bring up oysters from the seabed. Further on the first level are priceless artifacts, studded with pearls, such as tiaras and necklaces. This also covers the design and fabrication of exclusive jewelry, some worn by Japan royals. Up the escalator to the second level are landmark pieces that showcase the finest examples of pearl-laden art; the larger pieces are almost breath-taking. There is a restaurant on this level, though I did not eat here. There is also an extensive pearl reference library on this level, plus brochures showing other tour sites. Back on the ground level, there are tasteful shops where an extensive collection of pearl jewelry is sold, some ranging in the thousands of dollars. There are many colors of pearls which will be chronicled as you amble through the exhibits, and many other sources besides oysters, and their varieties, that produce them. I would recommend half to an entire day to see the Island and Toba City, where small shops serve excellent catches of oysters and other seafood. Highly recommended.