Mie prefecture (三重県 Mie-ken) is an area of Japan located in the Kansai region of Honshu island. Its population was 1,873,000 in 2006. Mie is also sometimes placed in the Tokai (東海地方 Tookai-chihoo) sub-region of the Chubu area that includes the nearby city of Nagoya (名古屋).
Although the capital is Tsu (津市 Tsu-shi), Mie's best-known city is Ise (伊勢市 Ise-shi), with its Shinto (神道 Shintoo) shrines; these are collectively referred to as the 'Ise Shrine' (伊勢神宮 Ise-jinguu) and are considered the centre of Japan's native religion. The 'Inner Shrine' (内宮 Naikuu) is actually located on the outskirts of the city, while the 'Outer Shrine' (外宮 Gekuu) is more central, near the railway station. The Inner Shrine is reputed to be home to the Yata no Kagami (八咫鏡), the 'Sacred Mirror' associated with the Japanese Imperial Family; however, it is not possible to see this. Every twenty years, the shrine is pulled down so that the site can be ritually repurified; following this, a new shrine is built. This will occur for the sixty-second time in 2013.
Mie is home to several institutions of higher education, notably Mie University (三重大学 Mie Daigaku) in Tsu.
- 'Frog' (蛙 kaeru) and the verb 'come back' (帰る kaeru) sound very similar in Japanese; therefore, frogs are associated with a safe journey.
- Japan Statistical Yearbook: 'Population by Prefecture 1920-2006'. Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. .xls document.
- This article assumes that Mie is in Kansai. Official Mie prefectural information, however, suggests that Mie is in both Kansai and Chubu (more precisely, the Tokai sub-region of Chubu). See Mie Prefecture: 'Mie's Location'.
- Isejingu: 'The tale of the sacred mirror Yata-no-Kagami'.
- Japan Guide: 'Ise Shrines'.