Hey there, fellow wanderers! Let’s talk about some cool spots in Mie Prefecture, Japan. This place is not just about Ise Shrine or Toba Aquarium – it’s also home to Shima Spain Village and Shima Mediterranean Village. Now, Shima Spain Village? It’s a theme park with a Spanish flair. And the Mediterranean Village? Think more of a chill Mediterranean-themed resort vibe. The difference? While the Mediterranean Village is great for some Insta-worthy shots and foodies, Shima Spain Village steps it up with not just photo ops, but also an amusement park and hot springs. There’s a bus to Spain Village, but if you’re headed to the Mediterranean Village, you’re looking at a ride by boat or car. So, I went for the Spain Village for a car-free experience.
My journey from Nagoya to Spain Village was a ride in luxury on the ‘Shimakaze’ Kintetsu limited express train, gliding all the way to Uguisu Station. The train itself was a mini-vacation, with plush seats and built-in massage features. Arrival at Uguisu Station meant it was time for an Ise shrimp lunch, a local delicacy, before catching a bus to the heart of the action at Spain Village.
The stay at Shima Spain Village Hotel was sweetened with a 2-day passport, unlocking two days of uninterrupted fun. Post check-in, it was all about theme park adventures and handy free lockers.
The real charm of Shima Spain Village lies in its whimsical characters, inspired by ‘Don Quixote.’ These aren’t your average characters; we’re talking animals brought to life, starring in shows, movies, and even gracing merchandise. Walking around, the laughter of children singing along to character shows filled the air, a testament to the family-friendly vibe of the place.
But wait, there’s more – the attractions here have you beating the queues in no time, with most rides averaging a mere 15-minute wait. Yes, even compared to the giants like Disneyland or USJ, this place is a breeze. The most sought-after rides, ‘Ghost Hunter 3D – The 360° Battle’ and ‘Chokky’s Mysterious Mansion,’ might test your patience with an hour’s wait, but it’s a small price for the thrill. The rides cater to all – from adrenaline junkies to those seeking milder adventures. Personal favorites? The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ maze, a fantastical journey with monsters and card characters at every turn, and the ‘Nutcracker’ ride, a visual feast straight out of the classic tale.
Walking through the village is like stepping into a Spanish postcard. The ‘Statue of Felipe III’ and the ‘Gate of Granada’ transport you to another world, amidst vibrant houses and lively streets. Capturing these moments was an absolute joy.
The Spanish restaurant in the village hits all the right notes. Despite missing the first day due to early closing, the second day’s meal at ‘Alhambra’ was worth the wait. Their paella is a mix of sea bream, shellfish, and a blend of Spanish and Japanese tastes. Trust me, it’s a flavor party you don’t want to miss.