There are many types of gemstones, diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds, however, it is said that the first gem that people encountered were pearls. While other jewels shine by being polished, pearls already have their beautiful luster straight from the oyster's shell.
Kokichi was the eldest son of the owners of Toba's udon noodle shop Awako. Gaining experience in different types of business over the years, he focused on pearls, which were a specialty of the Shima area. At first, he farmed pearls naturally but eventually succeeded in cultivating the pearls themselves. It was his goal to beautify women all over the world with the pearls he created.
While expanding his business with a store in Ginza, Kokichi still made great efforts to showcase his hometown in Ise-Shima. Whenever possible, Kokichi invited honored guests to his house in Shima and to Pearl Island to introduce the charm of his pearls along with the natural beauty of Ise-Shima. After the war, Ise-Shima National Park was established with Kokichi's help.
Kokichi Mikimoto will forever be remembered as the man who built the Japanese pearl industry and as a unique individual well-known for his many anecdotes.
In the past, ama were essential for early pearl farming practices.
Diving to the seafloor to collect Akoya oysters, and returning the shells after nuclei had been implanted. Without the efforts of ama divers, quickly moving shellfish to safe places during red tides and typhoons would have spelt disaster for early pearl cultivation.
Now, with the development of aquaculture technology, the need for divers has disappeared. In order to commemorate the activities of the divers who supported early pearl farming, demonstrations are held on Pearl Island daily. Mikimoto Pearl Island is one of the only places to see ama diving in their traditional white outfits.
※Check here for demonstration times.