The Toba Sea-Folk Museum (鳥羽市立海の博物館 Toba shiritsu umi no hakubutsukan) is located in Uramura, just outside of Toba, Mie Prefecture. It houses a collection of over 60,000 exhibits about the history, culture, and traditions of the people living along the coast of Ise-Shima and their relationship to the sea and its creatures. The museum is dedicated to understanding the traditions of Toba's fisherfolk and ama divers and has collected and preserved the antique fishing equipment of Mie's fishing villages; 6,879 exhibits are tangible cultural assets of national significance.

Toba Sea-Folk Museum (鳥羽市立海の博物館

The museum was founded in 1971 as a non-public repository for cultural assets. In 1985, it was awarded 'Important Tangible Folk Cultural Properties' by Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs. It took over six years to plan and build the museum, and it finally opened to the public in 1993. Hiroshi Naito Architect & Associates designed the museum's buildings and won several architectural awards between 1992 and 2005. Exhibition Halls A and B and the repository of wooden boats are huge wooden barns whose interior resembles giant boat hulls.

Toba Sea-Folk Museum (鳥羽市立海の博物館

The museum shows an introductory video about the Ise-Shima coast and the culture of the ama divers (available also in English). Visitors can also bring their dogs (as long as you carry them inside the museum buildings).

Exhibition Hall A: Sea Folk Traditions

Kuki Yoshitaka (九鬼嘉隆, 1552-1600), lord of Toba Castle

Local customs and mythology

Sea serpents and other mythology

Different types of boats, including the Hakugeigo, a submersible

A traditional Shima fishing boat

Exhibition Hall B: the ama divers and fishers of Shima

The museum section dedicated to the ama pearl divers.

Ama pearl divers

Ama pearl divers

A diorama of a traditional Shima trawl

Talismans and lucky charms used by ama pearl divers

More photos in our Toba Sea-Folk Museum album.


Address: 1731-68 Daikichi, Uramuracho, Toba, Mie 517-0025; phone: 0599-32-6006

Admission and opening hours: 800 JPY (adults), 400 JPY (children under 17); group discounts available.

09:00-17:00 (21 March - 30 November)
09:00-16:30 (1 December - 20 March)
Last admission 30 minutes before closing time.

Closed 26-30 June and 26-30 December.

Access: by car 40 minutes from Ise Expressway Ise Interchange.
By train and bus from JR and Kintetsu Line Toba Station, by Kamome Bus, 35 minutes via Pearl Road. Get off at the "Umi no Hakubutsukan" stop, a one-minute walk from the bus stop.