- For other places with the same name, see Toba (disambiguation).
Toba is a popular tourist destination at the southern entrance to Ise Bay. Toba's greatest claim to fame is as the birthplace of cultured pearls.
Toba also has a number of islands nearby which are accessible by ferry. The two larger islands are Toshijima and Sugashima. Kamishima is a smaller, more remote island.
Toba Station is the final station of the Kintetsu Toba and Shima Lines as well as the JR Sangu Line. Most travelers connect at Ise or Shima. 2 hours by limited express kintetsu train from Osaka, 1 hour 35 minutes by limited express Kintetsu train or 1 hour 50 minutes by JR Central's Rapid Service Mie from Nagoya.
The CAN Bus is a service providing unlimited travel around the Ise, Futami, and Toba areas. A 1 day pass is 1000 Yen for adults, 500 Yen for children. A 2 day pass is 1600 Yen and 800 Yen. More information here.
Mikimoto Pearl Island. Open 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. A museum celebrating the local inventor of the cultured pearl, and demonstrations by Ama (woman pearl divers). English guidance available. Five minutes walk from Toba Station. ¥1500.
Toba Aquarium. Arguably the best aquarium in Japan. Visitors can see African manatees, dolphins, a walrus, and a wide variety of shellfish, among other things. Although the manatees are quite popular, as they are the largest animals in the aquarium, the real gem is the dugong, listed as the "mermaid" in the pamphlet. Toba aquarium is one of only 4 aquariums in the world to display dugong, the others being in Sydney, Singapore, and Jakarta. English guides are available upon request at the information center inside the aquarium. ¥2400 adults, ¥1200 children.
Note that the infamous Erotic Sci-fi Museum closed back in 2000.
Short and easy hikes are possible within Sugashima island, from where you can enjoy nice views on Toba bay.
Hotels nearby Toba station often include hot spring baths. People can enjoy them without staying at these hotels. (It costs around 1000JPY)