The area is called Kiho-Cho, which translates to Historical Treasure town, and that’s what Kiho-Cho has to offer, a living treasure from the seas.
Situated along the long, straight pebble filled Shichiri Mihama beach is a museum and aquarium that plays a major role in the preservation of sea turtles as well as raising awareness on the importance of protecting the worlds largest hard shelled turtle, the endangered loggerhead turtle. The Kiho-cho Umigame Park (ウミガメ水族館) in Kiho-Cho, between Kumano and Shinmiya, southern Mie Prefecture is located at one of the few remaining, mostly untouched loggerhead turtle nesting beaches. The loss of such beaches world wide is one of the reasons numbers of the elegant animals have been decreasing. For that reason, preservation of the Shichiri Mihama nesting grounds is considered most important.
The interesting shape of the Umigame Park building resembles the shell of a sea turtle. Inside, visitors to the Parks’ breeding wing can see the turtles swimming in the tank both from above and through the side viewing glass. Various types of Fish and shellfish from the oceans near Ida Beach can also be seen in separate tanks. The touching Pool is popular with children as they can safely enjoy interacting with living sea creatures.
Visitors learn that loggerhead turtles have a lifespan of over 50 years, can grow to about two meters and weigh approximately 135 Kilograms and that the shell is typically a reddish-brown color, amongst many other fascinating facts.
Loggerheads spend most of their lives in the ocean, with females only coming ashore to lay eggs. The loggerhead turtles have low reproductive rates, averaging four egg clutches in one go, then produce no eggs for two to three years..
Because of their low birthrate and high mortality rates, the Shichiri Mihama shoreline is an important region for the loggerhead.
The second floor restaurant provides a fair menu, with one of the most popular items being the steak and rice set. Diner’s enjoyment is enhanced by the spectacular view of the ever changing ocean. Also on the second floor the gallery shows off the best the region has on offer, from panels explaining the smooth pebbled beach out front, to the world heritage listed Old Kumano Road, as well as photographs and art works by local artists. Above that, an outdoor terrace
The museum presents various exhibits of the sea turtle ecology. The adjoining Museum of Commerce is also a pleasant place to relax and shop. The museum, open 8:30 am to 7pm in the summer months, and until 6pm between November and February sells fresh marine and agricultural products, and there is an observation terrace with a sweeping view of the beautiful Shichirimihama beach.
The area is called Kiho-Cho, which translates to Historical treasure town, and that’s what Kiho cho has to offer, a living treasure from the seas, one that has to be carefully preserved for the future. After visiting the Kiho Cho Umigame Park, treat yourself to a walk along the beach. Another of the treasures of Kiho-cho