THE RIVER MIYAGAWA AND THE CROSSING SAKURA-NO-WATASHI
Miya-gawa, the Shrine's river, is the biggest river in this district, across which the travelers from either eastern or western countries must come over in order to enter the God's capital of Ise.
Even far before the Edo era, at this point was the boat-crossing, called Sakura-no-Watashi, the Cherry-Crossing, which connects Obata, the opposite side, and Miya-gawa-cho, this side of the river.
All the pilgrims from Kanto and the eastern countries and also from the then capital Kyoto and the western countries, as well as the Imperial messengers to the Shrine used to come across this point.
Along the banks, where cherry trees have beautiful blossoms in spring, were tea-house. There the welcome boards of Onsi, the privileged hostelries, were lined up. And here and there were heard the travel songs sung to see off the groups of pilgrims who fortunately accomplished their pilgrimage to the Ise Grand Shrines.
The fares for man, carriage, house and baggage were rigidly fixed. And this Sakura-no-Watashi, having carried the whole history of Ise Pilgrimage, ceased its function with the coming of train in 1897.