Within Ise is an area called Kawasaki. It’s next to the river and was important for trade in the area. In the 1970’s a decision was taken to restore and maintain some of the old buildings. You can see what the buildings might have looked like in the photo below of a building that has been converted into a rest space.
The ideas behind this restoration are similar to Kurashiki (where I visited last winter); however, in Kurashiki a larger area has been restored. In Kawasaki it’s only some of the buidlings. Also Kawasaki is quite a cramped area which gives it a different atmosphere. There are a few shops and cafes you can visit. I had some Udon noodles while I was there. I also visited the museum. The exhibition was in Japanese so I couldn’t follow everything but I could get the general idea of the history of the place. You could also look around the inside of one of the houses. This wasn’t so exciting. Once you’ve been in Japan for a while the novelty of tatami mat rooms starts to wear off. Here’s a photo.
I also bought a Tenugui towel with a nice wood block print of what the area would have looked like.