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Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club, Mie prefecture, Japan

As a mid-handicap golfer, I’ve never played in any serious golf competitions. The monthly medal at my home course or a "few bob" on a skins game with friends is as close to real tournament pressure as I will ever find. But as a fan of the game, I do love playing championship courses. Remembering the epic battles of professional tournaments fought by the greats of the game, the shots that won them the tournament, how they played the course and their composure never fails to inspire us to try and bring some of that into our own games.

On a recent trip to Mie prefecture in the southwest of Japan, I was lucky enough to enjoy a round at the fantastic Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club. A masterful design by Mr Osamu Umeda, this 18-hole, par-72 course was made famous by being home to the ladies Mizuno Open (now Toto open) from 2006 to 2015. It is perhaps one of the finest courses in southwest Japan.


On pulling up to the clubhouse you definitely get the feeling that this is a relaxed resort course. The staff are friendly and attentive, and the simple design of the 1969 clubhouse is warm and welcoming.

Strolling around the halls, you'll find lots of memorabilia and the Mizuno Open features proudly, with pictures of all the past champions on the walls including Karrie Webb, Stacey Lewis, and Japan’s own Momoko Ueda. The clubhouse itself is quite modest, with a shop, lobby and locker rooms on the ground floor, and restaurant and competition rooms on the second.


Inside the clubhouse at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club, Mie prefecture, Japan

It’s January and despite a cold start to the day, the weather in Ise-Shima can heat up, and it wasn’t long before we were teeing up in 15-degree sunshine.

While waiting on the group in front I was admiring the new touchscreen in the cart and noticed a button that said play against three lady professional golfers. I clicked on it and it had the information from a previous Mizuno Open including all of the shots from Michelle Wie, Momoko Ueda, and Stacey Lewis.

On top of that, when you are on the fairways they have little plaques at the spot where each of the pros' drives rested, the idea being that you can try and play against them or at least have a guide on how they navigated the course. I must admit, as a self-professed golf geek I loved this. I was fascinated with checking how they got around compared to myself, but somewhat jealous that despite teeing off from the white (regular) tees I still could not reach most of Michelle Wie’s drives! 


Front nine on the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club golf course in Mie prefecture, Japan

The opening hole at Kintetsu Kashikojima establishes this course's motif; flat, with generously wide fairways usually sloping up to fast but fair greens. The 1st is a modest par 5,500 yards from the regular tees. You will learn quickly that good drives and keeping the ball in the fairways will be key, as with greens this fast it's difficult to hold them without spin. Kashikojima really is a second-shot golf course. However, I was pleased to see the winter rough was not too long, so more times than not we found a good lie in the korai grass.

After a bogey and this lesson learned, we moved on to a series of par 4s. No.'s 2, 3 and 4 are kind of similar in that if you can hit a drive 220 yards or more, then fairway bunkers on the left and right are out of play and you should have a good number left to the green. Another lesson learned is that it's best to go for the heart of these large greens, as they have false fronts, so slightly short approach shots won't get a forward bounce and you will be pitching from below the green with a tricky up and down. 

The par-3 fifth is inviting from the tee, just one large bunker in the front to worry about, but this green is like a marble staircase, sloping to the right. Luckily, I landed softly in the middle, and the slope took the ball 30 feet to the pin so my tactics were beginning to show dividends. That was until the 6th hole, a long and slightly uphill par 4, where playing into the wind really tests you from tee to green. Two bunkers unusually situated next to each other to the front right of the green meant that if you find the first you're pitching over the second onto an elevated green, sloping to the back portion. Interestingly, these bunkers are known locally as "Alison" bunkers, a nod to the Englishman C.H. Alison who designed the masterpiece Hirono Golf Club in Kobe to the north and who favored varied, high-lipped bunkers. 

A triple-bogey ensued and I contemplated how I would play it differently next time. But Mr. Umeda obviously was a kind man, and the 7th is a wonderful sweeping, slightly doglegged short par 5 — the perfect tonic to make me forget about the previous hole's woes. I was just off the right edge for two and managed an up-and-down for a no-drama birdie. And just like that, golf was a friend again!

The 8th is a 168 yard par-3 that certainly is an attention-grabber; with its raised green sloping to the front, and surrounded by 3 bunkers, even a few degrees off here can spell disaster. The 9th, a long par 4 with a slight dogleg right and uphill to a tabletop green surrounded by more "Alison" bunkers is a challenging finishing hole and feels like a par-5. A bogey here feels like a fair score and good timing to try the clubhouse lunch options.


Lunch at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club, Mie prefecture, Japan

The clubhouse restaurant overlooking the practice area is pretty cozy. The staff were patient with my pigeon Japanese, and I was glad to see proper social-distancing and Covid precautions were in place.

The menu has a lot of options and breakfast is also available here in the mornings. Lunch is the main event at any course in Japan and local specialties such as sushi and Ise-style udon noodles, seafood tempura, and bonito chazuke (bonito fish and steamed rice soaked in green tea), are sourced fresh from the surrounding Ago bay and come highly recommended. 

If you prefer more hearty options, beef curry, teppanyaki steak and miso katsu nabe (deep-fried pork in a hot pot, pictured right), or even a five-course tasting menu, are also on offer.


The back nine at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club golf course, Mie prefecture, Japan

The in-course starts with a short par 4, hemmed by Yokoyama mountain. This is a timeless starting hole, downhill for the first shot and uphill for the approach, with some interesting contours on the green. Again, a shot to the heart of the green is the recommended strategy. On the next hole, I was happy to finally catch a glimpse of the stunning turquoise waters of Ago Bay, visible at the back of the 11th green (pictured above). The wind was quite a factor here; when it's swirling around the green, it's easy to lose one left here. 

The next run of holes - a short par 4 then 5 and 4 again - provides a good scoring stretch, particularly if the pin locations are in friendly locals, which they were on my visit. But the closing stretch starting with the 16th turn up the difficulty factor for a dramatic finish. On the 16th, the longest hole on the course is a par-5 with multiple fairway bunkers left and a hidden one on the right. The fairway slopes from left to right and it's easy to find the left rough or large bunker hidden beneath some overhanging branches as we discovered.

From there, the hole goes uphill quite severely and club selection is crucial to have a chance to hit this elevated green. Once there, this green is lightning fast with multiple subtle tiers guarded by bunkers front right and back left.


Featured hole at the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club golf course in Mie prefecture, Japan

The 17th is a 202-yard par-3 and is definitely the most picturesque and unique on the course. The fairway has a small creek running through into a lake to the left of the green, a long white bunker along its back edge, and a Japanese cypress tree to the rear. The green is the real drama on this hole however, sloping severely back to front. Even a relatively short put can escape off the green and concentration is required to avoid a 3-putt. 

The 18th is a strong uphill par 4, guarded again by some of these Alison bunkers but finding a kinder, flatter green which hopefully helps you close out the round on a good score and make it an enjoyable one — which it certainly was for us.


Driving range and practice facilities at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club golf course in Mie prefecture, Japan

To the rear of the clubhouse, there are two large practice greens and a nice 240-yard driving range which features 5 different greens with real pins to aim at. To the right of the driving range is also a nice set-up for short game practice including two large bunkers. A must-visit prior to playing on this course is to the practice greens just next to the clubhouse and close to the starting tee. The green speeds can vary severely here depending on the time of day, so it's best to familiarize yourself with the speed.


Miyako Resort Shima Bayside Terrace in Mie prefecture, Japan

Located just two minutes away from the course is the wonderful and newly refurbished Miyako Resort Shima Bayside Terrace, which offers a fantastic base from which to explore the endless activities and golf in the area. Restaurants at the hotel are also exceptional, with both Japanese and French options that will not disappoint.

Official Website:


March 2021

Weekday fee including lunch and tax: ¥8,200
Weekend fee including lunch and tax ¥15,000
*Does not include caddy


Weekday: ¥19,232
Weekend: ¥24,512
*Based on two people sharing



This course and resort are certainly out-of-the-way but recommended if you plan to go sightseeing to Ise Jingu and are looking for a close-to-nature experience. You will need a car though if you plan to travel around the local area sightseeing.

Directions by train:

From Tokyo by Shinkansen Nozomi (1 hour and 40 minutes) → Nagoya Station. Change to Kintetsu Limited Express (about 2 hours and 10 minutes) → Kashikojima. Then take a shuttle bus (about 7 minutes).

From Osaka by Kintetsu Express (about 2 hours and 20 minutes) → Kashikojima. Then take a shuttle bus (about 7 minutes).


Kintetsu Kashikojima Golf Club

Address: 3620-5, Ugata, Ago-cho, Shima-gun, Mie prefecture 517-0501
Phone: 0599-43-1082

Related Links

For more information on Mie Golf courses and for assistance with booking please visit:
For more information on all courses in Mie, check out Golf in Japan: 


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