Experience the History and Life of the Ninja
The Iga area is known as the “Ninja no Sato,” meaning “the Ninja village.” The urban area that has come to prosper as a castle town is home to both the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum and tranquil, graceful Iga Ueno Castle. This is an ideal place for travelers to learn more about the history and culture of the ninja.
Iga-ryu Ninja Museum
Ninja Fans: Don't Miss the World's Foremost Palace of Ninja Skills!
The ninja were a special group of soldiers that were assigned to gain more information about the enemy and assassinate key members using special ninja skills called ninjutsu. The ninja were said to have begun their activities in the year 1100, and the area around Iga is well known for the ninja. The ninja possessed highly impressive physical skills in leaping and jumping, and used various inventive measures in their places of residence to protect themselves from their foes. The Iga-ryu Ninja Museum is the place to see, touch and experience the allure of the ninja for yourself. In this museum is a collection of mechanisms and tricks used by the ninja in the ninja’s residence (ninja yashiki), as well as two halls that feature a wide assortment of artifacts where you can experience the ways of ninjutsu (the “Ninja Experience Hall”) and see how the ninja history has been passed on (the “Ninja Tradition Hall”). There is also a large plaza (the “Ninja Experience Plaza”) where visitors can see some really impressive ninja action shows.
Activities We Recommend
The shuriken is a weapon typically thrown by ninjas to wound or kill their opponents. There are many types of shuriken on display at the museum, and visitors can see demonstrations of shuriken throwing as well as try their hand at throwing the shuriken themselves.
Ninja Action Shows
See ninjas battle one another while hearing about their weaponry in a genuine ninja action show. This amazing show features actual ninja weapons and impressive acrobatics.
The Danjiri Kaikan, a five-minute walk from the museum, offers a “ninja transformation” service to let visitors rent and try on ninja clothing. You can have fun wearing the clothes while you are exploring the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum and Iga Ueno Castle. The Danjiri Kaikan also features some impressive exhibits that are definitely worth a look, including the Danjiri (a festival float) and the demon masks and costumes used at festivals.
There are many hidden mechanisms and tricks to be found in the ninja residence. The lady ninjas, called “kunoichi,” will be your guide. English explanations are available throughout the museum for ninja fans who come from overseas to enjoy this place.
Iga Ninjas Were Proficient in the Use of Fire as a Weapon.
The Iga ninjas were said to be most proficient in the art of using fire as a weapon to attack their enemies, by using weapons such as incendiary bombs, arrows of fire, and firearms. Long before the age of missiles, attacks by fire were used as an effective means to frighten and damage the enemy.
The Ordinary Ninja Was Just a Farmer?
In order to avoid blowing their cover, ninjas wore the clothes of farmers. It’s said that when the ninjas walked outside, they dressed as ordinary folk and farmers, and disguised themselves as pharmacists, monks and many other people from time to time.
The Ninja Train
A ninja-themed train offers rides to Uenoshi Station. Kids love the train cars that are painted with ninja illustrations.
Iga Ueno Castle
A Beautiful Castle with One of the Largest Stone Walls in Japan
Located next to the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum, Iga Ueno Castle is a prominent and beautiful castle that was built in 1585. The stone walls of this castle are amongst the highest in Japan, measuring 29.7 meters (97.4 feet) from the base to the upper edge. The castle was featured in the film Kagemusha by world-famous director Akira Kurosawa. Visitors can learn more about the history of Japan inside the three-story castle keep by viewing the displays of weaponry and armor as well as ceiling murals by leading Japanese artists.