Iga-Ueno – 伊賀上野
Did you know? There is a place called “the Ninja Town” in Mie prefecture. This time we are introducing Iga-Ueno.
What’s special about Iga-Ueno?
Mie Prefecture’s Iga City was formerly called Ueno City: to distinguish it from Tōkyō’s Ueno district, Ueno City’s name was changed into Iga. Nowadays this city is known with the alias of Iga-Ueno.
Iga-Ueno is one of the two areas in Japan where Ninja culture developed; the other one is the famous Kōga, in Shiga prefecture.
Besides museums and Ninjustu shows, Iga-Ueno’s Ninja relevance can be seen in a beautiful castle.
Moreover, Iga-Ueno is the hometown of the famous Haiku poet Matsuo Bashō.
Ninjas were mainly active during the Sengoku period. Today they take place in many mangas and novels, but they still have an important role in Japanese culture.
But what kind of people were Ninjas exactly? During the Sengoku period they were able to use much clever technology, they were engaged in order to get information from the enemy. Today they would play the role of spies.
How to get to Iga-Ueno
Click here to see the best ways to access the site!
We reached Iga-Ueno from Nara. Kamo and Iga-Ueno stations don’t have station staff, so the atmosphere was a bit lonely. When we got to Ueno-shi Station a Ninja mascot welcomed us near the platform.
At Iga-Ueno we first visited the Ueno Castle: this castle is located on the top of a hill, and it was rebuilt in 1930. The original building dates back to the Edo period, but was destroyed by a storm. Generally, most of Japanese castles have been rebuilt by using concrete, but Ueno’s one has been rebuilt with wood. We could feel the traditional style of an old Japanese castle, while the view from the main tower was impressive.
The Ninja Museum is close to Ueno Castle. The admission fee was about 700 yen, we could see the Ninjustu show by paying 300 yen more. We enjoyed the shuriken throwing and the sword bamboo cutting: truly spectacular!
After the show we visited a Ninja house: hidden stairs and revolving doors, there are many tricks around its rooms.
People interested in Japanese history shouldn’t miss Iga-Ueno. Especially, if you’re interested in Ninja’s secrets, visit this place! Also, Iga-Ueno is close to Murō-ji and Hase-dera: if you visit them in combination with Iga-Ueno you will have a good time for sure!