Must-Visit for Naruto Fans! History, Cosplay and More at the Ninja Museum of Igaryu
The word Japan will easily remind many people of Ninja. Here we are introducing to you a great tourist spot where you can enjoy learning about the history of ninja, watching authentic ninja shows and even become a ninja yourself! It also boasts the world’s largest collection of ninja related historic materials.
Schools of Ninja: Koga and Iga
You may already have a general idea of what ninja is, but how about the schools of ninja? The two most well-known schools of ninja are Iga and Koga. These groups of ninjas prospered respectively in present Mie Prefecture and Shiga Prefecture, which are neighboring each other across mountains.
In numerous books, movies, manga (such as “Ninja Hattori Kun” and “Basilisk”) and anime, Iga and Koga have very often been depicted as enemies to each other; Iga on the good side and Koga the evil. As the Iga school served Tokugawa Ieyasu while the Koga’s gave their patronage to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, each of whom was the vassal of Oda Nobunaga, the adversary between the ninja groups is said to have reflected the political conflict between the two warlords, but it is not clear whether they were actually opposed to each other. Related: Three Poems Demonstrating the Character of Japan’s Three Great Shogun
Ninja Museum of Igaryu
Today, Iga City, Mie Prefecture, where the Iga school ninjas once resided, has Ninja Museum of Igaryu, which boasts the world’s largest collection of ninja related historic materials. Especially popular here are the authentic ninja shows, which attract many tourists from within Japan and abroad. Information: Map
1. Iga-ryu Ninja House
Despite its ordinary-looking appearance of a Japanese house, the inside of Iga-ryu Ninja House features secret paths, hidden doors and many other tricks and traps. You can take a tour inside the house with the guidance by a Kunoichi, a female ninja explaining those trips and tracks, which are usually completely unnoticeable from the outside. You will surely be amazed in awe.
TRIVIA: The name “Kunoichi,” meaning female ninjas, derives from how the components of the kanji character signifying “woman 女” can be written.
Related: 6 Highlights Specific to Myoryuji aka Ninja Temple and A Word of Caution
2. History and Tools of Ninja
The museum exhibits more than 400 historic materials related to ninja including ninja tools which were actually in use. Here you can find “shuriken,” ninja’s throwing stars, to take just one example, and learn how they were varied in shape and purpose. You can also learn about mysterious everyday lives of ninjas and take a look at the documents written in ninja cryptogram.
3. Greatest Attraction: Authentic Ninja Show
The ninja show here is an absolute must-checkout. There is almost no point of visiting the museum if it’s not for the show! The show performance with real ninja tools such as shuriken (throwing stars) and sickle & chain is fun and exciting. You will also be amazed by the physical abilities of ninja performers. You may often see ninjas in movies or anime, but it is such a rare experience to get to see the skilled performance of ninjas right before your eyes.
4. Ninja Cosplay!
Access by Ninja Train
Ninja Train is the best choice of transportation when visiting the ninja museum. The interior of the train is also themed on ninja and will surely get you in the mood already on the way!
Tourist Spot in the Vicinity: Iga Ueno Castle
Iga Ueno Castle, also known by the nickname of “Hakuo (White Phoenix) Castle,” is located very close the museum and is definitely worth including in your itinerary. The stone wall of the castle, with the height of 30 meters, is one of Japan’s tallest stone walls, only comparable to that of Osaka Castle. The immensity of the structure is just astonishing to look at. Such height of the wall might probably have been due to the necessity for defense against ninjas, many of whom based their activities around the area. Information: Map
Ninja Museum of Igaryu offers many attractions which you cannot enjoy elsewhere but in Japan. If you became interested in ninjas from watching the anime “Naruto,” why not visit this mecca of ninja and learn more deeply about their mysterious existence?