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In The Land Of Ninjas: Ueno Castle In Mie - Access And Highlights

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Ueno castle, otherwise known as Iga Ueno Castle, was built nearly 400 years ago by the warlord Todo Takatora. Find out more about this castle and how to get there through this article.

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What is Ueno Castle?

【三重県】築城の名手が建てた中部の名城、上野城〜アクセス・見どころなど〜

Ueno Castle (otherwise known as Iga Ueno Castle) is a Japanese castle in Iga city, Mie. Please note that Ueno in Iga city is not the same as the Ueno in Tokyo. Iga city is actually a town known for ninjas in the Chubu region (while Tokyo is in the Kanto region).

Ueno Castle was built 400 years ago in 1608 by the warlord Todo Takatora who ruled the area. Todo Takatora was known to construct many castles and, aside from the Ueno Castle, he constructed magnificent structures such as Uwajima Castle and Imabari Castle in Ehime and the Sasayama Castle in Hyogo.

The highlight of the Ueno Castle is the third-floor tenshu (*1) with its beautiful white walls. The roof of the tenshu is said to look like a hoou (*2) resting its wings and the castle is referred to as the 'white hoou castle'. The original Ueno Castle constructed by Takatora was once destroyed by a storm in 1612 and the stone walls and moat are the only things that remained from the original structure today. The building standing now was reconstructed in 1935.

In this article, we have collected information about the famed castle in the Chubu region, facts and access methods to the Ueno Castle.

*1 Tenshu: The tallest part of the castle. It is also the symbol of the castle.
*2 Hoou: A mythical bird that looks like a peacock.

Basic Information About Ueno Castle

Ueno Castle is closed annually from December 29th to 31st. Otherwise, it is open all year round from 9:00-17:00. Last entry is at 16:45.

Entry fee is 500 yen for adults, 200 yen for elementary and middle school students (tax included).

Getting to Ueno Castle

In order to get to Iga Ueno Castle, you would first have to get on the bullet train to Nagoya Station from either Tokyo or Osaka. From Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station, it takes around an hour and 40 minutes and costs 10360 yen. From Shin-Osaka Station to Nagoya Station, it takes around an hour to an hour and 20 minutes and costs 5830 yen.

At Nagoya Station, you will transfer to the JR Kansai Main Line Limited Express bound for Kameyama. Get off at Kameyama Station and transfer to the JR Kansai Main Line bound for Kamo and get off at Iga Ueno Station. At Iga Ueno Station, transfer to the Iga railway Iga line bound for Ueno city where you will get off at Ueno-shi Station. It takes around two hours and a half from Nagoya Station and costs 1920 yen.

Ueno Castle is approximately a ten-minute walk from Ueno-shi Station.

For more information regarding getting to Nagoya from Tokyo, please refer to Ways To Travel From Tokyo To Nagoya! A Thorough Comparison.

Highlights of Iga Ueno Castle

Stone Walls

【三重県】築城の名手が建てた中部の名城、上野城〜アクセス・見どころなど〜
【三重県】築城の名手が建てた中部の名城、上野城〜アクセス・見どころなど〜

These imposing stone walls that stand 30 meters high are said to have been constructed over 400 years ago. This is one of the tallest stone walls in Japan, nearly matching the stone walls of Osaka Castle which come in at 32 meters high. The historical atmosphere of this spot made it a perfect location for the movie ”Kagemusha” by the director Akira Kurosawa.

Tenshu - The Castle Tower

【三重県】築城の名手が建てた中部の名城、上野城〜アクセス・見どころなど〜

The Tenshu has distinct white walls that glisten and a unique curved roof. It is a pleasure to look at from its outside, but the inside has a record of the history of the castle along with documents related to Takatora Todo. It is a great place to visit in order to have a better understanding of the castle.

Out of the many artifacts, the war helmet that is said to have been given to Todo Takatora by the leader of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (*3) has great historical value. Checking out the Toukannari Kabuto helmet at the tenshu is highly recommended.

*3 Toyotomi Hideyoshi: one of the top three warlords of Japan during the Sengoku period along with Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was born in a poor family of farmers but was taken in by Nobunaga for his intelligence. After Nobunaga's death, he unified Japan.

Seasonal Events at Iga Ueno Castle (in 2017)

At the Iga Ueno Castle, there are plenty of events held throughout the seasons.

September: Ueno Castle Takigi Noh

After sundown in September, there is a special Noh performance held under the lights of wood fires. This free show will be held on September 30th, 2017 (Saturday) from 18:00 at the honmaru hiroba plaza.

October: Taiko Drum Festival

During October, there will be a performance held within the castle grounds using traditional Japanese taiko drums. The beats of these Japanese drums is very dramatic and even more so while being performed in front of a castle. A free show will be held on October 7th (Saturday) from 10:00 at the honmaru hiroba. In the case of rain, it will be postponed to October 8th.

Tourist Spots Around Ueno Castle

The surrounding area of Ueno Castle is the Ueno park. Within the park, there is the Ninja Museum Of Igaryu that has ninja exhibits and performances. Along with the Ninja Museum, there is the Basho Matsuo Memorial which has many displays of the famous Haiku poet Basho Matsuo who was born in this area during the Edo period.

Basho Matsuo Memorial

In the memorial, you will find rare manuscripts of haiku written by Basho Matsuo himself. There are also documents related to haiku as well. Why not indulge yourself in the world of haiku by finding the beauty of nature through short words composed of 5-7-5 characters.

Address: Mie, Iga, Ueno Marunouchi 117-13 (inside Ueno Park)
Admission: 300 yen for adults, 100 yen for high school, middle school and elementary school students (with tax).
Website: Basho Matsuo Memorial

Ninja Museum of Igaryu

【三重県】築城の名手が建てた中部の名城、上野城〜アクセス・見どころなど〜

At the Ninja Museum of Igaryu, you can explore a ninja house full of tricks and traps made for ninjas and spies for protection. Ninja stars, swords, and other ninja goods are also available for purchase there. A ninja show (Japanese) is held twice a day is also fun to watch during your visit.

Address: Mie, Iga, Ueno Marunouchi 117
Admission fee: 756 yen (with tax) for adults (high school and above), 432 yen (with tax) for children (4 years old to middle school). An additional 400 yen (with tax) per person is needed for the ninja show.
Website: Ninja Museum of Igaryu

** Travel times and expenses are based on publicly available information and are current as of May 2017. They may be subject to change.

Written by

Previous experience as an editor at a women's media company in Japan. I lived in Australia for a while and joined MATCHA after returning to Japan. In charge of editing, promoting sponsored content, and creative direction. I love watching Western TV series.
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