Written by Merilwen Horseback
Iga Ninja Village - Where Your Ninja Dreams Come True!
The ninjas of the Iga clan have been masters of ninjutsu, the ninja techniques, for hundreds of years. This time, we will visit the famous Iga clan in the Iga Ninja Village (Mie prefecture) and learn their secrets, as well as become ninjas ourselves.
The time when ninjas moved stealthily in the Land of the Rising Sun is long gone. It is said that the last true Ninja in Japan is Jinichi Kawakami, but he has decided that he will let the art of Ninja die with him.
Ninjutsu (ninja techniques) will soon cease to exist. Various difficult skills and rules make it unfit for modern society. The true art of ninjutsu is no longer practiced. However, these masters of espionage have an irresistible charm nowadays and many people wish to take a glimpse at their art.
The answer to your wish can be found right here in Japan. The Iga Ninja Village is where your Ninja dreams can come true.
Let’s get on the train and travel to the village of the notorious shadow assassins!
Before Becoming a Ninja, Master the Arts of Riding a... Train
Located near the JR Kansai Main Line which connects Nagoya and Osaka, the Iga Ninja Village is easy to access by train from anywhere within Japan.
Just get off at JR Iga-Ueno Station and change trains to Uenoshi Station on the Iga Line. The village is just a 5-minute walk to the North.
You can also take the express bus from Nagoya directly to the village.
Welcome to the World of Ninjas
If you decide to take the train, you will get off at Iga-Ueno Station. This is no doubt the entrance to the World of Ninjas! You can see ninjas everywhere. There are trains painted with manga-style ninjas and ninja mannequins hiding at every corner of the station.
In fact, you will have ninjas guiding you around the city as well. They will show you the way to the village, to the castle, and even to the toilet.
You will also see little ninjas playing in the street, cars with big ninja sculptures on top, and shops selling ninja plushies and toy weapons like shuriken (throwing stars) and katana (Japanese swords).
The Iga Ninja Village is the perfect place for a holiday with your kids! No doubt they will get excited experiencing the ingenious ninja tricks, various Ninja shows and the events around the village.
You Need Energy to Become a Ninja - Eat at Kyuan
Because Iga is far from any big city you might be hungry after your trip here. Right in front of the station, you will find an udon noodle restaurant called Kyuan (九菴 in Japanese). Here they serve Iga’s speciality: the Ninja Festa Udon.
If you look carefully, you will find many things in this set related to Iga’s ninja. The long noodles represent a ninja's long and tough training process. Toppings are squid and ginger. Squid is “ika” in Japanese, which sounds similar to “Iga”, the village’s name. Ginger is “jinja“ in Japanese which sounds like “ninja”.
This dish will not only fill your stomach but will also tell you about ninja traditions. If you can speak Japanese, even a just little, try to talk to the staff. They are very friendly and enjoy telling ninja stories. We warmly recommend you stop for lunch at Kyuan.
Our stomach is ready now, so let’s head to the village!
Discount Tickets for the Ninja Village
This is the discount ticket for all three attractions. Instead of 1,756 yen, you only pay 1,500 yen.
There are three main attractions in the village. The Ninja Museum of Iga-Ryu, Iga Ueno Castle, and Danjiri Hall.
There are many different discount tickets, depending on how you want to spend your time at the village.
1. For only Ninja Museum of Iga-Ryu, you can buy a discount ticket at a Loppi ticket machine in Lawson (convenience store) with the code 40519. You get a discount of 100 yen.
2. For the ninja experience of wearing a ninja costume and shuriken throwing, there are discount tickets available at Danjiri Hall. You get a 200 yen discount.
3. For all three attractions, excluding the shuriken throwing experience and a ninja show, you get discounts at all the attractions in the facility. The discount is of 256 yen.
Hop! Let's Transform Into Ninjas!
Ninjas were famous for their impressive skills. They could change their faces, their body forms, and disguise themselves as totally different people. They could even transform to look like non-living things such as rocks, trees, and walls.
Today we will do the opposite - we will turn ourselves into Ninjas!
That sounds difficult but it turns out to be very easy if you visit Danjiri Hall. The Hall provides a large stock of ninja costumes for both kids and adults, males and females, with various colors for you to choose from. Don’t worry, the staff will always be there to assist you. With their help, you will transform into a ninja in just 10 minutes!
The set includes clothes, footwear, a headband, and long sword for adults or short sword for kids. You can rent the costume for one day, from 10 AM to 5 PM, at the price of 1,000 yen/person.
It would be great to go out with your brand new appearance and identity to visit other attractions and take photos of yourself as a ninja in front of the castle or a ninja house.
Please note that you don’t need to pay the entrance fee (500 yen for adults), if you only want to rent a ninja costume.
Enjoy the Danjiri Hall Exhibition as a Ninja
Visitors who pay the entrance fee to see the exhibition inside Danjiri Hall are given another option. For only 200 yen per person, you can rent the same set but you can only wear it inside the hall, and at the entrance if you want some natural light for your photos.
Luckily, there are plenty of impressive backgrounds and settings inside the hall to take pictures of your awesome ninja attire.
The Demon Parade at the Danjiri Hall
Transforming into a ninja can be really fun but it is the exhibition is the most impressive part of the Hall. The museum features the Ueno Tenjin Festival, a traditional festival listed as an Important National Intangible Folk Cultural Property. This festival has a history of over 400 years.
In the middle of the Hall, a 300-inch 3-sided multiple-screen TV is set up, showing the actual activities during the festival. The Ueno Tenjin Festival is well known for its magnificent demon parade, featuring demons in their masks and traditional clothes. The parade is said to prevent illness and bad luck. You will also find many mannequins with various demon shapes lining the hall to demonstrate the atmosphere of the festival.
So, who wants to join our demon parade?
Have a great time in the Iga Ninja Village!