For a bit of background, a ninja was a mercenary, spy, and master of unconventional warfare in feudal Japan. The functions of a ninja included espionage, deception, and surprise attacks. It school or training of Ninja in the Iga area became known as Iga-ryū. Throughout my time in Iga-Ueno I learned about the amazing training and skills it took to become a Ninja and had a chance to try the clothing and weaponry of ninja for myself. It was fascinating in every way.
Everywhere you turn you will find the signs, symbols, and evidence of the history and impact the Ninja made in this area. I loved the chance to walk in the footsteps of the most mysterious practitioners of this fascinating martial art and way of life! You can find them wherever you go. Looking up, down and all around! It became a fun game to try to spot as many Ninja as I could while touring the town and trying different activities and visiting different museums and local spots.
Ninja Spotting is a fun activity as you explore around Iga Ueno. I even found these Ninja guardians of the local facilities!
The very best place to start your Ninja adventure is at the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum. This is really 4 facilities all in one. Located in the same park as Iga Ueno castle, this location contains a great museum with a lot of very interesting items all with English explanations that will help ground your explorations in historically accurate knowledge.
Now that I knew a bit more about the history and intense skills learned by the Iga Ninja I went to the Danjiri museum that is famous for displays about the important annual, local Tenjin festival
The Ueno Tenjin Festival, with a history of more than 400 years, has been registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage site as "Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals in Japan"