Igaryu Ninja Museum: Authentic Ninja Experience in Japan
Iga is a quiet town which embraces the ninja culture and history. Here you can learn about the true role of the most mysterious aspect of the land of the rising sun. The first part of the Ninja Museum experience is to take a tour through a traditional-style Japanese house, led by a ninja or kunoichi. They also demonstrated with surprising skill how a ninja could seemingly vanish into secret spaces of their home, deploy concealed weapons, spy on intruders or escape entirely.
If you’re a foreigner in Japan, you might be afraid to admit it, but we know you’re dying to have some kind of authentic ninja experience. What else could have possibly drawn you to Japan? Sushi? Maid Cafes? Pshaw! Be honest with yourself and head to Iga, Mie Prefecture.
Written by Chad Martin
My otaku side brought me toNagoya, Japan in 2012, but I stayed for the food, countryside towns, andgorgeous mountain scenery. I was born and raised on the east coast of theUS, but I dare say I never grew up. I never shut up about Japan.
Now, as you’re certainly craving more ninjutsu, throw your arms back and do your best Naruto run toward the Igaryu Ninja Museum. At the ticket counter you may very well encounter a real ninja!
If you’re more into the 2D type, you’re also sure to run into a large cut-out of Mai Igarashi, the adorable yet deadly anime girl mascot of Iga City. Keep in mind that traditionally, “ninja” only referred to men. These female spies and infiltrators were known as “kunoichi”. Side note for Japanese language nerds: く(ku),ノ(no), and 一(ichi) are used to write the character 女(woman)!
The first part of the Ninja Museum experience is to take a tour through a traditional-style Japanese house, led by a ninja or kunoichi. While we waited for the next tour to begin, our guide took a moment to discuss exactly what we desired.
Ninja weapons! He brought out an old, genuine jitte (non-lethal, club-like, metal weapon with a small protrusion used for pinning an opponent’s blade and various other techniques). This weapon was typically used by police during the Edo Period (1603-1868). He also produced a ninjato (similar to a katana, but with a straight blade).
Through a secret passage, move from the ninja house to a museum displaying various real ninja artifacts and with monitors where you can watch actors employing various ninjutsu techniques in mock combat.
While nearly everything has English translations, some are a bit unclear. Or perhaps it’s just that they’re purposely mysterious. After all, they can’t give away all the secrets of ninjutsu, right?
Continue forward to another small museum full of ninja tools and explanations of ninja techniques, from hiding secret messages to telling the time of day by looking at the size of a cat’s pupil.
After exiting, don’t miss the ninja show! The performers put on an amazing performance with real weapons in staged combat. This is sure to be the climax of your ninja adventure in Iga. Acrobatics, incredible precision and coordination make this a performance that will wow absolutely anyone.
Now that the tour is over, be sure to head over to Iga Ueno Castle, also known as White Phoenix Castle, to complete your tour of Ueno Park.
Don’t forget to return your epic ninja gear to the Danjiri Museum once you’ve taken way too many pictures of yourselves hiding around the park and attacking your friends. These are sure to be the crown jewels of any Japan photo album.
Igaryu Ninja Museum
Address: Mie-ken, Iga-shi, Ueno Marunouchi, 117
Adults (high school students and older) \756
Children (4 years old to junior high) \432
Telephone Number: 0595-23-0311
Address: 518-0873 Iga-shi, Ueno Marunouchi, 122-4
Costume Fee: \1,080 / set
Telephone Number: 0595-24-4400 (Danjiri Museum)