Iga Ninja Museum 伊賀流忍者博物館
He went down here...
The entrance to Iga Ninja Museum
The impressive moat of Iga-Ueno Castle.
How to ninjutsu
Those interested in famous ninja will certainly know the Iga ninja, the most famous ninja in Japan. Iga still takes great pride in them.
Our tour of ninja villages in Japan leads us to the most famous of them, Iga, after visiting Togakure and Koga.
Iga is located in Mie Prefecture, near the famous Shinto shrines of Ise. During the era of civil wars, Iga was independent and had its own warriors.
These warriors, trained in concealment and trickery, were mercenaries feared throughout Japan to the point that Oda Nobunaga tried to exterminate them. The most famous Iga ninja, Hanzo Hattori, was the protector of the Tokugawa shoguns.
The Hattori Clan and Iga ninja no longer exist, disappearing along with the shogun, but the small town of Iga preserves their memory with pride. These memories, including a large collection of historic objects, are preserved in the Iga Ninja Museum.
The museum is probably the best of its kind in Japan, and the most appropriate place to understand what exactly these shadowy warriors were like.
The museum consists primarily of a reconstruction of a ninja house.
Ninja houses were fortresses, containing traps and hidden areas, cleverly concealing the secret activities of the residents.
Discovering the history of the ninja
There is also a very well organised gallery, containing over 300 historical objects that once belonged to the ninja. You will find weapons and armour, writings, ninjutsu manuals and, of course, the emblematic shuriken.
The museum is very educational and tries to convey to visitors some of the old techniques passed down through historical documents studied by historians. They go a long way towards explaining the medical secrets, secret encryption, and survival techniques of the Iga ninja.
Show of strength
Finally, there is a very popular show featuring some of the amazing feats of agility lent to the ninja, as well as demonstrations of the main weapons they used - primarily swords and shuriken.
Around the museum, a few minutes walk will take you to the ruins of Iga Castle, the seat of the local lords. The place has the distinction of having the highest walls in Japan, more than 30 meters in places! A precaution that, with the close proximity of ninjas in the area, seems perfectly justified...