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December 25, 2019 - Iga Ueno - Mie Prefecture
For my sixth day in Japan, I spent the morning in Iga Ueno to see what this little town has to offer. I've currently visited many of the major towns in the Kinki Region - but Iga is an area a bit difficult to visit due to train links. For those who did not get the clue from the first picture - Iga is known as one of the homes of Ninja.
My first stop of the day was the Dainjiri or Float museum for the local Matsuri. It costs 600 yen to enter or 1750 yen for a combo ticket which includes the Ninja Museum & Ueno Castle.
These large floats are quite impressive but they can start to look the same after a while. Thankfully they have an interesting and informative video on the matsuri or festival twice an hour which actually broke up looking at 'stuff' and 'places' all the time.
My second stop was the Ninja Museum which costs 800 yen to enter or 1750 with entry to the castle and Danjiri Museum. Note that you often have to wait 15 or so minutes for a guided tour of the reproduction home to occur.
The museum has good translations and really caters for foreign tourists. A large number of small bus tours seem to come here as I saw a few Chinese families (including grandmothers) dressed as ninja.
Another building close by also includes more information about Ninja's and explains many facets of their life. Note that from what I understand the show is the real reason people come here - but I was not in the mood to wait another hour when there are places to go and things to see.
Ueno castle is located just a few minutes walk from the Ninja Museum but it should be noted that English signage to get around the park is a bit lacking. It costs 600 yen to enter or also is included in the 1750 combo ticket mentioned previously.
Photography is allowed inside and there is the normal collection of swords, scrolls, calligraphy and other stuff. Even though this castle is a reconstruction - it was built in 1935 which means it actually feels like one of the traditional castles.
My fourth stop for the day was the Sukodo School which costs 200 yen and was probably my favorite location in the town. This school used to teach the children of samurai in the Edo period and is reasonably hefty in size.
It was a shame about a low level of water - but I'm happy that there was a reasonable garden.
My last spot for the day was the Old Ota School which costs 100 yen and is basically a museum showing old school photos and such. No english is available here but most of the pictures are reasonably self explanatory. Photography is allowed but not of photos or names.
Iga is an interesting little city with a different mix of attractions. It's biggest selling point is that most of the sites I visited were within a 15 minute walk of one another. I did find the three big sites were a bit expensive for the price but I've just visited the Shiga countryside which wants tourists. Visiting Kyoto soon will bring me back to reality with prices. Later today - I visited some sites on my way back to Otsu.
Iga Ueno Castle (http://igaueno-castle.jp)
Iga-ryu Ninja Museum (http://www.iganinja.jp/?page_id=837)
Old Ota Elementary School (http://igakanko.net/?p=177)
Old Suko School (https://www.igaueno.net/?p=102)