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As a theme park, the Koka-no-Sato Ninjutsu-mura or Koka Ninja Village offers a good tourist sampling of ninja in a hidden village of former ninja houses transplanted to this "village." Entrance to Koka Ninja Village, tucked away in a hidden, lusEntrance to Koka Ninja Village, tucked away in a hidden, lush forest. Quite far from the nearest train station (Koka Station on the Kusatsu Line). You can call them from the train station to be picked up.
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Path to Koka Ninjutsu-mura Village. Admission is 1,000 yen for adults. Cheaper for students. Open 10 am - 5 pm. Free shuttle bus available from JR Koka Station. Phone: 0748-88-5000
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Shinobi Shrine is what you first see. Worships all the nameless ninja who died. The ninja never tried to gain fame. They remained unknown. 志能備神社
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Shinobi Shrine has a statue of Daikokuten, one of the seven gods of good fortune. He is worshipped for good marriage, food, and prosperity. Made during the early Edo Period, it's Japan's largest wooden statue of Daikokuten. 大黒天1 comments
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Path down to Koka Ninja Village. Lots of greenery. MAP
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Monument for Sarutobi Sasuke, a famous Koga ninja who was born in Koka. However, he was only fictional character. Ninjas never tried to become famous. 猿飛佐助の碑
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The Mizugumo Water Spider Pond where you can walk on water. A few visitors, wearing ninja costumes, try it out.
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A pair of floating rings with a platform in the middle.
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Grab the rope and step into the foot rings. Of course, ninja never wore a bright red costume. You can rent a ninja suit in various colors for 600 yen.
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Whoa, almost fell into the water!
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There he goes, not exactly walking on water. Just dragging himself across with the rope. This is only for anime-like amusement. This is not how the ninja did it.
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Water spider: How the ninja did it. This drawing from the Koka Ninja House shows how it was done. The ninja sat on the board inside the wooden ring and waded through the water while partially submerged. His wooden clogs had small flippers.
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The Ninja house (Ninja yashiki) is one of the main attractions of the Ninja Village. This was an actual ninja house belonging to the Fujibayashi ninja family. It was disassembled and transplanted here from Ohara Ichiba in Koka.
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The Ninja house was built in 1842. There is a guide (dressed in ninja costume) inside to show you around.1 comments
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Inside the ninja house. A hearth with a escape hatch at the bottom.
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Hearth with a escape hatch at the bottom. A tour guide shows you the gimmicks of the house.1 comments
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Trap door behind a scroll with the kanji "shinobi" (stealth).
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Going through the trap door.1 comments
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This entire ceiling was designed to fall down on any assailant in this room.
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Ninja house attic showing the thatched roof.1 comments
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Ninja well with an escape tunnel which you can almost walk through.
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Next to the Ninja house is the Koka Ninja Museum (Koka Ninjutsu Hakubutsukan). This was also a fomer house transplanted here. 甲賀忍術博物館
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Inside Koka Ninja Museum which opened in 1983. The dirt-floored room has various ninja ladders.
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Koka Ninja Museum also has showcases with various ninja costumes, documents, weapons, etc. The museum is kind of rundown though.
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Ninja's secret language. A codified system.
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Map of Japan showing numerous ninja schools which existed during the feudal era. Iga-Ueno and Koga ninja were the most famous.
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Ninja looked at a cat's eyes to find out what time it was. If the iris was almost closed, it was noon. If dilated, it was late at night. Must've been troublesome to find and snatch a cat to find out what time it was.1 comments
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Ninja armored suit for protection against swords.
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Shuriken throwing knives.
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Shuriken throwing knives.
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Tools for making medicine (including gunpowder). Many Koka (Koga) ninja were medicine makers. It was a disguise and a means to gather information from people when they went around selling medicines. Koka ninja were always in contact with the local people.
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Medicine packages from Koka ninja-related medicine companies. Even today, Koka has numerous medicine manufacturers.
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Shuriken Dojo Hall 手裏剣道場
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Shuriken Dojo has a few stalls. For a few hundred yen, you can throw real shuriken at wooden targets.
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Shuriken target practice at the Shuriken Dojo in Koka Ninja Village, Shiga Prefecture. 手裏剣道場
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Other activities.
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Swinging down a rope.
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Castle wall to climb on.
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Wall to climb on
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Shigaraki pottery lessons
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Shigaraki tanuki racoon dogs.
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Outdoor stage, where they hold events like the Miss Kunoichi Contest.
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Giant Buddha's hand. Used in a 1982 ninja movie. The hand has the same scale as the Giant Buddha's hand in Nara's Todaiji temple.
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Roof with ninja family crest.
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Gift shop sells shuriken. Also see the Koka Ninja House. Koka Ninja Village Web site here.
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Ninja costumes for sale. 10,000 yen for adult costume, and 7,000 yen for children's size.
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Ninja dolls
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Honolulu Advertiser newspaper from Hawaii featuring a photo of a ninja from Koka who performed at Ala Moana Shopping Center in 1990.1 comments
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