Most viewed - Koka Ninja House 甲賀流忍術屋敷
Koka Ninja House (Koka-ryu Ninjutsu Yashiki) is the former residence of Mochizuki Izumonokami, the leading Koga ninja family of the 53 Koka ninja families. 望月出雲守 MAP1095 viewsThe house is in its original location in the Koka area of Shiga Prefecture.
The Ninja House, built in 1703, is owned and maintained by a local medicine company having ninja roots. Many Koka ninja were makers of medicine as a front for their clandestine activities. This background also made them expert at making gunpowder.1061 viewsNot a National Historic Site, but it should be.
Metal finger claws worn on the fingertips.1006 views
Ladder going to the 2nd floor. There's also a trap door on the floor below the ladder where the ninja could hide. Notice the rope. The ninja hiding under the floor would tug the rope connected to the 2nd floor.745 views
The first room you see in the house is the living room. You can sit and have free "ninja tea" while waiting for a guided tour of the house. Along with the geisha, the ninja is one of the most recognized but misunderstood things about Japan.722 views
Trap door on the floor opened.709 views
Real ninja shuriken throwing star knives on display. Made of steel, they come in many different shapes.619 views
Closet with a trap door on the floor.609 views
Ceiling of Ninja House. Directly below the thatched roof.577 views
Ninja sword, very short.559 views
Inside the trap door is a hole and tunnel leading to a well in the garden outside. Hence the water.555 views
Soft rubber shuriken (toys). Special thanks to Takayuki Mochizuki (ninja descendant) for taking me to this Koka Ninja House.554 views
A flaming star533 views
Maki-bishi spikes thrown on the ground to poke your feet. These are made from dried water chestnuts (aquatic plant found in marshes). One of the four spikes will point upward.530 views
Revolving door (opened). The floor also has a trap door (see next photo) where you can go down and escape through a tunnel leading to a well in the garden outside.529 views
Display case showing ninja costumes. Real ninja mainly wore one of seven disguises instead of the stereotypical black costume. They could be dressed as a priest, merchant, jester, etc.521 views
The 2nd floor, between the first floor and ceiling, has a very low height which can entrap an intruder going upstairs.514 views
Ninja tools512 views
This room has display cases showing various ninja weapons, tools, and costumes. The ceiling is also quite low, designed to impede the wielding of samurai swords.505 views
The rope is connected to a noise maker on the 2nd floor here. The intruder would then think that the ninja is on the 2nd floor and go up the ladder in pursuit. When the intruder is on the 2nd floor, the ninja below the trap door would remove the ladder.503 views
The left sliding wooden door is very heavy, about 50 kg, making it difficult to open. This buys more time for the ninja to escape.500 views
Certificate of Appreciation from UNICEF to the medicine company. Koka Ninja House Web site here. Phone: 0748-86-2179. Also see the Koka Ninja Village.495 views
Trying my shuriken skills. You throw it with an overhand throw (like a baseball) and not like a frisbee. Also see my YouTube video here.493 views
Entrance to another room on the first floor. Although the Koga ninja and Iga ninja (in Mie Prefecture) were the most famous, there were actually numerous ninja groups in many other parts of Japan as well. They were most active during wars.489 views
Small gun concealed as a sword.486 views
Dart-shaped shuriken. Shuriken were not only star-shaped. These were either thrown straight-on, or thrown while the point rotated 180 degrees turning toward the target. It was difficult to throw, and much practice was required..484 views
Hooks for hoisting ropes on walls, etc. The Koka ninja reluctantly moved to Edo (Tokyo) around 1634 as requested by the shogun, and worked as castle guards, gathered intelligence on daimyo lords, and formed a gun battalion.474 views
The wooden railing on the right is slimmer than the left one. It means it is removable, allowing the ninja to escape from the 2nd floor.468 views
That rope goes to the second floor (see next photo).467 views
Ladder going up to the attic.465 views
Ninja souvenirs463 views
Maki-bishi made of steel. Used for escape when they encountered an enemy. Many of the ninja's weapons were designed to buy time for the ninja to escape.456 views
The Ninja House also displays autographs by celebrities who visited the house. This is actor Harrison Ford who visited in Feb. 2000. He came unannounced with a taxi driver, interpreter, and his son.451 views
The upper walls have explanations about the Koka ninja and Mochizuki ninja family. "Koka" is the correct pronunciation, but the kanji can also be pronounced "Koga" which has become more common.443 views
Gunpowder case438 views
Stairs to go back down to the 1st floor. There's a rotating door. Ninja worked behind the scenes and were very secretive. They hardly told others about their activites nor left written records. Sometimes they worked as spies or mole.435 views
Medicine ad sign reading Ninjutsu-gan. For belly aches. Although the ninja's medicine-making remains today, the art of ninjutsu is ironically no longer practiced in Koka. It is not a martial art like karate and judo.412 views
Ceiling of Ninja House.411 views
The array of ninja weapons and tools was very impressive. This Ninja House strives to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions of the ninja. A visit is highly recommended.409 views
Blow tube and blow darts.407 views
The famed Bansenshukai Ninja Bible detailing ninja tools and techniques. This is a replica.406 views
The veranda is another escape route after opening trick windows from the inside. Ninja avoided direct combat and preferred to defend themselves and escape from enemies. Assassination was only a minor part of their activities.404 views
The Koka Ninja House also has a Shuriken Dojo. Pay 200 yen for five shuriken throwing stars (300 yen for 10) and try hitting the bull's eye.403 views
Contrary to popular belief, ninja cannot walk on water. "Mizugumo" means water spider. To move across water, they used a wooden floating ring shown here, and sat in the middle.402 views
They wore wooden geta clogs with flippers which helped them propel themselves underwater. The wooden floating ring is collapsible and quite light. Almost like balsa.398 views
Small revolving door connected to a closet. The Koka ninja's main activity was gathering information. As they traveled and sold medicines, they always talked to people and their customers. They tried to find out how many guns the enemy had, etc.395 views
Real ninja obviously did not wear a pink costume, but in the manga/anime world, pink looks cute.390 views
Bullets with various gauges.389 views
The Koka Ninja House is located 2 km from JR Konan Station on the JR Kusatsu Line. There are no buses going to the Ninja House. The house is open every day 9 am - 5 pm. Closed Dec. 27-Jan. 1. Admission is 600 yen for adults. 望月出雲守381 views
A sketch shows how they were "water spiders." They were largely submerged in the water, with the wooden ring also submerged, but buoyant enough for them to float across while kicking through the water with the flipper clogs.380 views
Little ninja at target practice.374 views
Straw sandals with metal claws for traction.371 views
Swinging chain with weights on the ends. Wrap it around the opponent's neck.368 views
Straw ninja hat with a deep brim to hide their face. Dressing like a priest, merchant, etc., would arouse the least suspicion while they traveled.366 views
One room's upper walls display a chronological history of the Koga ninja.364 views
Manga cells. Ninja manga characters are famous. However, real ninja never became famous. Being famous in name or face would greatly decrease the value of that ninja.360 views
Gift shop selling medicines, tea, and ninja goods.358 views
Three out of five of my shuriken at least stuck on the board. But all missed the target which is quite low. Probably geared for kids.357 views
For 500 yen, you can rent a ninja costume of various colors.355 views
Blow darts with poison tips maybe.348 views
Ninja phone straps346 views
Healthy "Ninja tea." Free samples in the living room.337 views
Medicine (gunpowder?) case.336 views
Medicines made by the company which owns the house.328 views
Outside the ninja house. This ninja house is very impressive. It does have an air of authenticity, although there are, unavoidably, a few touristy elements. This house should be designated as a Important Cultural Property or an National Historic Site.319 views
This is an autograph by Shiga Governor Kada Yukiko who visited the Ninja House on April 24, 2009. In red reads "Mottainai," her motto meaning "Wasteful," in reference to spending of tax dollars.294 views
Wooden ad sign for aspirin.290 views
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