Most viewed - Koka Ninja House 甲賀流忍術屋敷
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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 MAP1113 viewsThe house is in its original location in the Koka area of Shiga Prefecture.
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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.1083 viewsNot a National Historic Site, but it should be.
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Metal finger claws worn on the fingertips.1013 views
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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.753 views
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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.727 views
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Trap door on the floor opened.715 views
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Real ninja shuriken throwing star knives on display. Made of steel, they come in many different shapes.626 views
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Closet with a trap door on the floor.613 views
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Ceiling of Ninja House. Directly below the thatched roof.582 views
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Ninja sword, very short.565 views
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Soft rubber shuriken (toys). Special thanks to Takayuki Mochizuki (ninja descendant) for taking me to this Koka Ninja House.560 views
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Inside the trap door is a hole and tunnel leading to a well in the garden outside. Hence the water.558 views
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A flaming star538 views
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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.534 views
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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.532 views
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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.526 views
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The 2nd floor, between the first floor and ceiling, has a very low height which can entrap an intruder going upstairs.520 views
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Ninja tools516 views
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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.509 views
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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.509 views
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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.504 views
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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.500 views
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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.498 views
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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.494 views
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Small gun concealed as a sword.491 views
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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..489 views
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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.478 views
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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.473 views
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That rope goes to the second floor (see next photo).472 views
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Ladder going up to the attic.471 views
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Ninja souvenirs467 views
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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.461 views
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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.454 views
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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.446 views
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Gunpowder case443 views
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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.439 views
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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.417 views
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Ceiling of Ninja House.415 views
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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.413 views
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Blow tube and blow darts.411 views
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The famed Bansenshukai Ninja Bible detailing ninja tools and techniques. This is a replica.411 views
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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.408 views
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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.406 views
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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.406 views
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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.404 views
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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.398 views
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Real ninja obviously did not wear a pink costume, but in the manga/anime world, pink looks cute.395 views
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Bullets with various gauges.394 views
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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.386 views
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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385 views
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Little ninja at target practice.377 views
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Straw sandals with metal claws for traction.376 views
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Swinging chain with weights on the ends. Wrap it around the opponent's neck.373 views
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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.371 views
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One room's upper walls display a chronological history of the Koga ninja.370 views
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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.364 views
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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.361 views
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Gift shop selling medicines, tea, and ninja goods.361 views
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For 500 yen, you can rent a ninja costume of various colors.358 views
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Blow darts with poison tips maybe.353 views
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Ninja phone straps349 views
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Medicine (gunpowder?) case.340 views
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Healthy "Ninja tea." Free samples in the living room.340 views
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Medicines made by the company which owns the house.332 views
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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.322 views
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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.297 views
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Wooden ad sign for aspirin.294 views
 
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