One of Japan’s most uniquely localized train stations. JR Koka Station opened its new station building in Nov. 2005. It resembles a farmer’s kura storehouse on the outside. But the inside has a number of visual surprises with ingenious, interactive ninja wall paintings.
Koka is famous for Koka/Koga ninja, and the station plays this up with ninja motifs and playful 3D ninja paintings. Thanks to some very clever optical illusions called “trick art,” you can join in the virtual ninja world by posing inside the painting. (Get your camera ready.) The seven ninja wall paintings were painted by Hattori Masashi (服部 正志), a noted artist. They should rename the station, “Ninja Station.” That would attract more attention and tourists (it would also cost a good bit of money). Koka’s authentic Ninja House and Ninja Village amusement park are popular attractions.
The station building’s first floor has display cases of medicines produced by Koka drug companies. The abundant herbs in the area gave rise to many druggists in Koka. The ninja were also expert with drugs and chemicals. The name “Koka” is often mispronounced as “Koga” (as in Koga ninja) by Japanese and foreigners alike. The proper pronunciation is “Koka.” FYI, there’s another ninja train station at Ueno-shi Station in Iga, Mie, famous for Iga ninja.
|Ninja painting fused with a bench||Ceiling painting of ninja appearing from a cloak.|
|JR Kusatsu Line Train Stations|
|Kusatsu 草津駅 | Tehara 手原駅 | Ishibe 石部駅 | Kosei 甲西駅 | Mikumo 三雲駅 | Kibukawa 貴生川駅 | Konan 甲南駅 | Terasho 寺庄駅 | Koka 甲賀駅 | Aburahi 油日駅 | Tsuge (Mie) 柘植駅|