"My city of Iga (previously city of Ueno)" Ueno by robertbaum

Ueno Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 33 photos

The city of Iga (previously Ueno)

Well, until 2004 it was within the city boundaries of the then city of Ueno where the famous Haiku poet Matsuo Bashō was born.

But on 1 November 2004 the new city of Iga (伊賀市; -shi) was formed as the result of a merger of the city of Ueno (上野市; -shi) with five surrounding towns and villages, the towns of Iga (伊賀町; -chō) and Ayama (阿山町; -chō), the villages of Shimagahara (島ヶ原村; -mura) and Ōyamada (大山田村; -mura), all four were in the former Ayama District (阿山郡; -gun), and the town of Aoyama (青山町; -chō) which was in Naga District (名賀郡; -gun). The former towns, villages, and districts all were abolished at the time of the merger.

Main attractions

The Iga area is most famous for its former Iga Ninja school of Ninjutsu (伊賀流; Iga-ryū), which was one of the two most famous schools. The Kōga Ninja school (甲賀流; Kōga-ryū) in the prefecture of Shiga (滋賀県; -ken) was the other one with together about 70 clandestine organizations carrying out the art.

The most famous of the Iga ninja is Hattori Hanzo (半蔵服部) who became the leader of the personal guard of Ieyasu Tokugawa (徳川家康) who was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1868) of Japan. Hanzo?s remains now rest in the Sainen-ji temple cemetery in Shinjuku, Tokyo. A gate to the Edo castle, now the Imperial Palace was given his name and a Hanzo-mon (半蔵門) subway line, named for the gate, runs between central Tokyo and the southwestern suburbs.

Today the Ninja Museum (伊賀流忍者博物館, Iga-ryū Ninja Hakubutsukan) is one of Iga-Ueno's most visited tourist attractions. It is divided into four sections: Ninja Residence (忍者屋敷; -yashiki), Ninja Experience Hall, Ninja Tradition Hall and the Ninja Demonstration Zone (忍者ステージ; ste-ji). The Museum is one of several attractions in Ueno Park.

A Ninja Festival (伊賀上野NINJAフェスタ; Festa) is held annually in Spring (end of March - beginning of May).

A further attraction is Ueno Castle (上野城; -jō), external link. The castle was built on top of a steep hill and can be seen very well from the city. Construction started in 1585 by Tsutsui Sadatsugu but was expanded and fortified to its present form after Todo Takatora succeeded Sadatsugu in 1611. The castle tower was reconstructed in wood in 1935. With its elegant white walls it is also known as the Hakuho (白鳳城; -jō) or 'white phoenix' castle for its resemblance to the fabled sacred white bird resting in green leaves. The walls surrounding the structure, at 30 meters tall, are said to be the highest in Japan. The castle was used as a shooting location for Kagemusha, a film directed by Akira Kurosawa in the early 1980's.

Iga-Ueno is also well known as the birthplace of one of Japan's greatest poets, Matsuo Bashō (芭蕉松尾) who lived during the early Edo period from 1644-1694. Bashō is recognized as a master of brief and clear Haiku, a Japanese form of poetry. The Bashō Memorial Museum (芭蕉翁記念館; Bashō-ō Kinenkan) and the Poet's Memorial Hall (俳聖殿; Haiseiden), a two-tiered wooden pavilion built in 1942 commemorating the 300th anniversary of the poet's birth are both located in Ueno Park. Just east of the park is Bashō's Ancestral Home (芭蕉翁生家; Bashō-ō Seika). A twenty minute walk south of the station is Bagworm Hermitage (蓑虫庵; Minomushi An) - the only one of the poet's five retreats still in existence today.

A Bashō Festival (芭蕉祭; -matsuri) is held annually in the town on 12 October.

The Ueno Tenjin Festival (上野天神祭) or Danjiri Festival (だんじり祭) is held annually from 23-25 October.

Souvenirs and Local Products Worth To Buy

- Iga Sake (酒 or 地酒; Jizake or 日本酒; Nihonshu) from one of the 15 local breweries
- Iga beef (伊賀牛; -gyū)
- Iga hard cookies (伊賀かたやき; -katayaki)
- Iga pottery (伊賀焼き; -yaki)
- Iga braid (組み紐; Kumihimo)

  • Last visit to Ueno: Dec 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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