Hotspot #29 : Unseen Ninja
From Nara Station, we took JR Yamatoji to Kamo Station. We then changed to Iga Ueno Station via JR Kansai line. At Kamo Station, we saw other passengers walking out from the train.
“Eh? Why? Dah sampai?”
“I don’t think so. I think we need to change to another train.” Hubby explained though he looked clueless than me.
We quickly ran out, for we saw no one left in the train. At the other side of the track, there was a single-coach train in purple color.
“So pendek one?” I pointed to the end of train, where we can clearly see how the train driver operating the system.
“Ye la kot.” We laughed.
We paid 250yen each for one way, since Iga Railway is excluded in JR Pass service. From Iga Ueno Station, we had almost an hour of train ride. I didn’t sit for the first 20 minutes, coz I was too excited to see the driver pointing fingers here and there, talking to himself, reminding him what’s the next action to be taken. FUNNY! As if, he is monitored by his superior via hidden camera. Hahaha!
It was a very picturesque route, IFFFF it wasn’t raining. We didn’t get any good shot since the window was vaporous. I tell you, the route was SUPER STUNNING like what we had on Sagano Romantic Train in Arashiyama! With mountains, fields, sakura, villages, SUMPAH CANTIK! If only I can show it in the picture…sigh.
The rain followed us until UenoShi. Hmph! We hopped off and snapped few photos with cute colorful train coach that was originally designed by famous people.
With the help of train officer, we crossed the track. Suddenly…
“AYANG! LOOK OUT!” Hubby shouted at me!
At this point of time, I swear, I could have die due to heart attack! I THOUGHT THE TRAIN WAS COMING TO HIT US!
But he pointed to this…
So I had no choice but to attack him back!
In the rain, under the see-through umbrella, we walked towards Iga Ueno Ninja Museum, passing one primary school. The umbrella was too small, lucky that hubby’s camera bag came with raincoat. I had to thank God for this drizzling rain, for I had chance to walk side by side and be in hubby’s arm. SO ROMANTIC! (Kalau tak, kirim salam!)
Does Ueno ring a bell? Remember Ueno Park in the previous entry? Iga Ueno is NOT Ueno Park ya. When Ueno Park in Tokyo is famous for its sakura, Iga Ueno is famous for its Ninja. Here in Iga Ueno, they teach “ninjutsu” (the art of stealth), during the feudal era.
We walked for almost 300 meters before we reached the main entrance of Ueno Park and paid 700yen each. We then walked another 100 meters before we reached the Ninja House, and it was still raining.
BUT…I was surprised with the blooming of yellow sakura! Through out this trip, that was the ONE and ONLY place that had yellow sakura. Kid you not!
We were welcomed by one ninja girl or known as “kunoichi” at the front door. I quickly posed with her right after she taught me how to do Ninja secret sign. I then asked her about the Ninja Show that we read in the internet (run at 3pm on certain days) but she turned me off by saying that it is cancelled due to rain. Else, we should have seen Ninja all over the area, showing their skills, coming from this and that way…ya know, it should be fun to be among them.
WHYYYY! WHYYYYYYY! We came this far, and no Ninja? Pity hubby.
She asked us to take off our shoes and wait inside the house. There were 4 other tourists in our group. She then walked us to the kitchen area and started introducing this and that. IN JAPANESE! (Yup, the daily shows are held in Japanese only.) Can you guys imagine how we struggled, trying to figure out what she was saying? Flipping this board, opening that door, peeping under the floor, ya know...do the Ninja thing, but not knowing what was it for! Hahaha!
But generally, the action speaks for itself. So no worries. You'll get it.
In the house, we saw the same fake Ninja (at the train station), crawling, climbing, and hiding all over the places. They imitated exactly like what olden days Ninja did. It was thrilling to see the Ninja girl doing the demo, and hell yes, she’s fast! She showed us the revolving walls, trap doors, hidden compartments and what not. AND, there was once, while stepping down the stairs, in the dark, a Ninja came out and shocked me off! GILE TERKEJUT TAHAP BAB*! I almost
chopped him off fainted! I shouted so loud till the whole hall can hear my voice!
15 minutes of demonstration, we moved to the exhibition halls where they displayed Ninja tools, gadgets, camo attires, and weapons, along with a demo zone with spectacular shows featuring Ninja skills. This was where we found that Ninja and Samurai were dissimilar. Once, they fought, and Ninja won.
Ninja VS Me :
Ninja wear black outfit (Ok, I wear black)
Ninja use colored rice to leave message (No, I eat rice)
Ninja use fingers to lift up things (Emm, I ask hubby)
Ninja use sense in dark (Oh, I sleep)
Ninja need to be fast (Ok, I walk fast)
Ninja need to know how to hide (Well, I do, sometime)
Ninja need to know how to camouflage (Ah, I make-up!)
Ninja make their own weapon (No, I don't)
Ninja use gun and rocket (What???)
Ninja cover their body and face (Since the day I gain weight!)
Ninja stay silent (Me? NEVER!)
"But basket-ing the face? What a good disguise." (Kalau terasa nak jadi Ninja, sila taruk bakul kat kepala ye…hahaha!)
“But I thought being a Ninja, you are not supposed to be easily recognized? Then why wore straw hat? No…it’s not even a straw hat, it’s a basket! Hahaha! Obvious tuh!”
“Hahaha! Coz most of them were farmers. Anything that they can find in the market, considered good enuff la…” Hubby assumed.
We continued to view the equipments, masks, codes, miniature, and played some Ninja games. We laughed almost all the time, reading and trying to figure out how they did it. Good that there was no one around since it was raining the whole day.
Next to the Ninja house, there was one big hall where at the end of the corner, they were selling souvenirs and gifts. I screened through the items and caught by series of “shuriken” (Ninja weapon). I had a second thought of getting the whole series, but it was too expensive! Pfft!
While walking out, I knew that hubby was frustrated with the visit. The traveling time (almost an hour) was more than the visit time (15 minutes guys! 15 minutes jerrr!) As much as I eager to see Geisha, I knew he wanted to see Ninja so bad. How do I know? Coz he bought one t-shirt with Ninja logo on it! (He is super fussy when it comes to country-printed t-shirt.)
It was 40 minutes past 3pm. We stopped at the souvenir shop on the way out but it was closed. I called the salesperson (she was in the middle of unloading bottles from the lorry) and she was kind enough to re-open the shop, just for us! Though she had no idea how to speak English, she did welcome and entertain us with her nice smile.
We walked back to the train station and paid another 250yen for Iga Railway ride. Both of us sat silent…blaming the rain. In fact, it was the ONLY day that was raining. Sitting opposite, there was a Chinese couple.
“I don’t see them buying any train ticket just now…” I tried to create conversation, to break the silence.
Guess what? They didn’t! They kept on flashing their JR Pass to the ticket checker since they had no other tickets to give. Even worst, the checker spoke in Japanese, so no one understand each other. Hahaha!
Once boarded, I came to rescue them.
“This train is not covered under JR Pass. You need to buy the ticket, 250yen.” I explained.
The train officer nodded like he understood what I said to the Singaporean couple, and he started to speak Japanese with me. Hahaha! I smiled and asked the couple to follow the officer, to pay for the ticket. (Lucky them. Else, kena terjun keretapi.)
At Nara Station, we took back our bagpacks and took a train, headed to Osaka via JR Yamatoji (Rapid service), and stopped at Shinimamiya Station. Earlier we booked Business Hotel Taiyo, purposely because it just 3 minutes walk from subway station. Thanks to someone’s blog who posted the direction, VISUALLY, from the station right to the hotel door.
It was already dark. Since we went out from the back door of the train station, I saw filthiness, on the road, in the drain, and on the wall. POLUTION! VANDALISM!
“Owh god! What happen to Osaka? Ewww…” That was my first impression!
“Eiiii I don’t like Osaka.” I tried to be dramatic!
“Wait la…this is only a back lane…” Hubby calmed me down.
“Yaaaa…but have you seen this in Hiroshima? Kyoto? Not even in Tokyo ok!”
In wintriness, we checked in and went into the room. Looking at those traditional futon bedding on tatami woven-straw floor, I wasn’t that surprised. As long as in a room, I’m ok with it. If I heard anyone snoring, it should be none other than hubby. Hahaha!
We went out to the nearest store to grab some dinner. The hotel reception suggested Tamade, 15 minutes walking distance from the hotel. It was nearly 7pm and most of the outlets were already closed. We went in Tamade and headed to the grocery area.
“I LOVE JAPAN! ESPECIALLY THEIR CONVENIENT STORES’ FOODS!” I shouted while grabbing one pack of rice with teriyaki fish. Yummeh! (Japan is seafood heaven, but mahal!)
“Eh let’s go to 100yen Shop! I want to get a boxer.” Hubby smiled.
We went in and I got crazy! SO MANY THINGS IN THERE! And I bought more Meiji chocolate coz it's cheap!
“THIS IS TOTALLY BETTER AND CHEAPER THAN DAISO IN MALAYSIA!”
Let’s do the math. 100yen=RM3.70. Now who can answer why Daiso in Malaysia sell at RM5.00?
“Let’s go back. Esok nak rebut toilet.” Yup, public bathroom. Care to try the Japanese style, “onsen”? Hahaha!
Read HERE for Travelista version.