The Traps and Tricks You'll Find Inside Koka Ninja House
Ever since when I was a kid, I am fascinated with ninjas and amused to watch them in movies. They had amazing tricks and weapons. They disappear with smoke bombs and they jump so high like Naruto. I wished I was part of their world.
When I came to Japan, I was invited to visit a ninja house and the excitement began. I was brought back to my childhood memories and my fondness for ninjas.
This Koka Ninja House, located in the suburb of Koka City in Shiga prefecture, once a residence of The Koka Ninja clan, is currently the only one real authentic Japanese ninja house.
As we entered the house, we were welcomed by the staff and one red suited ninja. We were invited to watch a short history video about the Koka Ninjas. It was in Japanese audio with English subtitles. A kettle of Koka Ninja tea called Kenpocha made from ancient ninja recipes is available for free.
The History of Koka Ninja…
Ever since the Edo-era the ninja have become a topic of popular imagination and mystery.
As the name "ninja" is already well known worldwide, their perception in popular culture is based more on such legendary skills such as invisibility, walking on water, and using nature to hide in one's surroundings. They needed to be extremely athletic and skilled at being quiet.
Throughout history, their main tasks in Japan were spying, deception, assassination, and surprise attacks. Ninja invented various kinds of original tools and weapons mainly to escape from dangers or make a surprise attack. They made huge contributions in many battles during the Sengoku period, but not many documentations were found until now to explain how important their roles as assassins or mercenaries. Because great ninjas leave no sign!
It is said that the Koka Clan was especially good at handling chemicals and medicines because of the rich soil and climate suitable for the cultivation of medicinal herbs in the Koka region. Therefore, the region has many pharmaceutical industries nowadays and the founders of some pharmaceutical companies in Japan are descendants of The Koka Clan.
Let’s Explore the Interior of Koka Ninja House…
Koka Ninja House looks like just an ordinary Japanese old house; however, it was full of tricks, trapdoors, and secret passages with the wisdom of Ninja.
On the ground floor, there are some secret doors opened for tourists by guides. Those doors were used for the residents to escape or catch enemies who broke into the house. There is one secret door that leads to a secret corridor to get outside safely and quickly to escape. Another door will lead you to the hidden pit hole but try not to fall inside.
There is a ladder that will lead you to the 1st floor. It is hidden in a wall that looks like a closet. When you step up to the 1st floor, you will notice that the ceiling is too low. This is one trick of the house, the ceiling is much lower than ordinary houses at around 1 to 1.5 meters high. You have to crawl to move around the floor or just bend your back like a hunchback. In the old days, enemies used Japanese swords called nihontou for fighting. Nihontou's average blade length is around 70cm. In case enemies break in and fighting breaks out, it would be difficult for enemies to swing the nihontou in such a low ceiling. On the other side, ninjas are trained to use short swords and they take advantage of this trick to fight their enemies. Additionally, there are some viewpoints from the corridor floor for cautious hiders.
There is another ladder that will lead you to the attic. It is an open space and there is a rope ladder that the Ninja can use to descent from the 2nd floor to the ground floor to quickly escape from enemies.
Other Things You Will Experience Inside The Ninja House…
Since people of Koka were good at handling medicinal herbs, they display some mixed herbs to improve their health, cure their illness and poison enemies. As spy activity, Koka ninjas disguised themselves as pharmacists to approach enemies and poison them using their knowledge and experience of medicine.
Koka also has displayed some of the ninja weapons like shuriken (throwing stars), shikomidue (secret cane), makibishi (escape tool which has 4 thorns) and many more.
For an extra fee, you will have also the opportunity to experience how it feels to be like a ninja by wearing the ninja suit and throwing the real shurikens at a target outside.
Lastly, they have a souvenir shop with many selections of ninja items including makibushi, shirts, and many others.
There you go, so by now, you have already an idea of how a ninja house looks like inside. So to all ninja fans out there like me, when you visit Japan, add this in your itinerary list. You will surely enjoy it as much as I did.