Ninja Village: A boyhood dream comes true
Trip Start May 13, 2007
34Trip End Jul 07, 2008
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The train rides to the ninja village yielded a couple of pleasant surprises. I sincerely enjoyed seeing truly rural Japan and riding on some of the small trains that serviced the small farming communities in the Kansai area. We also met a couple of fellow North Americans who like us were on their way to the Ninja village
Leaving the restaurant (if you want to call it that), we hit up one of the many vending machines on the street and caught a cab to the complex that contained the ninja village. I expected the ninja village to be the only attraction, but it ended up being one of three major attractions in this park type area. Blowing 1500yen we bought a big pass that would allow us into all the sights the park had to offer. The first stop and where we bought the tickets was at a small castle with a mot around its backside. The castle was rather small, but contained four floors
After the castle, we bumped into our gaijin friends again who had just came from the ninja village. They told us the next show at the village was to begin in fifteen so we hurriedly went about searching for the ninja village. Some how we managed to walk past the entrance to the village several times and lose our way a couple times. When we reached the ninja village area, we paid 200 yen and proceeded to enter the show area. The show featured demonstrations of several ninja weapons. The excitement was taken to a new level by the cheesy sound effects that corresponded with the performers' actions. The show was rather brief and followed by the opportunity to throw the ninja stars for a small price. Sensing the lightness of my wallet and knowing we were far from an available ATM, I decided to stay back and watch my comrades try their luck.
A trip through a ninja museum and a showing of a ninja house proceeded the ninja show. I found the ninja museum really interesting. Aided by the many English captions, I gained a greater knowledge of the true historical ninja and what he or she did. The museum had everything from weapons to a chart showing how ninjas could tell time by looking at the pupils of a cat
Giddy from the Ninja village, we decided to stop by the last attraction left on our master card before we headed back to the train station. Our last stop was a disappointment to say the least. The small museum housed a few relics, but its main feature was a series of manicans reenacting a Japanese festival. After spending a sum of eight minutes in the museum, we hailed a cab and returned to the train station. While we waited on the next train to come, we ventured into a small knick knack store next to the station that sold little American novelties. The rest of the guys seemed to really dig this place and to think it housed some little treasures. Personally, I was reminded of a garage sell and mostly just stuck around the entrance looking out on the train station and the rest of the city.
Back in Kameoka we rested and made joking references to our Ninja village experience. If I had the day to do over I still would have gone to the Ninja village. It corrected some myths that pop culture has perpetuated about ninjas and presented the ninja in its historical context. I guess what I learned to do all came from the ninjas of feudal Japan. Among other things I learned to sleep on my left side in case someone tries to stab me in the heart while I'm sleeping. I also learned that I can make smoke bombs out of a few simple ingredients and tell the time from the dilation of a cat's pupil.