The original castle was constructed in 1585 but was destroyed in 1612 by a rainstorm, and it was never rebuilt. The castle that you see today was actually funded by a resident of Iga Ueno. It was built in 1935 completely out of wood. Compared to other castles, Iga Ueno castle has less artifacts inside and is more of an observation area to view the city however, it's proximity to the ninja museum makes it a convenient stop after seeing the museum, and the area around the castle is popular for picnics. There are food stalls in the area where you can buy food and enjoy the view of the castle while you eat.
The entrance fee is 500 yen for adults and 200 yen for children.
Every year in late October, Iga Ueno hosts the Tenjin Festival, which is their danjiri festival (a traditional Japanese festival originally performed as a type of prayer for good harvests). During the rest of the year however, you can view the danjiri floats and learn about the festival at the Danjiri Museum!
In the museum you can watch a video that features not only the danjiri festival's history, but also other important parts of Iga Ueno's history. The highlight of the museum are the elaborate danjiri floats themselves, which are arranged in a recreated scene of the festival. There are also old demon masks dating back to the Edo Period (1600-1800s), which were used in the Demon Procession of the celebration. Children can collect stamps in the museum and if they get them all, they can receive a small present. You can also dress up in the festival outfits to take a picture for free.
The entry fee is 500 yen for adults and 300 yen for children.
Iga Ueno is the founding city of Ninjutsu, the ninja art of stealth, one of the two ninja schools. To keep the spirit of ninja alive, they have created a museum to educate visitors about the lives of ninja. There are three parts to the museum. First is the museum itself. Inside the museum, you can see ninja weapons, watch a video about ninja, see ninja outfits, and view other interesting things used by ninja, such as the special shoes they used to creep through moats to sneak into castles.
Another part of the museum is the small recreation of a ninja house. This house was built to show visitors the specially designed ninja homes. They will show you trap doors, secret spy areas, hidden compartments for weapons and special items and more. Children are encouraged to try to use the hidden passage like a ninja. In fact, it may be worth mentioning that the museum was made for children however, I think anyone interested in ninja will enjoy the ninja museum, and there are small English explanations, although it is easy to see what they are trying to show you!
Finally, there are demonstrations. These demonstrations will show you various weapons used by ninjas and they will then use them as a part of a performance. It's very fun, educational, and impressive! After the demonstration is over, for 200 yen, visitors can try their hands at using the shiriken (throwing stars). You get five throws for every 200 yen, and if you manage to hit the center of the target, you get a free ninja weapon toy set!
The museum entrance fee is 700 yen, and the show costs 200 yen (additional 200 yen if you choose to try throwing the shiriken after the show).
The castle of Ueno (上野城; -jō) 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.
Hours of business: daily from 9am-5pm
Entrance fee: adult 500 Yen, child 200 Yen