Many real ninja from history hail from this remote area of Japan, where they trained to carry out missions ranging from espionage to assassination.
To see how they did it and whether you've got what it takes to be a ninja yourself, the Ninja Museum of Igaryu is the place to go.
The museum is located in the city of Iga, just north of Iga Ueno Castle , Ueno Park and the Basho Memorial Museum. It's a 10-minute walk from Uenoshi Station on the Iga Line.
JR can get you from Osaka, Kyoto or Nagoya to Iga-Ueno Station on the Iga Railway. Alternatively, take a Kintetsu to Iga-Kambe Station, also on the Iga Railway, from Nagoya and Osaka-Namba. From one of these two waypoints, take a train to Uenoshi Station to reach downtown Iga. The journey from Osaka, Kyoto or Nagoya takes between 90 minutes and two hours in total.
Jinichi Kawakami, the honorary director of the museum, is the 21st head of Igaryu ninjutsu
Over 400 ninja tools are displayed in the museum
The Ninja House has all sorts of astounding secrets for you to discover: traps, fake hallways, stashed weapons, escape routes and more. But you'll need a guide to escort you through safely.
After touring the Ninja House, head to the Ninja Experience and Ninja Tradition halls. These are a little more educational than the house, but fascinating for any fan of martial arts or anything related to ninja and espionage.
You'll find plenty of intriguing ninja equipment, including real ninja stars, blow darts, blades and other exciting weapons. You can learn about ninja techniques and try out some of their gear.
To see specially trained performers demonstrate incredible ninja moves and tricks, plan your visit to catch one of the regular shows. Shows are held most Saturdays and Sundays but only sporadically on weekdays. Make sure to check the schedule on the museum website before you go.
You've come all this way, so you might as well see how you look in a ninja outfit. There's a shuriken throwing range for you to test your skill with ninja stars.
If you're hardcore, personal training in ninjutsu is available from Kawakami Jinichi, "the last living ninja." Book in advance. Visit the museum's website to find out how.
Stop by the museum shop to pick your ninja-themed shirts, toys, tools, costumes and more.