Trip to Shigaraki and Koga -Part1-

Posted December 5th, 2011 in Japan No Comments »

As it was D’s birthday, my dad and brother took us to one of the most historical cities in Shiga –  Shigaraki and Koga.  Shigaraki is famous for its pottery and stoneware (wiki), and Koga is an area where ninja used to live in old era (wiki).  The purpose of going there was to have matsutake (the most expensive, the most delicious, the most rare mushroom in Japan) dishes in Shigaraki, and visit ninja house in Koga.

First, we stopped at one of Shigaraki-ware store in Shigaraki.  There’re so many shops selling stonewares in this area.  The most common Shigaraki-yaki is tanuki (racoon dog), but there are many more…  including koalas and frogs.

The small ones are around ¥3000, and the big ones are around ¥400,000.  I’m not sure how much the biggest one (around 3M) is…  I don’t think anyone can bring it home!

The souvenir shop sells very cute souvenirs…  tanuki-shaped sweets and chocolates.

After having browse around this shop, we still had time until our Matsutake lunch reservation at a restaurant, so we headed to Koga (Kouka).  It was just 10 minutes drive from Shigaraki.

I remember coming here when I was little.  My dad took us here.  And, I remembered it was a big area which has lots of trick inside the houses which ninja used to use when enemies attacked them.  But, actually, this ninja palace is just someone’s house.  It’s bit hard to find….

There’re some other tourists visiting here when we arrived.  We paid the entrance fee, and had browse inside.

You can hire ninja costume (¥500 for 10 minutes).

You can relax here and have hot green tea.

You can practice throwing shuriken) here 🙂

Many ninja dolls inside the house….  They freaked me out.

The tools and sword ninja used to use were on display.

The owner of this house started talking about ninja, and showing the tricks inside the house.  I couldn’t take photos, but they’re pretty cool.  Many pitfalls and hidden panic rooms.  And, after hearing the story of ninja, I found that ninjas were not like what I imagined at all.  They didn’t kill people for no reasons –  what they did was mostly just escape from enemies.   It was so interesting to see inside the pitfall and underground tunnel.  (website)

After this, we headed to Shigaraki again to have Matsutake….


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