The Iga region, surrounded by nine villages in four directions is called “The Ninja village”. Situated on the town’s northern hill, the three chalky white levels of Iga-Ueno castle create a beautiful image in the quiet surrounding area. The castle carries the elegant name of “The White Phoenix”.
In 1585 the Iga region was ruled by Tsutsui Sadatsugu, who built the front gate and the three levels of the castle tower. After Toyotomi Hideyoshi died, Tokugawa Ieyasu won the battle of Sekigahara and established his reign as the successor to the Toyotomi government.
In 1608 due to Sadatsugu’s misgovernment there was a change of ranks and Todo Takatora was moved from Iyoimabari castle, expanding his sphere of influence by becoming the lord of Iga and Ise castles. Todo extended Tsutsui’s castle by building a 30 meter high wall encircling the main tower and began work on building five levels to the castle tower. On September 2nd 1612, before the five levels could be completed a rainstorm destroyed the tower. It was also at that time that Toyotomi died, preventing the continuation of construction. Jodai Karo became the new administrator of the castle.
The present castle tower was rebuilt in 1935 by a local resident, Kawasaki Katsu, who used his own money to reconstruct the castle tower purely from wood. From that point on it became known as the Iga Industry and Culture castle. In 1967, the castle grounds were designated a national historic site and in 1985, the castle tower was designated an Iga City cultural asset.
On the first Floor the following items are on display:
Iga pottery (works from the Tsutsui era, Todo era as well as works from contemporary artists).
Armor, helmets, and weaponry.
Tsutsui Water Container: This container was made during the Tenshou period (1573 to 1592) when Tsutsui Sadatsugu moved from Yamato Kooriyama. The container was unearthed at the spot where Tsutsui’s tower stood.
Toukan style helmet (a designated Mie prefecture cultural asset)
The helmet was given to Todo Takatora from Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and then from Todo Takatora it was passed on to Todo Yoshishige who is said to have worn the helmet at the battle of Osaka (Osaka Natsu no jin).
Second Floor exhibits some articles from the late Kawasaki Katsu who reconstructed the castle tower.
(Pictures, writing scrolls and Iga pottery)
The Todo Family crest (Todo Ivy) (Feudal Lord’s table for eating, tiered lacquer ware boxes for serving food)
On third Floor you have an unobstructed view of the city below the castle.
A large mural of the famous people that celebrated the reconstruction of the castle tower (1 mz). The paneled ceiling is decorated with 46 large sheets of paper.
Yokoyama Taikan (1868-1958)
Japanese painter and member of the Imperial Art association, assisted in founding the Imperial Art Institute Awarded the Order of Culture in 1937.
Kawai Gyokudo (1873-1957)
Japanese painter, educated at the Tokyo School of Art. Became a member of the Imperial Art Institute and was awarded the Order of Culture in 1940.
Kawasaki Katsu (1880-1949)
Born in Ueno, he was elected to the town’s general assembly in the 11th election. In 1935, he used his own money to reconstruct the castle tower and in 1942, he constructed “Basho Hall” to publicly honor the famous poet, Matsuo Basho.
The castle is situated in a large park with an abundance of Cherry trees. There is also a “Ninja” museum and dojo and you can try your hand at trowing the Shuriken. During the season there is a “Ninja Demonstration” in the Ninjutsu arena! Have fun!