YOU CAN EDIT THIS PAGE! Just click any blue "Edit" link and start writing!


From Wikitravel
Revision as of 03:00, 25 April 2007 by The229er (talk | contribs) (Get around)
Jump to: navigation, search

Kōka (甲賀市) is a city in Shiga prefecture, Japan.


Kōka is well known for its ninja history (Kōga ninja clan), unique ceramics and position on the Tokaido Road. The Kōga ninja clan were rivals of the nearby Iga ninjas. Unlike the Iga ninja, whose power was well-known, the Kōga clan are said to have used stealth and deception to mask their size and power, creating fake rivals for themselves. In 1581, the two clans joined forces against Oda Nobunaga, but were defeated by Nobunaga's overwhelming forces, and the surviving members of the Kōga ninja went into retreat.

The ceramics produced in Kōka, known as Shigaraki-yaki, have been prized across Japan for centuries. Today you will see many small pottery shops lining the streets near Shigaraki Station.

The Tokaido Road was for centuries the main route from Kyoto to Edo (present day Tokyo). The road passes through the heart of Kōka, and two famous rest stations, Tsuchiyama and Minakuchi, are located here.

In 2004 the towns of Minakuchi, Shigaraki, Tsuchiyama, Kōga and Kōnan merged to form Kōka City.

Get in

Kōka has five stations on the JR Kusatsu Line. The largest station, Kibukawa, is about a 45 minute ride from Kyoto.

From JR Osaka or Kyoto Station, get on any regular, rapid or special rapid train headed for Kusatsu, Yasu, Maibara, Nagahama or Tsuruga. Get off the train at Kusatsu. From Kyoto this takes about 15-20 minutes. Do not exit Kusatsu station, and transfer to any train bound for Kibukawa or Tsuge (Keep in mind that trains bound for Tsuge will stop at all stations in Koka City, while trains bound for Kibukawa will only stop at Kibukawa). The train from Kusatsu to Kibukawa takes about 25 minutes.

Get around

Along with the JR train line, Koka has 4 stops on the Omi Railway and 5 stops on the Shigaraki Kogen Railway. Both of these railways can be accessed at JR Kibukawa Station. Koka also has an extensive bus network, with many buses departing from Kibukawa Station.


  • Ninjyutsu Yashiki (Ryuhoji Konan-cho, Koka-shi; 9:00am-4:30pm, closed 12/27-1/1. Admission ¥500 adults, ¥300 children ages 6-12.) Ninjas had to sleep somewhere; this normal-looking old Japanese house has all of the trapdoors, fake walls and other gadgetry that a ninja would need to feel right at home. Take the Kusatsu Line to JR Konan station. It's about 30 minutes away by foot.
  • Ninja Village (394 Oki Koka-cho, Koka-shi; 9:00am-5:00pm, closed Mondays and 12/27-1/1. Admission ¥1000 adults, ¥800 children ages 13-18, ¥700 ages 6-12, ¥500 ages 3-6.) As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a ninja, and this is that village. Facilities include a Ninjustsu museum, another ninja house, and a "shuriken school". Ninja uniforms are available for trying on and trying out on an obstacle course with walls and ropes. Kids receive a scroll certificate for completing the day's ninja lessons.
  • Minakuchi Castle [1] was built in 1634 as a way-station for Tokugawa Iemitsu in his travels between Tokyo and Kyoto. The current reconstruction dates from 1991. It's on the Omi Tetsudo Line, a ten minute walk from Minakuchi Jonana station.






Get out

Iga is the other ninja hot-spot in Japan, and isn't far away.

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!