Who loves going to a good festival? NileGuide certainly does. Although we normally cover events that are a little more, well, lively in nature (read: violent and dangerous, aggressively competitive, or just plain ridiculous) we are sometimes often overwhelmed by something that’s just. plain. cute. The Iga-Ueno ninja festival is no exception as far as it’s “awwww” factor goes.
But wait, ninja festival? Aren’t ninjas famous the world over for being silent deliverers of death? Yes, it’s true. In fact, Iga — a historic Japanese town nestled in between the sprawling metropolises of Nagoya and Osaka — is considered the traditional home of ninjas. But, as one Guardian reporter found out, most of the ninjas at this particular festival stood less than four feet tall, carried foam swords instead of deadly steel katanas, and were often annoyed at having to “submit to having their masks pulled down and drinking straws thrust into their mouths.”
Yep, children make up the majority of the visitors to the ninja festival, but adults can still find a lot of interest in a this celebrated part of Japanese culture that is centered around a 16th-century castle in Iga and at the Ninja Iga Museum. There are even demonstrations on ninjutsu arts, and mannequins around the festival on which to practice your newfound skills. Although, only the children take the event seriously enough to dress up, and not usually in the traditional color of black or dark blue; but instead in red, orange, or even pink.
The Iga-Ueno ninja festival starts on the first Sunday in April.
Image: glasgow’s finest/Flickr