Mount Misen, Floating Torii Gate & Hungry Deer | Miyajima, JapanJanuary 9, 2019
I don't know if I have mentioned this anywhere on my travel blog, but we planned our trip to Japan a year and a half in advance. I'm talking booking hotels, transportation, even writing down different train routes along with prices to the all the places we wanted to go. We wanted to do all the big touristy places like Tokyo Disneyland or visiting Shrines in Kyoto. But we also wanted to incorporate places in Japan that were less traveled.
Which is what brought us to the charming city of Nabari and our eventual training as ninjas. But we will talk more about Ninja School later. I want to talk more about Nabari. Narabi is located in the central Mie Prefecture, east of Osaka. Due to its proximity to main cities such as Osaka and Nara, Nabari is known as a "bedroom community", a city where people live, sleep, and eat but work somewhere else.
Pictured Above: Japanese Garden in the center of our Airbnb
Accommodations: we originally were looking for places to stay near Iga, the home of the famous Iga Ninja. After searching with no result, we broadened our search and found this lovely Airbnb. The price per night is very reasonable and even includes breakfast. The guesthouse is a traditional Japanese-style house which is also connected to a cafe, which the host, Yuya, also owns. He was a great host and I highly recommend staying at this Airbnb.
Pictured Above: Our breakfast at the Airbnb, cooked by Yuya.
The ninja school in Iga was definitely a journey. We were the only ones on the train. The school is located near the Akame Falls, which is much more popular in the fall as the Japanese Maples change colors. We came in the spring, and the place was nearly deserted. Also, you can't exactly use Google Maps to get there. I had to research different websites to figure out the best route (pictured right). Times may vary depending on the season. Like always when traveling to parts unknown, be sure to bring cash!
We waited about an hour and a half for the bus to come. At first I thought it was a school bus because it was decorated with drawings, but I suppose to local bus allows the school children to decorate. The bus driver was very informative and gave us the rest of the bus schedule for the rest of the day.He took us up the mountain and dropped us off at the only bus stop at Akame Falls.
Ninja Training at Akame Falls is open all year round. 1,700 JPY for children under 12, 1,550 JPY for children under 6, and 2,000 JPY for adults. All these choices include the ninja outfit and admission to the falls. You can also request for the ninja outfit to be left out for 7,000 JPY less. They hold two training a day, at 10:30AM and 1:30PM. The training consists of 13 obstacles where you learn essential ninja skills
After we completed our ninja training, we were presented with certified parchments that state you are now a trained ninja and may come back to the ninja training school to try out the obstacles (with the exception of the shuriken throwing). Sadly, the last bus back to the train station was about to arrive and we did not have time to explore the Akame Falls.
We ended our day with a restaurant we had been eyeballing in Nabari. I'm still not quite sure what the name of the restaurant but everyone was 280 JPY with 300 JPY highballs! The restaurant was filled with people just getting off of work, still in their business suits and uniforms, just unwinding and drinking beers. I loved the atmosphere and the food was delicious. Can't read Japanese? No worries! They have a tablet that translates the menu into 6 different languages. You can even order from the tablet and keep track of your bill.
Nothing like ending the day with a nice cold highball! Kanpai!