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Map of Japanese provinces with province highlighted

Iga Province (伊賀国 Iga no kuni ?) was an old province of Japan in the area that is today western Mie Prefecture. Iga bordered on Ise, Ōmi, Yamato, and Yamashiro Provinces.

Contents

Geography

The Iga province is a small mountain ringed basin (the Ueno basin) in the center of Japan's Kansai region, on the island of Honshū.

Iga was one of fifteen ancient provinces which made up the Tōkaidō Region (東海道 ?). This land area was one of five geographical region within what was known as the gokishichidō system -- an organized way of parsing the Japanese islands into five commonly understood elements. The Tōkaidō region was situated along the southeastern edge of Honshū, its name literally means 'Eastern Sea Way'.[1]

The term Tōkaidō also refers to a series of roads that connected the capitals (国府 kokufu) of each of the provinces of the region, including small Iga.[2] Historically, Iga Province was rather inaccessible due to extremely poor road conditions. However, it is now relatively easy to access from nearby Nara and Kyoto, as well as the larger cities of Osaka and Nagoya.

History

Iga-Ueno Castle

Today, much of the history of Iga province can be viewed at various sightseeing locations scattered throughout Mie. The castle town of Ueno was the location of Iga-Ueno Castle.

The Iga Province is particularly famous for its clan of ninja, its most notable member being a samurai, Hattori Hanzō. Both the Iga and Kōka provinces are considered the birthplace of ninjutsu. It was also the birthplace of haiku poet Matsuo Bashō.

During the early Muromachi Period the Iga Province became effectively independent from their feudal rulers and established a form of republic. The Iga Republic was called Iga Sokoku Ikki (伊賀惣国一揆) in Japanese.

In 1581, two years after a failed invasion led by his son, the warlord Oda Nobunaga launched a massive invasion of Iga, attacking from six directions with a force of 40,000 to 60,000 men. After ruthlessly slaughtering great numbers of the inhabitants of the Iga region, Oda Nobunaga then declared a cease-fire which allowed some of the Iga ninja to escape. It was, however, the end of the independent Iga Republic.

Notes

  1. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 57.
  2. ^ Titsingh, p. 57 n1.

References

See also

  • Iga-ryū, the Iga Ninja school of ninjutsu

External links

This article incorporates text from OpenHistory.

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