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'Ninja City Station' appears on 'Ninja Line' in Mie Pref.

Members of a ninja performance group pose for a photograph in front of newly nicknamed "Ninja City Station" in the city of Iga, Mie Prefecture, in central Japan on Feb. 22, 2019. (Mainichi/Kazuki Yamazaki)

IGA, Mie -- A station in this central Japan city, which is known as the historical base for ninja, was nicknamed "Ninja City Station" for a tourism promotion on Feb. 22.

Feb. 22 is designated the Day of Ninja, as the date can be read "Nin Nin Nin" in Japanese. Iga has been boosting tourism by linking itself to ninja, having made a declaration as "Ninja City" two years ago. In feudal times the city was the base of a prominent ninja school along with adjacent Koka in Shiga Prefecture.

The actual name of the station is Ueno-shi, which lies on the Iga Line operated by Iga Tetsudo Co. The station is nearest to the Ninja Museum of Igaryu, or the Iga school of ninja, and Iga Ueno Castle. As part of the promotion, the Iga Line was also nicknamed as the "Ninja Line" on the same day.

The railway company is financed by the city and Kintetsu Railway Co. The line runs 16.6 kilometers between Iga-Kanbe Station on the Kintetsu Osaka Line and Iga-Ueno Station on the JR Kansai Line.

A ceremony to reveal a stainless-steel signboard bearing the new station nickname was held at the station on Feb. 22. City mayor Sakae Okamoto and members of the city government appeared in ninja attire.

"I'd like people to directly experience the sacred site of ninja," Okamoto said.

(Japanese original by Yasuhiro Onishi, Iga Local Bureau)

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