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Kakuma Gorge : 角間渓谷

Mythical Ninja Training Ground – the Sarutobi Boulders

Eastern Nagano


According to legend, the famous lord of Ueda Castle, Sanada Yukimura, had a group of trusted ninja bodyguards known as the Ten Braves. Chief among them was Sarutobi Sasuke, with ‘saru’ meaning monkey, and ‘tobi’ to jump or leap. In the hills above eastern Ueda is the rugged Kakuma Gorge, home to a hot spring inn and a temple carved into the base of a cliff, as well as a myriad of mythical places such as the Ogre Fortress and the Sarutobi Boulders. The latter is said to be where the famed ninja Sarutobi Sasuke trained to perfect his acrobatic climbing and leaping skills.\r\nAcross the Kakuma River from the Iwayakan (onsen ryokan) base, a steep set of stone stairs climbs to the Iwaya Kannon, a temple astoundingly carved into the solid rock at the base of an imposing cliff. From there, a path follows a precipitous ridge to a pair of massive boulders separated by a narrow gap. A sign proudly proclaims this to be where Sarutobi Sasuke, one of the Sanada 10 Braves, worked to acquire his ninja techniques. One can imagine Sarutobi defying gravity by bracing his arms and legs against the boulders to climb up the crevice, sort of like ninja parkour.


Access / Location

By Train
From Ueda Station(JR Hokuriku(Nagano) Shinkansen), take the Sanada Line Bus to Sanada Bus Stop, then 3.4 km walk. Or by taxi, approximately 30 minutes.
By Car
From Ueda Sugadaira IC, 20 minutes via Route 144
Sanadamachi Osa, Ueda 386-2201

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