Susan Spann

Mystery Author

The latest entry in the thrilling 16th century Japanese mystery series, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo!

“Spann once more shows herself as a master storyteller.”–CARA BLACK, New York Times bestselling author of the Aimée Leduc Investigations.

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Betrayal at Iga

Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro’s ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province.

But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans.

With every suspect a trained assassin, and the evidence incriminating not only Hiro’s commander, the infamous ninja Hattori Hanzo, but also Hiro’s mother and his former lover, the detectives must struggle to find the truth in a village where deceit is a cultivated art. As tensions rise, the killer strikes again, and Hiro finds himself forced to choose between his family and his honor.

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  • The Joy of Japanese Cable Cars and Ropeways

    Many Japanese mountains have ropeways (in the U.S., we call them gondolas) or cable cars that carry visitors part way to the summit. The distance between the upper cable car or ropeway station and the peak varies widely, so check the facts before you go.

    The Hakone carries visitors all the way across the top of Owakudani, a live volcano that provides the hot volcanic water for the onsen (hot spring baths) in the Hakone region:


    However, the ropeway in Gifu Park stops about 20 minutes’ uphill walk from Gifu Castle, and several portions of the hike require climbing stairs. That said, the ropeway also offers a spectacular view of the sunset for anyone who rides at the proper time of day:

    Gifu Ropeway Sunset

    Similarly, the Mitake Tozan Railway carries visitors only about 2/3 of the way up Mount Mitake:

    Mitake Tozan Descent

    From the station, it’s still a 30+ minute uphill walk and hike (quite steep in places) to the summit.

    Knowing how far you’ll have to walk from the terminus to the top is important, especially for visitors with limited mobility or strength.

    Cable cars and ropeways are popular with Japanese natives as well as tourists, and often feature pre-recorded narration–usually in English as well as Japanese. The recordings offer details about the ropeway or cable car, the location, and the history of the area.

    Whether you’re an avid hiker or just hoping to see more of Japan’s natural beauty, cable cars and ropeways are fun ways to see breathtaking scenery and experience another side of Japan.