There are probably a lot of people who long to become ninjas after seeing Japanese films and animated movies featuring ninjas clad in black, throwing shuriken (small star-shaped edged weapon) and using their ninja fighting skills. So, here are five spots in Japan where anybody can experience being a ninja.
1. Ninja Trick House in Tokyo (Tokyo)
The Ninja Trick House in Tokyo is located in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku. This is a place where you can enjoy the heart-thumping and thrilling experience of being a ninja right in the heart of the city.
Once you pass through the torii (Shinto shrine archway) that has been built at the entrance, then you will hit the house where ninjas await your visit. Children and adults can enjoy the many programs that are held at the dojo (hall for martial arts training) and the “karakuribeya” (room full of devices and tricks) in this facility. At the dojo, guests will get to experience touching Japanese swords (imitation swords), ninja swords, “makibishi” (caltrop, or a spiked device used to maim horses) and other weapons, as well as throw shuriken and try fencing, all under the guidance of a ninja. Meanwhile, in the karakuribeya, guests will have a lot of fun searching for surprising secrets that have been hidden to protect the ninja from enemy invasion!
※Explanations in simple English are available
Admission fee: 1,000 JPY (incl. tax)
2. Ise-Azuchimomoyama Bunkamura (Mie)
Located in Ise, Ise-Azuchimomoyama Bunkamura is a place that is inspired by the history and culture of the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568 - 1600). This period theme park that was built on a village resembling the streets and castle from that era is home to a theater where ninjas and samurai warriors perform funny and moving shows.
The Ise-Azuchimomoyama Bunkamura has many interactive facilities that guests will surely enjoy, including the Iga Trick Maze where guests have to find the tricks and devices of ninjas in order to escape, and the Ninja Fortress that will test the guests’ ability to make it past various obstacles such as the shaking hallways and looming walls. You can even play games that target enemies by using ninja’s weapons such as the shuriken and blowpipe.
Pass (admission into the village + Yuryo-kan (paid hall) ticket): 3,900 JPY for Adults (ages 18 and above), 2,500 JPY for Juniors (ages 12 – 17), and 2,000 JPY for Children (ages 11 and under) (all rates include taxes)
3. Kids’ Ninja Village (Nagano)
Kids’ Ninja Village is a theme park that is located in Togakushi that is also known as the home of the Togakushi School of Ninja. This is a spot where you can rent ninja costumes (400 JPY for children and 800 JPY for adults), so you can play and have fun while looking like a true ninja.
This theme park is filled with fun attractions and events, including the Ninja Field Athletics where 20 ninja wannabes can try such skills as “water walking” that will teach them move through water without getting wet, throwing shuriken and using blowpipes, and thrilling ninja shows!
You can purchase various ninja goods at the Ninja Daimon shop near Nagano Station. This establishment also offers interactive ninja-related activities, so please drop in.
Sarutobi ticket (admission into the village + 6 coupons for attractions/facilities): 1,850 JPY for adults and 1,630 JPY for children (all rates include taxes)
4. Koka Ninja Village (Shiga)
Koka Ninja Village, in the area of origin for the Koka School of Ninja, is also a recommended spot if you are interested in ninjas.
Surrounded by a virgin forest, this is a village filled with the atmosphere of a hidden retreat from long ago that is dotted with spots where disciples can train to become ninjas. At the Ninja Dojo, those who have passed nine tests, including stonewall climbing, tightrope walking and water walking, are presented with the “Menkyokaiden” (full mastership) scroll! There are also costumes that can be rented (610 JPY for children and 1,030 JPY for adults) to give guests the feeling of being a true ninja in training.
Admission fee (admission into the village + museum + house of tricks): 1,030 JPY for adults, 820 JPY for middle to high school students, 730 JPY for elementary school children, and 520 JPY for infants (all rates include taxes)
5. Ninja Museum of Iga Ryu (Mie)
The Ninja Museum of Iga Ryu is located in Iga, known as the origin of the Iga School of Ninja.
Inside this facility, you can tour the Iga Ryu Ninja Residence that is loaded with various traps and tricks, and watch the spectacular Ninja Show (separate fees apply). In the Ninja Experience Hall, shuriken, and more than 400 other ninja tools are on display. You can definitely try to use these tools after you have learned about them. There is also a shop selling original ninja merchandise, and you can buy their goods as souvenir and memento of your visit.
Admission fee: 756 JPY for adults and 432 JPY for children (all rates include taxes)
All the spots on this list are places where children and adults are sure to enjoy. Don’t you want to transform into a ninja and try that cool pose?
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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