Fight Impressively Realistic Battles in a Ninja Costume at VR Ninja Dojo in Tokyo
Change into a ninja costume and enter the world of ninja in a combination of real and virtual! Throw shuriken (throwing stars) at the enemies that attack you or slice them with a katana (a kind of long Japanese sword)... Anyone can feel like a ninja if they fight with all their might! This article will showcase the VR Ninja Dojo in Kanda, Tokyo, which provides an experience everyone should try.
What Is VR Ninja Dojo?
VR Ninja Dojo is an entertainment facility that offers a ninja experience using virtual reality for foreign tourists visiting Japan. The dojo opened in Uchi-Kanda, in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on March 18th, 2019 (Mon).
Changing into ninja clothes is already exciting, but in addition, a full-scale ninja training session can be experienced in the real world first, including fencing, martial arts, shuriken throwing, and ninpo (the art of performing various techniques while chanting special words)! Listen well to the teachings of the instructor and memorize them - they will be very helpful against the terrifying enemies you will fight alone in the VR world after the practice session.
The VR experience can be done by kids from 7 years old and above. Younger children can play with toy katana in the same room as their parents without wearing the VR headset. A cool instructor dressed as a ninja will guide you, so it will be an exciting experience for both adults and children!
*Ninja: It is told that they existed between the 14th and 19th centuries, and that they mainly carried out missions to obtain information from the enemy. It is believed that they were a group of people with a wide knowledge in martial arts, the use of fire, sorcery, pharmacy, astronomy, and so forth, but their existence remains shrouded in mystery.
*VR: Abbreviation of "virtual reality". At VR Ninja Dojo, guests can enjoy the sensation of being immersed in a digitally created world using VR goggles, which give a 360-degree field of vision.
The Whole Experience, as Told by a Participant
First, the Reception Desk
When entering the VR Ninja Dojo, the staff will ask for your foot size and give you a pass holder and tabi (footwear similar to socks). The code name written on the pass is also the name the instructor will use to call you during the training.
It is difficult to take the costume off once you wear it, so it is advisable to visit the toilet during this step.
Changing into the Ninja Costume
Wicker clothes hampers are handed out after you take off your shoes and step into the tatami mat area. Inside, you'll find a ninja costume! After learning how to wear your costume from the staff, change into it. As a side note, the costume can be worn above your clothes, however, if you have to take off your stockings or anything else, you can change in another room. You will move a lot and feel hot during the ninja experience, so it is recommended to wear the costume over light clothes. The accessory case to store your cellphone is especially colorful! Pick the color you want and attach it to your costume's sash so that you don't lose it.
Lockers are available in case you have valuables you want to protect.
After changing your clothes, you can take photos of your ninja appearance! You can pose in front of the vermilion walls, take photos with dolls and stuffed toys, and enjoy yourself as much as you want. If you ask the staff to take photos for you, they will gladly help you.
Start the Training!
Once the instructor appears, the training will start. The first thing you learn is how to handle a katana. That being said, the sword you will use does not have a blade, but just the hilt. Since even a fake katana could be dangerous if handled by a beginner, the training in the dojo takes place with a VR sword. The blade will appear in the VR world that you will experience later.
Learn how to properly grip a katana, raise it above your head, step forward with one foot, and attack at once with a shout! If the usual lack of physical exercise strikes and you feel short of breath after practicing a few times, the instructor will encourage you to continue on. Practice how to avoid the attacks of enemies, turn the katana upside down and perform ninja techniques, or throw shuriken.
This training alone is a worthwhile ninja experience, but the more immersive VR experience is waiting after this!
It Is Time to Fight! The VR Experience
The VR experience can be entered one at a time, so the other participants have to wait while looking at the monitor outside. However, the waiting time is not boring at all! The monitor broadcasts what the person in the VR space is seeing and their movements, so anyone can tell them where the enemies are. Everyone can enjoy themselves together while shouting "Right! Right!" or "They are behind you!", and so on.
When your turn comes, wear all the equipment - including the VR headset - and practice your movements inside the actual VR space. While recalling the training, you can kill enemies, throw shuriken, avoid big rocks, and shout out the ninja spells you learned. In particular, when you shout the "katon no jutsu" chant, fire will jet out towards the direction you are facing, and you will feel like a dragon! Once you have thoroughly tried it out, the actual battle can start!
*Katon no Jutsu: A technique to hide and run away from the enemy using fire.
VR Mastership Test
This is the moment to show the results of your training! After the VR drill, the actual examination will start. At first, enemies can be defeated one by one, but their number will quickly grow, so you'll soon be focused on defeating the ones coming closest to you. Furthermore, the enemies, similar to zombies, are unexpectedly scary! They attack by jumping on you, so they feel more real than when you see them through the monitor.
While you are busy killing the enemies that approach you, a giant last boss monster will appear in front of you. If you already have a lot of damage from the previous fight, this formidable enemy can defeat you in one blow.
After the experience, it will feel like you barely escaped alive. You might have sweated a lot, but the satisfaction after the battle will be indescribable. This sense of realism and the exhilarating feeling of actually moving your body is something that cannot be experienced with normal video games.
Take a Commemorative Photo and Watch a Demonstration from the Teacher
After the VR experience, you can take off the equipment, face the camera, and take a photo. All the participants in the photo below have a lovely smile! You are sure to be overflowing with satisfaction.
After everyone finishes their turn, the instructor will do a grand demonstration. As you might expect, unlike a beginner that makes a lot of useless movements, the instructor can defeat enemies with calm yet precise movements. The enemies far away will be brought down one by one using the shuriken, preventing any from getting near the instructor. While the participants feel the difference between this performance and theirs, in which they were surrounded by enemies, the teacher will defeat the last boss in the blink of an eye, clearing the game with a high score. It's amazing to witness!
A Scroll-type Certificate with a QR Code for a Video
After safely finishing the VR experience, you can go back to the previous room and change back into your clothes. You will then receive a scroll with the commemorative photo that was taken earlier. Moreover, inside the scroll, there is also a QR code. When scanned with a phone, it brings you to a video of yourself fighting against the enemies! Dressing like a ninja and fighting using VR is a special experience that makes for an amazing story of your vacation in Japan. The photos taken inside the VR space can also be downloaded, so share them on social media and brag to your friends!
Locations That Would Look Great on Social Media!
If you want to upload photos on social media, inside the dojo there are many spots that are perfect for shooting pictures! For example, on the first floor, there are fluffy stuffed cat toys, paper umbrellas, figures that look like real ninjas, and more, that can be used to take photos that will definitely make everyone want to give you a "like"! On the second floor, there are also different types of armor that can be used freely for pictures.
After the Ninja Dojo, Try Japanese Food in Kanda!
After sweating in the dojo and while you still feel like a ninja, why not try some traditional Japanese food? In Kanda, there are many old shops, with some of them retaining an exterior that shows the history of the place. These are the 3 most recommended eateries among all the other shops there!
Kanda Matsuya is a soba (buckwheat noodles) restaurant with an exterior that's overflowing with Japanese charm. The boisterous interior has a design that will make you feel the history of the place. The main feature of this restaurant's soba is its chewy and smooth texture. Many of the dishes on this restaurant's menu are popular, including the Mori-soba (650 JPY (incl. tax)), cold soba eaten by dipping the noodles in sauce; the Goma-soba (800 JPY (incl. tax)), which has a rich sesame flavor; and the Kashiwa Nanban (1,000 JPY (incl. tax)), eaten with a hot soup that contains chicken meat. Choose the one you like the most.
Kikukawa Kanda Branch
Kanda Kikukawa is a long-standing eel restaurant with a traditional taste that has remained the same for 70 years. The eel, plump and tender, with a light grilled aroma, is fatty and very appetizing when combined with the strong sauce. Eel is very nutritious and will help take away all the tiredness from the ninja training. Their Unaju - eel served over rice - also comes with a clear broth and pickled vegetables, and starts from 3,650 JPY (excl. tax).
After a traditional Japanese lunch, it's time for Japanese sweets! Oshiruko (a sweet soup made by boiling adzuki beans with sugar) or anmitsu (a jelly-like sweet made with agar-agar and topped with brown sugar syrup) can be enjoyed in Takemura, located in a quaint building. Their Inaka Shiruko (790 JPY) contains grilled mochi inside the soup. The browned part of the mochi is fragrant and matches perfectly with the sweet oshiruko. The Cream Anmitsu (790 JPY) contains ice cream, gyuhi (similar to mochi), and fruits, and its appearance is very cute.
One thing you should definitely try in Takemura is the Sakura-yu (hot water with pickled cherry blossoms inside) that is served before the sweets! The light pink cherry petals dance inside the water and you can smell the cherry aroma gently waft up from the cup. The salt-pickled cherry blossoms are also on sale, so if you like the Sakura-yu, why not purchase them as a souvenir?
VR Ninja Dojo: Access and Other Information
Within a 3-minute walk from JR Kanda Station or a 5-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Kanda Station (Marunouchi Line)
Opening hours: 9:30 am - 10:30 pm (last admission: 8:20 pm)
Time required: 75 to 90 minutes
Price: Starts from 6,500 JPY per person *For people above 7 years old. Younger children can enter for free.
How to make a reservation: Refer to the official homepage
Number of people: Up to 10 people per group
*Currently, this service is only provided in English.
*VR Ninja Dojo is an entertainment facility created for foreigners who visit Japan. In the case that a Japanese person is accompanying a foreign tourist, only the tourist will be charged and the Japanese person will be able to access the experience for free. Groups of only Japanese people need to make a private group reservation.
The ninja world that can be experienced with the newest VR system feels overwhelmingly real! You will definitely be entranced and end up fighting with all your might. If you plan to come to Japan, you should definitely try it out.
*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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