Renowned worldwide as masters of stealth combat, Ninja are a staple of martial arts movies and comics but also a very real part of Japanese history. Although there is no doubt that they trained and practiced as covert warriors in feudal Japan, Ninja also fulfilled other important roles as spies, inspectors and advisors.
There remains in Tokyo a clan whose Ninja heritage dates back to 1583, when they pledged their allegiance to Ieyasu Tokugawa (not long before his rise to power as Shogun in 1603). They served the Shogunate until its collapse in 1868, and the clan has continued to pass down the philosophies and techniques of its ancestors to the present day.
Into Japan are able to offer visits to the clan’s Tokyo Dojo for a 2-hour session covering the various aspects of Ninja training, including the spiritual side of Ninja, such as meditation, ancestor veneration and the concept of Ku (“no-self”). You will be able to dress in authentic Ninja costume and will study and handle a variety of distinctive Ninja weapons such as throwing stars and blowguns, as well as practice Ninja techniques such as stealthy steps, hardened hands and the “inner eye”.
Talk to us if you’d like to include this unique opportunity as part of your trip to Japan!
Yu from the Tokyo office and I went along to try out the ninja experience in August 2017. Not knowing quite what to expect from the experience, we were both were in for a real treat, and an unforgettable afternoon! To begin our experience, we were ushered into a completely dark room, and promptly instructed to remove our shoes and leave our belongings, and kneel in the centre of the tatami-floor space. As the experience leader lit some candles, it became clear we were in the presence of two other ninja, who suddenly sprang into life as they silently moved around the dojo. Over the next two hours, we were taught how to move and think as ninjas do, controlling both our bodies and minds, as well as learning about the history of ninjas in Japan. Although both the ninjas spoke Japanese, the leader expertly translated throughout to give us a completely seamless experience. It’s difficult to divulge too much about this wonderful experience without spoiling the surprise, but any clients who choose to partake in the Ninja Experience are certainly in for a real treat! Read more about my experience HEREReviewed by Hannah