By Sarah Chaney
If you go past Bukko-ji temple on Muromachi Street in Kyoto you will find a sign advertising Ninja Dojo and Store. There is no entrance fee and it's open from 10am to 6pm. It looked interesting, so I decided to peek in.
If you take off your shoes at the front and go up to the second floor, there is an area selling ninja weapons and goods and a space of about 3.5 square meters of tatami mats. Two Americans dressed in ninja outfits were in the middle of being instructed in a stage fight, which I watched for a bit.
On the other side of the room, two targets were leaning against the tatami. The students were trying their hand at throwing ninja stars, called shuriken. The shuriken whistled through the air and struck the target with surprising force.
The teacher also demonstrated how to throw a bamboo skewer, which appeared more difficult for the students to get the hang of. Next up was a ninja blowgun, which they were able to strike the target with with accuracy. The shop also has shuriken made of resin rubber available for children to take part in the experience.
I just recently saw an article featuring Ninja Dojo and Store in Enjoy Kyoto Magazine. The owner, Izo Ichikawa, is said to be a sixth generation Iga Ninja. He conducts his lessons in English. In this area, you can still see traces of Seitoku Elementary School. This school was not a normal school, but one where the art of ninjutsu was taught. Isn’t that interesting? This shop was apparently opened just recently.
While there is no entrance fee, there are various ninja weapons available from 250 yen. They even have Makibishi, which are caltrops — spiked devices to be scattered on the ground to injure enemies.
You can also try a ninja training lesson for 8,000 yen for 60 minutes, or 14,000 yen for two people. For a 120-minute course, it is 14,000 yen for one person, or 26,000 for two. If you are more interested in trying on a ninja costume for a great photo opportunity, you can try that for 4,000 yen. You can also throw fifteen realistic metal ninja stars for 1,000 yen.
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