By Niek Ceylan
In Yamanashi prefecture lies Oshino Ninja Village (Oshino Shinobi-no-sato), a place where you can experience all things ninja.
A bus ride through the lush Yamanashi forests — a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo — will bring you to Oshino Shinobi-no-sato’s entrance.
The sprawling courtyard is equipped with facilities that give you a full ninja experience. There, a maze awaits to see if you have the chops to become a true ninja. Both adults and children can don ninja costumes before undertaking the physical and mental challenges.
Inside the maze, challengers are tasked to crack codes that will showcase ingenuity, and enter a darkroom in a show of courage.
After overcoming the obstacles, you will be treated to a performance by the Oshino Shinobi-no-sato’s staff — their dedication to the art will leave you feeling like time has rewinded back into the feudal era.
By now, your ninja exertions would have left you peckish, so head to the “Wind Flower Snow Moon” restaurant to replenish your strength.
A set menu featuring a variety of fresh vegetables from Yamanashi and a specialty dish called hōtō, which is a noodle dish with a miso base is a popular option. In addition, there are a variety of other Japanese delicacies, as well as the chef's special black curry that can only be found at that restaurant.
After the meal, you might be able to participate in a tea ceremony that is open only to groups. Here, you can taste the beautifully designed Japanese sweets and fruits, complemented by the bitter Japanese tea.
The next time you head to Yamanashi, you may want to take a bus ride to visit Oshino Shinobi-no-sato to experience Japan’s ninja history. Take a break from Mt. Fuji viewing and immerse yourself in the ninja culture!
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