By Cathy Cawood
The stealthy mercenaries of feudal Japan, professionals in espionage, sabotage and infiltration, masters of tricks and scheming, ninjas are one of the most interesting cultural features of mystical Japan. With Fujikyu you have now the opportunity to visit a ninja village close to Mount Fuji and see how the covert agents lived and fought. The village is called Shinobi no Sato. Shinobi is a synonym of ninja.
The Ninja Village is a small park area that takes you back to old Japanese times—the times of ninja and samurai and of old Japanese houses with hidden doors and traps. After a walk through the village with an outstanding view of Mount Fuji, you will reach the trick house. For ¥500 (children for ¥400) you can go in and try to find your way out of the house again. The doors to the various rooms are hidden and you have to push objects or duck under furniture. This is not only great for children, also grown-ups can have a lot of fun—especially when you have to squeeze through a wooden box with your backpack and camera and can’t stop laughing.
The whole setup is very detailed and authentic and you can feel the effort people gave to design this house.
Once outside again, you can try to fight like a ninja. Go to the fenced area north of the house and get yourself introduced into the throwing technique of throwing stars, or shuriken. For ¥500 you can get five shuriken and throw them at targets. And I can tell you, it’s not easy. I only hit the target once. (I hit a tree, too, but I’m afraid that didn’t count.)
If you happen to be hungry after the ninja action, you can find a very nice restaurant at the east end of the Ninja Village. They offer great lunch courses for around ¥1800 to ¥2500 that are served in “ninja style” as well. The arrangement of foods and the tableware look really authentic. I tried the lunch course with grilled fish on a skewer, soba, rice, tofu and a small dessert and I enjoyed it so much that I can highly recommend it.
After lunch you can take another stroll through the village and watch the ninjas and samurai. Groups of ninjas show sword fighting and tricks and will afterwards pose for you to take pictures. Before leaving the village, stop at the souvenir shop and get your ninja souvenir! You can choose from sword-umbrellas, ninja mugs, ninja pens and even ninja clothing.
The Ninja Village opened in 2015 and the entrance is ¥700 for adults and ¥400 for children.
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Born and raised in Berlin, Germany, I realized that my hometown is a village when I first came to Tokyo over 10 years ago. I love to experience the world and show people what I discover, so I never travel without my camera. One of my favorite hobbies is getting lost, as I have no sense of direction. But that is how you'll find the best places - and it's a source for your best stories. Other things I like include rollercoasters, thunderstorms, good food and onsen.