Enter the ancient world of the ninja and experience history at Ninja Kingdom Ise

Enter the ancient world of the ninja and experience history at Ninja Kingdom Ise

At Ninja Kingdom Ise, visitors will enter the intriguing world of the classic Japanese assassins. You will immerse yourself in another time while wearing a ninja costume and being surrounded by traditional buildings that were reconstructed in painstaking detail to create the illusion of being in feudal Japan. The experience includes training in the use of various ninja weapons, including swords, throwing stars and blowguns. You will also see how the swords are forged and test your skill with traditional wooden bow archery. The wide range of activities to enjoy will give you the chance to be a ninja for a day.

Written by Nathan Raymond
About the Author:
I live in Gifu with my family and I love finding interesting new experiences all over Japan. When fun activities are combined with history and culture, I always come away from the experience with great memories and a better understanding of the country I now call home.

I traveled to Ise by train and arrived at Futaminoura station before heading to Ninja Kingdom Ise to learn about the ancient arts of the ninja. I was excited about the opportunity to learn more about the famous assassins of feudal Japan and try using their traditional weapons. 

When I was younger, I was interested in ninja and had watched many movies in America featuring them. I knew that it was going to be a memorable day and that I would have a chance to try many new activities for the first time. From Futaminoura station, it was about a 15-minute walk to the gates of the kingdom and I could soon see the main gate with bright red doors leading to adventure inside the walls. 

Caption: The traditional main entrance filled me with anticipation.

Once inside, the first thing I had to do was change from my street clothes into a ninja costume like the ones I had seen in movies. There were various styles to choose from and sizes to fit visitors of any age or build. I chose a simple black style that most closely matched my image of what a true ninja would wear. Once I was in the outfit, I let myself start drifting in time to travel back to the time of ancient Japan.

Caption: I was in character with my ninja clothes and ready to start the activities.

The Ninja Kingdom Ise staff members were all wearing ninja costumes in various colors and it was easy to imagine that I had left the modern world and traveled back in time. They also had a lot of positive energy and made each step of the explanations and activities fun.  

Caption: My trainers showed me how to wield a sword properly.

My first activity was to practice sword fighting and work on my combat skills. It was exhilarating to hold the mock sword and square off against the staff in the play battles. I made sure to maintain my focus and listen to the experts as they showed me the proper grip and technique. 

Caption: Once the training was complete, it was time to battle.

The sword fighting activity was intense and fun. The staff are clearly skilled with their swords and they were great teachers. I enjoyed the challenge of competing one-on-one and improving my skills as each battle progressed. This activity was strenuous and I could feel my efforts in my arms and in my lungs. Thanks to the staff, it was a perfect start to the day of ninja training.

Caption: The staff challenged and supported me as I improved my skills.

The second training that I tried was using the most well-known of ninja weapons, the shuriken (throwing stars). This is the weapon most westerners would think of when ninja come to mind and I was looking forward to seeing if I could throw them accurately.

At first, it was difficult to hit the targets and throw the shuriken smoothly. However, after some great tips from my patient and kind instructors, I was able to improve quickly and hit a few of my intended targets. The feeling of throwing the metal stars with my fingers made me feel like a real assassin and it took me back to my childhood when I used to watch martial arts movies.

Caption: The large characters create a feeling of movement in the writing.

The next area we entered was the Martial Arts Hall where the walls are adorned with large kanji (traditional Chinese characters) that were beautifully written on the walls in sweeping black strokes. 

In this room, I had the opportunity to hold a real sword and feel the weight and power of it. The combination of the room’s design and the feeling of the heavy metal weapon in my hand created a feeling of history that I felt deep inside myself. It was a special moment and one of the highlights of my day.

Caption: The staff prepared my horse for riding.

After the weapons experiences, I was going to feel what it was like to be a military leader in feudal Japan. Important people often traveled on horseback and I would have the chance to ride a beautiful white and gray horse in my traditional clothes around the castle courtyard in the sunshine.

Caption: I enjoyed the sunshine on the back of my horse.

I had been a long time since I rode a horse and I was glad to have the opportunity at the Ninja Kingdom. The staff prepared everything and helped me mount my horse before I took my ride around the grounds. My horse was calm and friendly and it was a nice relaxing experience to sit high atop the beast and feel like a VIP.

Caption: The staff were wonderful trainers and guides for the day.

I had an amazing day of activities and adventure living the life of a ninja for a day. The weapons training was something that brought out the little boy in me and I loved getting to test my skills with each item. I really prefer this kind of interactive historical experience to visiting a traditional museum, because it allows me to actually feel the past.

In addition to the ninja experiences, the kingdom also has a wide range of traditional gourmet food options and I had a delicious meal after my activities. There is also an onsen where guests can relax in the steaming baths, but I will have to check them out when I come back in the future with my family. For anyone looking for an exciting hands-on experience of living history, the Ninja Kingdom Ise is an amazing place to visit. 

Tourist attractions covered by this article