Discover Japan: Odawara Ninja Virtual Tour
Travelling to Japan during the spring is an ideal time to discover the pretty cherry blossom trees in bloom. Odawara Castle has an annual Cherry Blossom Festival however, with current travel restriction still in effect in 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic, international travel will not be an option for many.
There is, fortunately, the opportunity to experience that slice of Japan in the spring through a virtual tour from the Ninja Museum on the grounds of Odawara Castle. With easy access from Tokyo to Odawara Castle, the castle is one of the top attractions to visit within the area. Odawara Castle was historically a power base for the Hejo Clan who were assisted by the Fuma Ninja Clan.
The virtual tour is live streamed and provides that background and insight into the Fuma Ninja Clan. The tours are presented in both Japanese and English with Sensei Hiroshi leading the demonstration.
During the demonstration, the history of the Ninja role was explained at first to provide actual details of the training involved compared to the romanticised versions of Ninjas gracing many film screens. Quite often comparisons are made between the Samurai and Ninjas but after learning more details of the Ninja role, it appears that they are more powerful than the Samurai.
It was certainly fascinating to discover the extent that meditation is involved in the Ninja training and there were techniques to be tried at home as well. Sensai Hiroshi explained that the Ninjas training would assist them in avoiding conflict and gathering information skillfully. Throughout the presentation a series of 6 tools vital to the practice of the Ninja were also demonstrated. Amongst these essential tools were a Ninja throwing star and an impressive looking Samurai sword was also on display.
The Ninja Virtual Tour is organised by the Odawara Tourism Association and it is live streamed on Facebook via a private group. The tour lasts for approximately 45 minutes and is currently occurring on selected Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as a fun and informative event for all.
Tickets for the tour can be booked here
*A complimentary Ninja Tour ticket was provided for the purposes of this article