There are many things that draw people to Japan, from pop culture to the traditional tea ceremony. One of the highest on that list is probably those mysterious masters of stealth, the ninja, who have left and indelible impression on millions of people around the world.

While most of us will never get to actually be ninja, it’d be nice if we could at least try it out for a day, right? Obviously, to get the full ninja experience, you’d need to head out to a place like Iga, but if you’re just hanging out in Tokyo for a quick trip, we have a fun compromise for you! Next time you’re sightseeing in Asakusa, try stopping by the Ninja Taiken Dojo.


Asakusa is probably best known for Kaminari-mon and Senso-ji, and the area definitely thrives on sightseers and people seeking some traditional entertainment. But when you’re done paying your respects at the temple and buying souvenirs around Kaminari-mon, there’s a lot more of the area to check out. One popular stop is the Hanayashiki, an amusement park established in 1853. Though the amusement park has quite the history, the shop we recently visited was a newer addition: the Ninja Taiken Dojo.

Located down the street from the main Hanayashi entrance, the Ninja Taiken Dojo offers a variety of ninja-related goods in addition to a “Ninja Experience,” where participants can try four different ninja techniques. Obviously, you’re not going to be learning how to make poison darts, but it’s definitely a fun addition to your sightseeing itinerary.


The experience starts with an introduction on the ninja, going over some facts and myths about the groups. Even for diehard ninja fans, there’s a good chance you’ll learn something new. Once you’ve finished with the introduction presentation, it’s time to start practicing techniques!


The first exercise is drawing and sheathing your sword. The instructor explained that while samurai medium length swords, the ninja used short swords, to make drawing indoors easier. You’ll want to be careful not to look down what sheathing it though! You never know when enemies are waiting to attack an unobservant ninja.


The second exercise is walking quietly. Obviously, you can’t sneak up on someone if you’re making a lot of noise. You’ll also want to stay low, to reduce your visibility. The ninja solved both problems by squatting on their heels and waddling…like a duck, for lack of a better comparison. As silly as it might look (and it looks as silly as you think it does), the technique seemed to work. Again, you’ll need to keep your eyes up, because an inattentive ninja is a ninja without a head!


After waddling and playing with plastic swords, it’s time to conceal yourself. In the Taiken Dojo, they use large tarps with prints to match the walls, but the instructor explained that in reality, they used cloth with branches and other plants stuck to them in the forest. The key to getting through exercise without an angry samurai cutting off your feet is making sure your feet are covered by the tarp. It’s not quite as easy as it sounds!


The final exercise was definitely the most fun: Throwing shuriken. If you’ve never thrown shuriken before, and even if you have, the technique used at the Ninja Taiken Dojo might surprise you. It’s actually fairly similar to throwing darts, though with a few more pointy ends to get stuck in your target. From up close, it’s not so bad, but from six meters, it gets quite a bit harder.

Check out our video of the experience below!

When you’re finished throwing shuriken and experiencing the life of a ninja, you’ll be awarded a certificate of completion. We recommend displaying it prominently on your desk to intimidate your boss into giving you a raise. Just don’t tell them the sword was made of plastic!

Location Information
Hanayashiki Ninja Challenge
Address: Hanayasiki Street, 2-28-1, Asakusa, Taitou-ku, Tokyo
Phone number: 03-3842-5587
Website: Hanayashiki Ninja Taiken Dojo

Reference: Ninja Taiken Dojo
All photos © RocketNews24