08 Mar 2019 in Discover Japan
Discover the hidden doors and secret rooms of old ninja houses!
You probably know ninjas from pop culture. And they really did exist. In the age of the samurai, they were the warriors who did the dirty work.
Their unique set of skills, including disguise, infiltration, sabotage, armed combat and deception, were known as ninjutsu or the art of stealth.
Ninjas are thought to date back to the 11th or 12th century, when the cities of Iga and Koka near Kyoto began specializing in unconventional warfare. During Japan’s Warring States Period (15th-16th century), warlords hired ninjas to spy on the enemy, spread misinformation, penetrate castles and eve carry out assassinations.
The best way to experience ninja history?
Use HOSHINOYA Kyoto as a base to explore ancient sites in Iga and Koka.
The Ninja Museum of Igaryu is an old ninja residence complete with escape routes and hiding places. After touring the house, visit the museum – and then catch a live demo of ninja skills!
Koka City has several ninja sites, including the trapdoor- and tunnel-filled Koka Ninja Village and Koka Ninja House. Both sites offer throwing ranges where you can test your ninja weapon talents.
If you’re staying at Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga, make sure you visit Myouryuji Temple, an extraordinary complex that resembles a 2-storey building from the outside but actually houses hidden floors than can only be accessed via a network of secret staircases.
Although ninjas are not thought to have lived here, it’s very much in the ninjutsu spirit!