Being the main characters of many myths and legends, ninjas are quite distinctive figures in Japanese history. There are museums entirely dedicated to them, one of the most important being in Mie prefecture. Iga-Ueno castle was the home of ninja-warriors and during the Edo Period it served as the seat of the local lords. The wall surrounding the castle is 30 m high, one of the highest in Japan, and the Ninja Museum is definitely the perfect place to discover the well-kept secrets of ninja-warriors. Here you will find secret chambers, hidden doors, and even underground passages that will take you to other rooms. It seems like the perfect place for a Hide and Seek Game.
But what exactly are ninja warriors and why are they so well acclaimed? Well, it all started in the 15th century, when ninjas started being employed mainly for 2 roles, as assassins and spies. They are described as follows:
“Ninja (aka Shinobi) were the specialised assassins, saboteurs, and secret agents of medieval Japanese warfare who were highly-trained proponents of the martial arts, especially what later became known as ninjutsu or ‘the art of the ninja’. These special forces were adept at disguise, deception, and assaulting enemy positions and strongholds, usually at night when they moved like shadows in their traditional dark clothing.”
They were sometimes hired to infiltrate the enemy’s ninja bands, so a very ingenious tactic was common among their leaders. To spot the lying ninja, passwords were used. A ninja was expected to stand when hearing the password, so anyone left seated was obviously not part of the band and therefore exposed.Even though ninjas didn’t not receive the same fame and honour as the samurai warriors, they still gained a hero-like reputation. Nowadays, they are often portrayed as beings with supernatural powers. They can fly, transform themselves and disappear in an instant. Well, no matter how far from reality that would be, the stories are still exciting and a trip to their home country would definitely be a great adventure for ninja-lovers.