For a limited time, book your 2020, 2021 & 2022 group tour packages with no deposit required!!!

AJT Logo

Ninja

SHARE
View
Saved
Tours
View
Saved
Tours
Reserve
Tours
Search
Tours

Ninja

During feudal Japan, a ninja (or shinobi) was a covert agent or mercenary. A ninja’s mission included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, assassination, and combat in particular situations. Ninja could also cause confusion amongst the enemy during battle.

In contrast with samurai, their covert methods of waging war observed strict rules about honor and combat.

The ninja were stealth warriors and mercenaries hired mostly by daimyos. In modern times, ninjutsu is referred to as the skills ninja were required to master. Although, it is unlikely they were previously named under a single discipline, but were rather trained among a variety of covered espionage and survival skills.

During the Sengoku, or “warring states” period (15th–17th centuries), a specially trained group of mercenaries and spies became active in the Iga Province. Our knowledge of ninja is drawn from clans around these areas.

The Kōga and Iga clans have come to describe families living in the province of Kōka (later written as Kōga) and Iga (modern Mie Prefecture). Villages devoted to the training of ninja first appeared in these regions. It is possible that the remoteness and inaccessibility of the surrounding mountains may have had a role in the ninja's secretive development.

Historical documents regarding the dawning of ninja in these mountainous regions are considered generally correct.

The ninja faded into obscurity following the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate (17th century). The tradition of the shinobi had become a topic of popular imagination and mystery in Japan by the time of the Meiji Restoration (1868). Some legendary abilities that professed to be in the province of ninja training include invisibility, walking on water, and control over the natural elements.

For this reason, the perception of ninja in 20th century western popular culture is often based more on legend and folklore than on the spies of the Sengoku period.

Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune founded the oniwaban, an intelligence agency and secret service, in the early 18th century. The oniwaban ("garden keeper") were members of this office. Oniwaban were agents involved in gathering knowledge on daimyos and government officials. Along with the earlier tradition of using Iga and Kōga clan members as palace guards, the secretive nature of oniwaban have led some sources to define the oniwabanshū as "ninja".

To Western speakers, the word ninja became more prevalent in the west than “shinobi” in the post-World War II culture. In English, the plural of “ninja” can be either unchanged, reflecting the Japanese language's lack of grammatical number, or plural “ninjas”. Historically, the word “ninja” was not commonly used. Various regional colloquialisms (informal language) progressed to describe what would later be known as the term “ninja”.

photo of Japanese ninja one photo of Japanese ninja two photo of Japanese ninja three

Where to Experience Ninja in Japan

photo of Nikko Edomura (Edo Wonderland)

Kanto | Tochigi | Kinugawa Onsen

Nikko Edomura (Edo Wonderland)

Nikko Edomura is a Japanese cultural theme park that centers on the lifestyle from the golden age of the Edo Period.

photo of Ninjadera (Ninja Temple)

Chubu | Ishikawa | Kanazawa

Ninjadera (Ninja Temple)

The Ninjadera or Ninja Temple was built by the Maeda Clan and is officially known as Myoryuji Temple.

photo of Togakure Ninpo Museum

Chubu | Nagano | Nagano City

Togakure Ninpo Museum

The Togakure Ninpo Museum features displays pertaining to the Togakure Ninja School.

photo of Kids Ninja Village

Chubu | Nagano | Nagano City

Kids Ninja Village

The Kids Ninja Village is located on Mount Togakushi near the middle complex of Togakushi Shrine.

photo of Iga Ninja Museum

Kansai | Mie | Iga Ueno

Iga Ninja Museum

Iga Ninja Museum consists of a ninja residence, a state for ninja shows, and two exhibition halls. It can be found in Mie Prefecture near the Iga Ueno Castle.

photo of Toei Uzumasa Eigamura

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Toei Uzumasa Eigamura

Toei Uzumasa Eigamura is a film set and theme park in one with many attractions available.

photo of Koka Ninja Mansion

Kansai | Shiga | Koka

Koka Ninja Mansion

The Koka Ninja Mansion is equipped with false walls, trap doors, hidden passages and a shuriken range.

photo of Koka Ninja Village

Kansai | Shiga | Koka

Koka Ninja Village

The Koka Ninja Village has many ninja related attractions that you can try out like throwing shuriken (throwing star) or walking on water.