This month I’ve been kindly invited to e-attend the Online Ninja Experience, a livestream directly from Odawara, a charming Japanese city I was lucky to visit in the past, conducted by a real life ninja! Scroll below to learn more!
What is Odawara?
Odawara is one of the beautiful Japanese cities located on the shore of Sagami Bay of the Pacific Ocean. Many tourists visit it on their way to or from Hakone just as we did.
Being a clearly seaside city, Odawara is famous for its sea produce. We couldn’t resist trying some raw fish and popped into one of the numerous restaurants – and it was absolutely delicious!
The main attraction is undoubtedly Odawara Castle, a donjon which floats among the sakura trees like a magnificent white cloud. Like many other castles, it was destroyed in the late 19th century, and today’s building you see is a reconstructed donjon (not 100% historically correct by the way).
Nevertheless, don’t hesitate to walk in the park and climb to the top of the castle to see the views around and to learn about its history from the museum artefacts, especially about the war between local Hōjō family and Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century.
Tip: we were initially advised to go to Daruma restaurant that opened its doors 130 years ago. However, we didn’t manage to get there without a reservation – maybe you’ll be luckier!
Photos by Boris Pastukhov
And what about ninja?
Odawara is a site of the Fuma Ninja (or shinobi) clan who were helping the Hōjō family to stay in power, and there is even Ninja Museum dedicated to Ninjitsu on the territory of Odawara Castle grounds. And this is exactly the place from where the Online Ninja Experience is streamed. Session lasts about 40 min via Livestream in a Facebook group. The training is led by Jinkawa Hiroshi who is one of the experts in Ninjutsu and even has his own ninja school!
Both English and Japanese versions of the experience are available. During the streaming we learnt some basic training things all ninjas should know: breathing techniques, walking and running training, philosophy insights etc.
Interesting: did you know that anime and TV frequently picture ninjas wrongly? They were not warriors in the first place but more like information collectors – and by all means they tried to avoid conflicts, not to raise them.
The special talk is dedicated to Shinobi Rokugu, a set of six objects every ninja owns – and it’s important to note that all the objects were quite common and should not be mistaken for ‘ninja-only weapons’:
- Sanjaku Tenugui, or a piece of cloth. Famous ninja star can be carried in it – and initially it wasn’t a weapon at all but more like an amulet.
- Amigasa, or a wide straw hat
- Kusuri, a pill box with a medicine used for stomach aches, or a poison, or a substance to put someone to sleep
- Kaginawa, or a hooked rope
- Sekihitsu, or a pencil for making notes
- Uchitake, or bamboo cylinder (or two cylinders one inside other), to carry cinder
About The Online Ninja Experience
The Online Ninja Experience is held on selected Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00 and 22:00 (GMT). Participation fee is 1,500 JPY (£10.50) per person.
Hope you enjoyed my today’s blog!
Follow me on Instagram
Anna | London & Beyond
◈ featured in Vogue, CNN, Genic magazine
◈ Science journalist