Things to Do | Visit Chiba | Latest update:2022/09/07
The ninja is an internationally famous cultural icon from Japan, idolized as the stealthy, fast, and mysterious counterpart to the “front-line” samurai warriors. Let’s face it, it’s hard to separate the ninja from the image of “Cool Japan.” With many tools and skills at their disposal, their lighter build is their advantage, and they always get their target under any circumstances. Indeed, the fighting aspect is quite cool, and depictions of them in various forms of media usually focus on this, even elevating them to beings capable of magic. However, a visit to Minami Boso’s Ninja Village will show you that the way of the ninja went beyond combat, and was closely intertwined with their day to day life.
After donning your ninja gear, Sakaguchi-san, officially recognized as a ninja by the Japan Ninja Council in Tokyo, facilitates your journey of training in the way of the ninja. Come spend a day in the deep bamboo forests of Minami Boso, and see where the ninja honed their skills, as well as made a life for themselves. Shuriken throwing, weapon techniques, and balance courses show you the combat side, but you’ll also see how ninja were very in tune with their natural environment, using it to their advantage. Things like securing food, herbs for poisons and medicine, building shelters to sleep outside, and even fishing were all vital techniques of surviving in a harsh environment. It’s even said that the techniques of fermenting and preserving foods were practiced among ninja!
The way of the ninja, Sakaguchi-san teaches, is based on what he calls ikiru chie, ‘the knowledge to live.’ Through training in the way of the ninja, in the actual environments they lived in, we find the physical skills, knowledge, and inner strength that can help us overcome our own day to day tasks. Before our training session, our master ninja shouted with a booming roar the “Kuji-kiri”, a ritual chant of nine words to ensure safety in one’s surroundings before beginning training: Rin-Pyo-Toh-Sha-Kai-Jin-Retsu-Zai-Zen! It’s a meditative beginning to your training, and an extension of the meditation ninja will do each and every day.
The naturalist and meditative elements of the ninja aside, one of the most enjoyable parts of our ninja journey was, admittedly, throwing the shuriken, or star shaped throwing blades, in a special throwing range. They certainly have some weight, and with a proper throw in ninja form, they will stick with ease into even dense wood. Axe throwing has gained popularity in some countries, so the appeal of chucking weapons into walls may very well be universally understandable!
The Ninja Village is not your typical tourist attraction, and it is very “as is,” or a bit rugged, but it is also closer to the dwellings and environment where the ninja actually lived. There is even an irori, or indoor barbecue area, for cooking after the training is done. One will truly feel as if they had experienced a day in the life of a ninja.
400 Ebishiki, Minamiboso City
(20 minutes by car from JR Tateyama Station)