Ninja Run, based in Kyoto’s Fushimi neighborhood (home of the gorgeous Fushimi Inari Shrine) started operations in July, 2018. In contrast to more mundane tours, Ninja Run participants dress from head to toe in authentically designed ninja garb and work with teammates to carry out missions in the local community.
What sort of missions? Ninja Run’s website alludes to “obtaining information from enemies, destruction, battle [and] guarding important people,”as well as mystery-solving, escape games and assisting local merchants. In total, there are over 100 different ninja objectives, broken up into various difficulty classes.
Upon completion of your mission, you’ll be judged by the organization’s master ninja and given a rank depending on the level of skill you displayed in performing your duties, as well as a certificate of completion as testimony of your shinobi capabilities.
While the golden age of the ninja corresponds with Japan’s historical period of isolation, Ninja Run offers excursions in not only Japanese, but English and Chinese as well, welcoming inbound foreign travelers into its activities. Ninja Run’s ninja are also currently brushing up their French, Spanish, Korean and Thai, and plan to begin offering missions in those languages too in the near future.
Single-mission operations, including ninja suit rental, start at ¥4,800 (US$43), with additional missions available as add-on options for extra-industrious shadow warriors. Participants of all ages can take part, though kids must be accompanied by an adult (presumably to gently pull them back into regular society once the mission is done, lest they decide to remain ninja for their entire lives).
Ordinarily, Ninja Run missions are offered between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., but during the summer months you can also request starting times as early as 8 a.m. and as late as 9 p.m., helping you avoid the midday heat and fill up your nocturnal itinerary in Kyoto. If you’re ready to step into the shinobi world, Ninja Run reservations can be made here.
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