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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ninja hotel rooms set to boost tourism in Japanese city

A ninja-themed guest room at the Iga Ueno City Hotel in Iga, Mie Prefecture. MUST CREDIT: Japan News-Yomiuri  (Japan News-Yomiuri/Japan News-Yomiuri)
By Washington Post

Washington Post

IGA, Japan – The tourist association of Iga, Mie prefecture, a city known for its historical ties with ninja, has launched a program to give tourists the feeling of being a ninja themselves by displaying replicas of items from the local Iga-ryu Ninja Museum in hotel rooms.

The Iga-Ueno Tourist Association, which runs the museum, has named the program Ninpak, a play on the words “ninja” and “minpaku,” the latter of which refers to private lodging.

Under the program, shuriken throwing stars and other ninja tools are exhibited in hotels. The city’s first hotel to join the program is the Iga Ueno City Hotel, which has prepared three guest rooms that meet the program’s standards. Members of the media were given a look on Friday.

The program is jointly operated by the association and Fujiya Co., a Kyoto-based company specializing in planning and producing various display projects that was in charge of refurbishing the museum. The enterprise initially started in December 2021. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, however, it was months before any hotel joined the program.

The first three Ninpak guest rooms are on the hotel’s fourth, sixth and eighth floors. The partly tatami-matted rooms opened in 2015 as ninja rooms and were already fitted with various entertaining features, such as wallpaper with ninja silhouettes and makimono scrolls hidden under the floors. Now the rooms have been furnished with even more delightful features for guests.

In each room, elaborate replicas of ninja tools, made with reference to historical ninja writings, are exhibited in a showcase on the wall. The tools vary from room to room. Firearms are on display in the fourth-floor room, while the sixth-floor room features break-in tools, such as a rope with a grappling hook, and the eighth-floor room exhibits ninja weapons, such as shuriken stars and makibishi caltrops. In addition, andon lamps with the emblem of the Momochi, a famous ninja family from Iga, create an atmosphere evoking ninja and their times. The program is expected to attract many people, including non-Japanese tourists and families with children.

“Tourists from Europe love our ninja rooms. Many of them take pictures in the rooms. Now that the rooms have become more attractive with ninja tool exhibits, I think the rooms will be very popular,” said Iga Ueno City Hotel manager Kazuhiro Matsumoto, 37.

The tourist association hopes to make Ninpak a profitable enterprise and to make such services widely available, particularly in Osaka ahead of the 2025 World Exposition .