ODAWARA, Kanagawa Prefecture--For those who think they would have made a good ninja, Odawara Castle is ready to give you a tryout.

A hands-on ninja experience facility opened on April 20, offering visitors an opportunity to learn techniques practiced by the feudal-era secret agents during the Warring States period (late 15th to late 16th centuries).

The Odawara Castle Ninja Hall is situated at the Odawara Castle Park’s Ninomaru Square. Inspired by covert skills of ninja believed to have served the Hojo samurai clan, visitors can climb a wall, walk across a pond and take stealthy footsteps to get their hands on “classified information.”

City officials hope to lure a new wave of visitors to Odawara Castle by entertaining families and foreign tourists.

“Because ninja are a promising content that can expand tourism opportunities for inbound tourists, we want to make further efforts to attract visitors to Odawara Castle,” said Mayor Kenichi Kato.

Soon after entry to the ninja hall, visitors are shown a video that describes that the Odawara Hojo clan employed the Fuma ninja clan to provide support from behind the scenes to fight enemies. After Odawara is surrounded by many troops led by warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), participants are tasked with a mission to infiltrate into enemy territory to deliver information back to the castle.

Attendees are challenged to perform ninja skills in the hands-on experience zone, where they climb a wall to penetrate into the enemy’s territory and walk across an artificial pond by stepping on lotus leaves.

They must stealthily walk through a nightingale-floored hallway at a "karakuri yashiki" (house of tricks). When they make squeaking noises, they find themselves in trouble as they will hear a voice crying out, “Intruder!”

In the battle zone, visitors swing their arms at on-screen enemies to throw virtual “shuriken” throwing stars to battle it out with enemy forces.

Different from the Iga and Koga ninja clans whose members were active during the Edo Period (1603-1867), there are only a few historical documents about ninja working for the Hojo clan because they were wiped out by Hideyoshi.

Some exceptions include fragments from “Hojo Godai-ki” (the chronicle of the five successive lords of the Hojo clan), which describes that they would infiltrate into other domains and plot conspiracies.

However, shuriken previously owned by late Seiko Fujita, who claimed to be “the last ninja” in the 20th century, are currently kept by the city government for display at the ninja museum.

Ninja are a popular Japanese icon in European and U.S. movies. Foreign tourists are also eager to experience ninja culture, but there are few ninja-related sites in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Admission to the Odawara Castle Ninja Hall is 300 yen ($2.70) for adults and 100 yen for elementary and junior high school students.

For more information, visit (https://odawaracastle.com/castlepark/tennsyukaku/).