How Did Real Ninjas Train?

You’ve seen the modern, pajama-clad ninjas featured on everything from movie screens to coffee mugs…

Ninja Mug

…but how did real ninjas live and train?

Many people don’t realize that ninjas (the Japanese pronunciation is “shinobi”) not only existed, but served as Japan’s covert operations experts for several hundred years. 

14E30 Hokusai sketch (ninja)(public domain)

Real ninja activity reached its apex during the 16th century (the reason I chose that setting for my Shinobi Mystery series), and the two most powerful ninja clans had strongholds in the mountainous regions of Iga and Koga, which lie within the Kansai region, close to Kyoto, Nara, and the other traditional capitals of Japan.

I traveled to Iga on my recent research trip to Japan, and rode the “ninja train” to Iga village. There, I visited the Iga Ninja Museum and Ninja House, where a variety of displays and demonstrations showcase the history of the shinobi who lived there in medieval days.


Like these lock picks, designed to open the bronze and iron locks on storehouses and granaries.

I’m sharing more photographs from that trip, along with more information about the way real shinobi lived and trained–and the weapons they used–over at The Editing Pen:

Training the Ninja

I hope you’ll hop over and take a look. Some of the weapons and espionage techniques are truly fascinating–and several centuries ahead of their time.

2 thoughts on “How Did Real Ninjas Train?

  • August 6, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Loved having you visit! Stop by anytime you’d like!


Comments are closed.