this post is sponsored by Kanagawa Prefecture

Even as Japan’s vaccination rate surpassses others, the country still remains closed to tourism. But that doesn’t mean Japan and all its culture and history are entirely inaccessible. With a little help from technology and the insights and expertise of many, you can go on a virtual tour of Japan’s historic Odawara Castle. And as you’re transported back in time to the Warring States period, a preeminent ninja scholar will also equip you with the skills and philosophies of shinobi: the covert operatives of feudal Japan.

We recently participated in the 1 hour online tour, conducted entirely in English, which took us through the historic Odawara Castle. It’s known for its impenetrable defenses as it stood on a hilltop with the sea to one side and mountains to the other, which also affords some stunning views. We discovered some of the castles many secrets, which left us thanking our lucky stars that it wasn’t our job to invade it.

But what makes the online tour really special is the following segment: an interactive, participatory session with a ninja scholar and practitioner of the ninja arts, who will teach you about techniques, weapons, and culture of the ninja while also dispelling some cinematic myths. Yes, we’ve all heard of ninjas but how much do we really know? You would be surprised! Pro-tip: you’ll definitely want a stick-like object (to learn and practice your sword skills) and pencil or chopstick-like objects (to practice your throwing star skills)!

There are several upcoming tours every weekend that are timed to accommodate participants in the U.S. and Europe (times and dates are displayed in Japan-time time so you’ll have to calculate start times based on your local time).

The tours are 2000 yen (about $17.50) per person but there are also group discounts.