Historic Odawara City in Japan is home to the famed Odawara Castle. Two live-streamed online experiences called ‘Japanese Castle and Ninja Culture’ and ‘Mindfulness Meditation with Japanese Monk’ will be held from October to March 2021. These are exclusive live-streamed experiences to share history, culture, and knowledge with special access to the grounds and keep of Odawara Castle. The two separate online experiences will have special hosts. Hiroshi Jinkawa, one of the foremost experts on Ninja, and Tomomi Iwayama of the Ganshuji Temple will guide you. These experiences have been created for individuals and groups and will give viewers access to special places like the Ninja Museum and the top of Odawara Castle. The experiences will be hosted in both Japanese and English.
- Japanese castle and ninja experience. Guests will first be taken on a walking tour of the Odawara Castle grounds and then have an exclusive experience with one of Japan’s foremost experts on the Ninja. The castle walking portion will give basic historical and cultural insight into the Castle and this time period in Japanese history. There will then be the main portion focused on the Fuma Ninja of Odawara. The total programme time will be about one hour and gives participants the opportunity to see and learn about the techniques, weapons, and culture of the ninja from an expert after the castle history walk. The core of the programme will be time to learn and use practical techniques used by ninja in breathing, concentration, weapons, and mindset. Click here for details.
- Mindfulness meditation with a Japanese monk. A meditation experience with a monk at the top of Odawara Castle tower. This experience is held outside of business hours, so the venue is reserved for private use. Forget about your daily life as your monk guides you through this special space and activity. Spend some time relaxing and reflecting during the meditational experience. You can also enjoy a spectacular view from the top of the castle. A scenic beauty surrounded by the sea and mountains from the exclusive access to the top floor of Odawara Castle while we discover traditional techniques to find peace and balance in our lives. The program’s total time will be about 90 minutes. Click here for details.
- Hiroshi Jinkawa. Jinkawa is a preeminent scholar and practitioner of the ninja arts in Japan. Based in the mountains just outside of Tokyo, Jinkawa sensei has hosted people for ninja experiences for many years and has been an ambassador for the world of the ninja to children and mass media in Japan. Recently he has participated in many activities to allow more people to experience and learn about the Fuma Ninja of Odawara.
- Tomomi Iwayama. Iwayama is the priest at the Ganshuji Temple in Odawara. He shares to the modern world the importance, culture, and techniques of mindfulness towards individuals and corporates for many years. Participants in past events are from different backgrounds and have included everyone from curious individuals to team building events with Google Japan. The goal of his teachings is to help to clear your mind and rediscover the infinity of potential of human beings.
The Fuma ninja
During the warring states period of Japanese history (1467–1615), various regional lords were in a constant state of war for preservation or expansion. This time is famous as the age of the samurai, but it was also the time of the ninja. There were several famous ninja clans serving different feudal lords in Japan, the Fuma Ninja were one of the most famous. The Fuma Ninja served the Hojo Clan, a powerful family that ruled over a large part of central Japan (including the present Tokyo area) from their castle in Odawara. Speaking of ninja, people may imagine jumping, throwing ninja stars, or fighting, but the reality is quite different. The ninja performed many covert activities that you will also learn during the experience.
Mindfulness is a way of living that values the present moment. It has been attracting a lot of attention around the world in recent years because of its positive effects on mental and physical health and stress reduction. The importance of mental health and well-being is becoming even more important in the current world situation of the Covid pandemic, which shows no signs of ending. During the uncertainty of the future, this unique experience will provide an opportunity for people to find peace of mind and to live in the present moment.
Odawara Castle was once the home to the Hojo Clan (during the 1500s) who ruled a vast part of central Japan during the Warring States period of Japanese history. This famous castle has been the site of many famous battles in Japanese history. It was renowned for its formidable defences and never fell in battle until The Siege of Odawara in 1590. This was a moment when many historical figures gathered here. The castle and the grounds are now a faithful reproduction after damage from earthquakes, wars, and neglect. It is considered the closest castle to the city of Tokyo and a popular destination for tourists.
Odawara is a city full of tradition and culture located just south of Tokyo. The beautiful city sits on the coast between the Pacific Ocean and the mountains of Hakone which also gives it delicious food to enjoy. This once was an influential centre of power for the Hojo clan and became an important commercial stop between Kyoto and Tokyo in the later years. There are still many temples, businesses, and festivals in the city that can trace their roots back to the time of the ninja and samurai. The compact city is easily explored by foot and enjoyed by visitors throughout the year.
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