With its rich history, visitors to Japan have no lack of interesting sites to see, from imperial palaces to castles, to the seemingly endless shrines and temples all across the country. Each spot has its own particular attraction that draws tourists in for a visit, from the giant Kaminarimon lantern at Tokyo’s Sensoji Temple, to the literally thousands of torii shrine gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.
But here’s one temple you don’t want to forget to add to your itinerary: nicknamed the “Ninja Temple“, Myouritsu Temple is not just your ordinary run-of-the-mill Buddhist sanctuary. Full of secrets and surprises, adults and children alike are sure to enjoy what this special place has to offer.
Located off the beaten path in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, approximately a two-and-a-half hour shinkansen ride from Tokyo, Myouritsu Temple gets its nickname from its numerous invader-repelling features which include a watchtower, a secret hideout for warriors within the main temple, a number of hidden stairwells and pitfalls, and a dedicated room for committing seppuku, the gruesome, ritualistic act of self-disembowelment.
It’s hard to believe, but there were no actual ninjas ever sneaking around through this temple.
In total, there are 23 rooms and a mind-boggling 29 staircases throughout Myouritsu Temple. Due to its complex structure, guests are led through the grounds by a guide, so if you plan to visit you’ll need to make reservations ahead of time. And since photography inside is strictly prohibited, unfortunately there are only these teaser-pics from around the outside of the temple to give you a taste of what to expect.
You definitely don’t want to pass this temple up!
Address: Ishikawa-ken Kanazawa-shi Nomachi 1-2-12
Visiting hours: 9:30am–4:30pm (4:00pm during the winter season)
Entrance fee: Adults (junior high & older) 800 yen (US$6.70); Children 600 yen ($5.00)
*Children not yet of school age may not enter the grounds