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Friday, 6th March 2015
In Japan Travel News,

Japanese officials set to promote 'ninja tourism'

In the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Japanese tourism officials will be pulling out all the stops in attracting foreign travellers, and one way in which they may find success is unveiling the secretive world of ninja assassins.

It has been announced that a series of local governments and tourist agencies have united to set up a Japan Ninja Council, which will look at how the practice could be used to promote tourism in the region. Local officials in the towns of Iga, Koka, Ueda, Odawara, and the Saga Prefecture, are some of the places that have signed up to the scheme; hardly a surprise when you consider that these areas were previously associated with ninja activity.

For example, Koka now boasts its own 'Ninjutsu Village', where visitors can enjoy exploring a ninja-themed museum and a training centre where you can take courses in one of the nine combative 'shadow arts'. Furthermore, National Ninja Day was marked in Japan on a wide scale for the first time last year, with officials from Koka's tourism board adopting black ninja outfits.

The council will be holding a press conference next week to reveal more details about their marketing strategy over the next five years. This all correlates with the government's target of attracting 20 million tourists a year by 2020, an aim it looks to already achieve in 2015, considering that 13.41 million visitors came to the country over the last six months, according to official government data.

An official said in a statement: "The council will bind together as one the public relations activities related to ninja that each local government is executing. We anticipate that foreigners seeking access to more ninja-related information will visit Japan."

Ninja agents were covert agents or mercenaries in feudal Japan, carrying out espionage activities.