Ninja vs Samurai
The samurai and ninja may both be highly-trained warriors, though their fighting style and daily life couldn't have been be more different. The samurai lived a serious life of ritual, honor, and rigid hierarchy, though the higher ranks tended to have a taste for the finer things in life such as adorned armor and luxurious food. Ninja on the other hand preferred a life of secrecy. They were skilled in espionage, a variety of unorthodox weapons, and, when called for, clandestine assassinations. The best way to learn more about samurai or ninja is of course to become one yourself!
Become a Samurai in Sendai
Ascetic practice and mental training was just as important as daily sword practice and body conditioning for samurai. A regular activity was Zen meditation at a local temple. The purpose of “Zazen,” Zen meditation, is to increase concentration by clearing your mind. Sitting there and thinking about nothing is a real challenge in today's society, but taking time to quiet your mind and refocus is something everyone should do from time to time. The practice will also help reduce anxiety and connect you closer with the world around you. Why not try Zen meditation at a real Japanese temple with hundreds of years of history? https://sendai-experience.com/en/ex/183
Another option is to try on samurai armor for the perfect souvenir picture. For an authentic reproduction of Sendai's first feudal lord's jet-black 5-plate iron armor and helmet, stop by the Michinoku Date Masamune History Museum in Matsushima. You will quickly realize how tough the samurai were by putting on the 20kg (44lbs) armor! While you are at the museum, learn all about the life of Date Masamune reproduced in 25 scenes using more than 200 life-size wax figures. https://sendai-experience.com/en/ex/17
To experience samurai luxury, there is no place better than Shoukeikaku. The former residence of the Date Family was where high-level samurai-turned-bureaucrats and other nobility would meet the Date clan aristocracy. Tour the historical architecture, dress-up in armor reproductions, and indulge in an amazing dining experience paired with local wine or sake! https://sendai-experience.com/en/ex/33
Become a Ninja in Sendai
The Sendai and Tohoku area was more famous for samurai than ninja, and that's how the secretive ninja would have liked it! Several rumors and historical tidbits mention various ninja heroes and groups that were employed for espionage or raids. Grab your ninja garb to practice the art of the Shinobi! Shoot blowguns, throw shuriken, and search for hidden trapdoors and messages in this family-friendly ninja experience.
See you soon,
Sendai Experience Program Team