'Ninja house' hoping to pounce on tourist reopening

A Tokyo business is preparing to welcome back foreign tourists who are eager to learn the art of the ninja. NHK World's Honda Mina reports on how "Ninja Trick House in Tokyo" offers visitors a chance to learn how to become a stealthy assassin.

The owner, Yumoto Tomoyuki, says he's been eagerly anticipating the return of foreign tourists.

He said, "I hope this will be an opportunity to return to normal. I hope families from overseas, especially with kids, will come back and enjoy themselves."

After opening six years ago, Yumoto says his business of educating people about the ninja attracted people from all over the world.

He said, "We were fully booked from morning until closing time. We often guided customers in four or five languages at the same time."

But the pandemic cast a shadow on the business and it's been difficult to see even one reservation per day. The Ninja Trick House is hoping to welcome its first foreign tourists soon, but public health is always the top priority.

Manuals provided to guests are written in over 10 languages. They contain easy-to-understand pictograms, telling visitors to follow the rules, like wearing masks.
Through frequent sanitization, customers who handle deadly-looking ninja tools -- are kept safe from COVID.

The owner also said, "I am very hopeful. Japan topped a global list of tourist destinations for the first time. I think that's amazing, and I'm looking forward to keeping the business running."

Before the pandemic, more than 30 million foreign tourists visited Japan. Only a small fraction will arrive this week.

But the tourism industry hopes it's the start of big things.