Ninja Temple Kanazawa

Myoryu-Ji Temple: The Ninja Temple Of Kanazawa

Myoryu-Ji Temple, also known as the Ninja Temple, is a hidden gem located in the city of Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. The temple was built during the Edo period by the Maeda lords, who were the rulers of the region. Although it is not actually associated with ninjas, the temple earned its nickname due to the many deceptive defenses it possesses.

Ninja Temple Kanazawa


What makes Myoryu-Ji Temple unique is the fact that it was designed to protect its inhabitants from intruders. The temple is filled with hidden rooms, secret passageways, and trap doors that were used to keep enemies at bay. Visitors can explore the temple and discover these hidden features for themselves, making it a fascinating and exciting experience.

Despite its nickname, Myoryu-Ji Temple is still a functioning Buddhist temple and is open to the public for tours. Visitors can learn about the history of the temple and its unique architecture, as well as the religious practices that take place there. For those interested in Japanese history or ninja culture, a visit to the Ninja Temple is a must-see attraction.


Ninja Temple Kanazawa

While not actually associated with ninjas, the temple earned its nickname because of its many deceptive defenses. The temple was built in 1643 by the Maeda lords, who ruled over Kanazawa during the Edo Period. Its original purpose was as a lookout point from which to observe enemies, though its true nature was cleverly disguised by its location amongst a whole grouping of temples.


Myoryu-ji was built by the Maeda clan, who were the rulers of the Kaga Domain during the Edo period. The temple was constructed in secret, and its true purpose was hidden from the public. The Maeda clan was one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Japan, and they were constantly under threat from rival clans and bandits. The temple was built as a defensive stronghold, with numerous hidden rooms, secret passageways, and traps designed to thwart attackers.

Ninja Connection

Despite its nickname, Myoryu-ji was never actually associated with ninjas. However, the temple’s many deceptive defenses and secret passageways have led many people to believe that it was used by ninjas in the past. The temple is also said to have been used as a training ground for the Maeda clan’s elite warriors, who were known as the “Kaga Hyakumangoku.” These warriors were trained in various martial arts, including sword fighting and archery, and were tasked with protecting the Maeda clan from their enemies.

Today, Myoryu-ji is a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over the world who are interested in the temple’s rich history and unique architecture. The temple is open to the public, and guided tours are available for those who want to learn more about its fascinating past.


Ninja Temple Kanazawa

Exterior Design

The temple’s exterior design is simple and unassuming, with a mix of traditional Japanese and Chinese elements. The roof is made of dark tiles and has a distinctive curve, while the walls are painted white and adorned with intricate wood carvings. The temple’s entrance is particularly impressive, with a large wooden gate that is flanked by two stone lanterns. Visitors must pass through a series of hidden doors, secret passages, and trapdoors to reach the main hall, which is located on the second floor.

Interior Design

The interior of Myoryu-Ji Temple is a marvel of engineering and design. The temple was built to serve as a lookout point and a defensive fortress, and as such, it is full of hidden rooms, secret passages, and trapdoors. The temple has a complicated layout, with a middle floor and a middle-middle floor, and contains 23 rooms and 29 staircases. The main hall is particularly impressive, with a high ceiling and a raised platform where the altar is located. The walls are adorned with beautiful paintings and intricate wood carvings, while the floor is covered in tatami mats. Visitors can also explore the temple’s basement, which contains a series of tunnels and chambers that were used for storage and defense.

Ninja Features

Myoryuji Temple Ninjadera Temple © Kanazawa

The temple is famous for its elaborate defense mechanisms that were designed to protect the ruling family in the Edo period. Here are some of the most intriguing Ninja features of the temple:

Secret Passages

Myoryu-Ji Temple has many secret passages that were designed to confuse and trap intruders. The temple has a maze of hidden tunnels that lead to different parts of the building. Some of these tunnels are so well hidden that they are almost impossible to find. The temple also has a secret room that was used as a hideout for the ruling family during times of danger. The room is hidden behind a false wall that can only be opened by pressing a hidden button.


There are many traps that were designed to stop intruders in their tracks. One of the most famous traps is the “nightingale floor”. This floor is designed to squeak like a bird when anyone walks on it. This would alert the guards to the presence of an intruder. The temple also has many hidden staircases that lead to dead ends or trapdoors. These staircases were designed to confuse intruders and make it difficult for them to find their way around the temple.

Hidden Rooms

The temple has many hidden rooms that were used to store weapons and supplies. These rooms are hidden behind false walls and can only be opened by pressing hidden buttons. The temple also has a hidden chamber that was used to hold important meetings. The chamber is hidden behind a false wall and can only be accessed by a hidden staircase.

Overall, the Myoryu-Ji Temple is a fascinating site that offers a glimpse into the world of the Ninja. The temple’s elaborate defense mechanisms are a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the people who built it. Visitors to the temple can explore the secret passages, traps, and hidden rooms and imagine what life was like for the ruling family during the Edo period.

Visiting Hours

The temple is open to visitors from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, with the last admission at 4:00 PM. It is closed on Wednesdays and from December 29th to January 3rd. Visitors are required to join a guided tour, which lasts about one hour.

Ticket Prices

The entrance fee for adults is 1,000 yen, while children between the ages of 4 and 12 are charged 700 yen. Children under the age of 4 are free. Reservations are recommended, especially during peak tourist season.

The Sum Up

Myoryu-Ji Temple, or the Ninja Temple, is a unique and fascinating destination for travelers looking to explore the rich history and culture of Kanazawa. While the temple may not actually be associated with ninjas, its many deceptive defenses and hidden passageways have earned it the nickname.

Visitors to the temple will be amazed by the intricate design of the building, which is filled with secret doors, hidden rooms, and trick walls. The temple’s 23 rooms and 29 staircases make it a true labyrinth, and guests are led through the grounds by a guide to ensure they don’t get lost.

Despite its complex structure, the Ninja Temple is still a functioning Buddhist temple, and visitors can see the beautiful architecture and artwork that adorns its walls. The temple’s gardens are also a highlight, offering a peaceful and serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Overall, Myoryu-Ji Temple is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Kanazawa. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, the Ninja Temple is sure to impress.