Lonely Planet Writer

You could spend a night in an historical Japanese castle, complete with servants and ninjas

You’re in luck if the thought of spending a night in a fabulous Japanese castle, attended to by servants and ninjas, appeals to you. Nagasaki city government and a guest house service company are now accepting applications for a competition to win an overnight stay in Hirado Castle for one lucky couple. The idea behind the competition is an initiative to draw more tourists to visit the historical castle and surrounding area.

Hirado Castle and Hirado Port, Nagsaki, Japan. Image: MIXA/Getty Images
Hirado Castle and Hirado Port, Nagsaki, Japan. Image: MIXA/Getty Images

Hirado Castle was built on a small mountain overlooking Hirado Bay in 1599. The Matsura Clan occupied it during a period of national isolation when Japan was ruled by shoguns, or military dictators. It still contains original swords, suits of armour and the grave sites of some of the royalty who lived there. At that time, ninjas were covert agents or mercenaries whose function included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, assassination and guerrilla warfare.

The winners of the competition will get to experience the life of an 18th Century lord and lady of the castle on 20 May. They will dress in kimonos, and guest house staff will act as their servants and ninjas to safeguard them and carry out their commands. They will stay in Hirado Castle’s top floor, which is normally used as an observatory room, and will be provided with a feast of local seasonal food. They will also be given the opportunity to try fixed-net fishing, and their fresh catch will be served to them for breakfast.

If all of this appeals to you (and who wouldn’t want their own personal ninja?), the application website is here. Overseas applications are welcome, but hurry as the deadline is April 23.