AWAJI, Hyogo >> A new amusement attraction inspired by the ninja anime “Naruto” opened in late April at the Nijigen no Mori facility at Hyogo Prefectural Awaji Island Park in Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture.
The attraction, Naruto & Boruto Shinobi-Zato, is based on the internationally popular anime and its sequel. The facility operator hopes to attract foreign tourists by promoting it as a place to experience “ascetic ninja training.”
“Naruto” was originally a manga about the adventures of Naruto Uzumaki, who overcomes challenges to become the top ninja in his village. According to the manga’s publisher, Shueisha Inc., “Naruto” ran in the Weekly Shonen Jump magazine between September 1999 and November 2014, becoming a 72-volume series that sold more than 150 million copies in Japan and more than 95 million overseas.
Its sequel, “Boruto: Naruto Next Generations,” has also been serialized and adapted into a television anime, while a feature film is in the works.
The popularity of “Naruto” grew even further after tennis superstar Naomi Osaka took to Instagram with a post of herself wearing a Naruto T-shirt.
The design for the roughly 86,000-square-foot facility was inspired by Konoha Gakure no Sato (Hidden Leaf Village), the home of Naruto and his son Boruto. Visitors follow arrows to destinations while solving quizzes and can try their luck at a three-story maze filled with obstacles. The facility’s food court is themed on Naruto’s favorite ramen shop Ichiraku.
Admission is 3,300 yen (about $30) for adults, 1,800 yen ($16.50) for teens and 500 yen ($4.50) for children ages 5 and older; those 4 and younger can get in free.
Nijigen no Mori, which literally means “2D forest,” was built in 2017 in a bid to transform Awajishima island into an entertainment hub. The forest features other attractions inspired by anime and manga, such as a “Crayon Shinchan” athletic course and a facility based on Osamu Tezuka’s “Hinotori” (Phoenix).
The Hello Kitty Smile attraction also opened this spring, enhancing the island’s appeal as a destination for appreciating popular anime and characters.