The world of ninjas is inherently secretive, but it is generally accepted that Iga-ryu in modern-day Mie Prefecture and Togakure-ryu, a style that branched off 800 years ago, are historically the two main styles of ninjutsu. The mountains of present-day Togakushi, the highlands above Zenkoji Temple / Nagano City, historically provided the seclusion for the Togakure-ryu ninjutsu training. The current grandmaster, Masaaki Hatsumi, lives in Chiba, and on his birthday (02-December), martial arts enthusiasts from throughout the world gather to celebrate.
Some of Hatsumi-sensei's disciples continue the Togakure-ryu ninjutsu tradition in Togakushi, partly out of an interest in martial arts training, partly out of a desire to continue the tradition. I have been working with this group to make their weekly 'o-keiko' (practices) formally open to participation by people curious about ninjas. Informally, they welcome outsiders to participate in the lessons as they appreciate the interest and enjoy sharing their enthusiasm for ninjutsu.
Miyashita-san, one of the group's members that lives down in center Nagano City, offers ninjutsu lessons every Saturday morning at a community center near Zenkoji Temple. Yesterday, the Nagano Inbound Summit gang and I met the regular members of Miyashita-san's ninja workout and discussed ideas for taking his lessons to the public.
I will be putting the information together shortly for adding to the unique-nagano.com website -- stay tuned!