Separated from the rest of Japan by two straits, Awaji Island is one destination that’s off the beaten path. But if you’re a fan of Naruto or Boruto, the island should be queued up on your next itinerary -- after all, it’s home to a theme park that lets fans live out their fantasies of visiting the hidden village of Konoha.

The theme park is called Nijigen no Mori, and it has other attractions dedicated to Godzilla, Dragon Quest, Crayon Shin-chan, and Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix, forming an all-around travel destination for fans of Japanese pop culture. When it comes to Naruto, Nijigen no Mori has a dedicated area called Naruto and Boruto Shinobi-zato.

Starting from the Konoha gates-style entrance, fans are whisked away to over 15 different attractions, including a ramen shop named after Naruto’s go-to, several augmented reality (AR) attractions, play courses where you can test your ninja agility, and of course, the real-life Hokage Rock standing at 11 meters (36 feet) tall.

Naruto and Boruto Shinobi-zato has regular limited-time events that offer visitors a different way of enjoying the various attractions. One of their upcoming events is starting on October 9, 2021, and it promises to be a projection mapping extravaganza complete with ninjutsu visuals and music played on the Hokage Rock.

The visuals for the projection mapping will showcase Naruto and his friends doing their signature ninjutsu techniques, with Kakashi’s “Raikiri” and Sasuke’s “Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique” being a few examples.

There will also be a real-life puzzle-solving game and the release of limited-edition merchandise set for the day after, as a celebration of Naruto’s October 10 birthday. You can find more information about Naruto and Boruto Shinobi-zato and all of its future and past events through the attraction’s official webpage.

By - Jen Laforteza.