On the south side of the Sai-gawa is the intriguing and mysterious Myoryu-ji. Its popular name, Ninja-dera (Temple of the Ninja), suggests it was a clandestine training center for martial-arts masters who crept around in the dead of night armed with shuriken (star-shape blades). In fact, the temple was built to provide an escape route for the daimyo in case of invasion. Ninja-dera was built by Toshitsune in 1643, when the Tokugawa Shogunate was stealthily knocking off local warlords and eliminating competition. At first glance, it appears a modest yet handsome two-story structure. Inside, however, you find 29 staircases, seven levels, myriad secret passageways and trapdoors, a tunnel to the castle hidden beneath the well in the kitchen, and even a seppuku room, where the lord could perform an emergency ritual suicide. Unfortunately (or fortunately, considering all the booby traps), visitors are not permitted to explore the hidden lair alone. You must join a Japanese-language tour and follow along with your English pamphlet. Reservations are necessary, but can be made on the day of your visit.