You Only Live Twice (1967)
You Only Live Twice is largely set in Japan and when James Bond has to go and train to be a Ninja, he ends up in the grounds of Himeji Castle in Southern Japan.
We had the good fortune to go there in the summer of 2005, taking the Shinkansen train from Tokyo via Osaka to Himeji, and a most wonderful experience it was too… To be honest I hadn’t realised that the castle had starred in a James Bond Film. We had seen Dan Cruikshank stalking around it on his Round the World in 80 Treasures programme and had decided to visit because of that.
It is a truly amazing building. One of the very few medieval Japanese timber castles to never have been taken by an invading force, and the largest castle still remaining in Japan.
The citadel is perched high on an outcrop and the route up to the top winds around grounds designed to disorientate and leave attackers vulnerable. There are narrow bits where you could be stabbed by spears, short tunnels where boiling oil could be poured onto you, and wide open areas where archers could shoot you.
It makes a fine setting for Tiger Tanaka’s secret Ninja Training School….