Ninja training in Kyoto


One of the most mythical figures in Japanese folklore is that of the Ninja. Unlike the Samurai (the warrior class of the military) the ninja was a secretive figure, often hired as a covert agent or mercenary. Think of him as a Japanese Jason Bourne. He could sneak around undetected, he knew martial arts and was taught, from an early age, how to use multiple weapons like swords, daggers, darts, spikes, knives and star-shaped disks (shiruken).

One of things we wanted to do in Kyoto – for at least an hour – was to take a ninja training course. Luckily it’s not complicated; there’s only one place and that’s Ninja Dojo and Store.

Below: Don’t mess with Sensei Izo. He can kill you in about 100 different ways…


Izo, the owner of Ninja Dojo and Store, comes from a long line of ninjas. We spent an hour with him, learning Ninja techniques: how they meditate before an assignment, how they breathe, how they walk. Then we got into the really fun stuff: throwing shiruken, darts and even chopsticks at targets. You would never think that chopsticks could be used as a weapon – look at the video further below and you’ll see how lethal they are in the hands of Izo.

Below: Throwing shiruken


Below: shooting blowdarts


Below: learning techniques on how to detect an enemy in the dark using swords.


Below: Have a look at this video, I’m proof that being a ninja is not as easy as it looks.


Below: Some of the weapons in a ninja arsenal. Whether you need some blowdarts, Xmen Wolverine-type claws, or just something to pop your neighbors tires, you’ll find it here.



Izo is fantastic: he’s passionate about what he teaches but is easy going and patient…We took the 1 hr class but he also offers a more detailed 2 hr class. The lesson was both a learning experience and a lot of fun and we would recommend it to anyone. It was one of our highlights in Kyoto. Check out the website: Ninja Dojo and Store.




What do you think? Would you train as a ninja?



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  1. Haha! I was totally thinking you should have aimed for the door, because of course you would have hit the board 🙂 . I would have loved doing that, and had we been there longer, would have done it. I am the person who watched American Ninja (each one!) a bunch of times, not to mention other Ninja movies. They fascinate me. Love the last picture. You look like a real Ninja :-).
    Kemkem recently posted…That Was Quick! Looking Back At a Terrific YearMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Kemkem! Glad to see you’re a fellow Ninja Geek!
      You know what I love? Shooting bows and arrows. I did some shooting last year in Hungary and the weird thing is that I was off the the right there as well. Used to be a good pitcher so I’m not sure what’s going on with my aim, have to adjust…

  2. What a fun experience! Glad you didn’t inhale instead of exhale, hahaha. The Wolverine claws look pretty wicked, just the tool I need for my jerkhead neighbor’s tires… that is, if I actually had the guts to use them 🙂
    Paula Wheeler recently posted…Rum That Is Wickedly SmoothMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Pretty cool weapons, right Paula? You should definitely get the Wolverine claws, no way your neighbor would figure it out. Or maybe just one of those little metal star things, that could totally rupture a tire and he’d never suspect. Of course you could just get a blowgun and shoot at him from across the street, that would be cool. Or throw those shiruken at him, that could do some damage. Or maybe you could just buy Izo a ticket to the US and get him to take take out your neighbor. So many possibilities.

  3. Frank, no meesing up with you now that you know how to blow those sharp darts hahaha…it looks a lot of fun, I would give it a go for sure, but is it just for boys? Did Spanky have a go?
    Gilda Baxter recently posted…Amsterdam A City Below Sea LevelMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      For sure girls can do it! Spanky was mostly filming but she also did some throwing and blowing. They even have classes for kids so anyone can do it really…

  4. This sounds so cool Frank! My hubby would have loved this when we went to Japan and it genuinely never occurred to me that you could do things like this or else I’d have loved to arrange something like this as a surprise for him!
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) recently posted…My 10 Weirdest Travel Moments from 2016My Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Training as a ninja and dressing as a geisha were at the top of Spanky’s list. We can recommend both 😉

  5. What fun and I loved the video. I used to be a pretty good darts player years ago and would love to have a go at throwing the chopsticks too. And just think, these are skills you can use anywhere! 😀 Anita
    Anita recently posted…All Roads Lead To SevilleMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Anita. You’re right – you never know when you might be bringing home sushi on the bus and have a terrorist show up out of the blue. Could totally get him in the jugular with those chopsticks (well, with a little more practice).

  6. You look very menacing in your black ninja wear – although the smile might diminish your threatening ninja stance. 🙂 I will never again look at chop sticks in quite the same way. Truth be told, I’m chop sticks challenged and have never gotten the hang of eating with them. One thing I love about videos is getting to hear the voices, putting a voice with the face and words is a good thing!
    Patti recently posted…The Best Laid Plans ~My Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Patti. I’ll never feel comfortable with video but for certain things they just capture it better.
      Chop sticks – just takes practice. Lissette wasn’t good either but we ate a lot of sushi and noodles on this trip and she got good at it 😉

  7. Maxwell Smart impersonation

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