25 Things You Didn’t Know About Ninjas

Posted by , Updated on March 21, 2024

Shrouded in mystery, ninjas have almost become more of an idea than an actual warrior. Hundreds of years ago though, in feudal Japan, ninjas were very active and very real. Not always good guys, not always bad guys, they were somewhat of a mercenary group carrying out assassinations and espionage for the highest bidder. Today, much of what we know about them is in fact little more than legend. If you’re not up to date, however, allow us to enlighten you. Here are 25 things you didn’t know about ninjas.

Ninjas tell time like bosses

Ninjas Can Tell Time through Cat’s Eyes and the Stars

Apart from the obvious skill of using the stars to tell time, apparently ninjas believed that the eyes of a cat are super sensitive. In fact, they believed them to be so sensitive that the cat’s eyes would reflect the movement of the sun and allow them to tell what time of the day it was. Of course just looking at the sun would be simpler, but would it be as cool?


Ninjas don’t get lost

Ninjas Can Tell Directions

In some ways ninjas are like boy scouts, they use seemingly useless things like tree stumps and Spanish moss to figure out other seemingly useless things like which way north is. Thus they can always figure out where they are at.


Ninjas rest on top of trees

Ninjas Rest On Top of the Trees

There’s not much to really say about this one. They’re ninjas. It’s what they do.


Ninjas are survivalists

Ninjas’ Survival Abilities

Trained since birth to survive on nothing but the skin of their teeth, ninjas know which berries are edible and they can find water by observing crazy things like ant behavior.


Ninjas carry crickets in their pocket

Ninjas Use a Box of Cricket to Mask Their Noise

What better way to cover your already muffled footsteps than having a box of crickets chirping away in your pocket? In feudal Japan, those annoying insects were everywhere so they made for an assassin’s best friend.


Ninjas don’t fight dirty

Ninjas Practice Ninjutsu Fight Etiquette

For being trained assassins, ninjas follow a very serious set of rules. For example, a group of ninjas would never gang up on their victim but rather fight one at a time in order to maintain honor…and not get made fun of by other ninjas for being a wimp.


Ninjas take training seriously

Ninjas Follow Ninjutsu Training Rules

When training, ninjas group off into different colors. A ninja has to stay with his color at all times otherwise they get kicked repeatedly as punishment. If you think that’s unnecessary, consider that they must always wear their tabi boots, even when they are sleeping.


Ninjas carry cooler weapons than the shuriken

Ninjas Carry Cooler Weapons than the Shuriken

Aside from the usual four-pointed stars and arrows dipped in poison, ninjas use some other pretty crazy stuff too. The ‘ashiko’ are spiked claws that can be worn on the feet and are used to climb faster and deliver deadly kicks while the ‘bo’ is a staff made from bamboo or hardwood which can be used to launch a poison-tipped dart or even a small knife.


Ninjas don’t make noise when they walk

Ninjas’ Secret Stealth Walking Moves

Ninjas are like noise black holes. In fact, some say that the quieter your surroundings get the more ninjas are present.


Ninjas use poison…a lot

Ninjas’ Sources of Poison

It shouldn’t be surprising considering their job description but ninjas are like the MacGyvers of poison. They could figure out a way to get something poisonous out of an apple peel if they had to. That may be a slight exaggeration but you get the point.


Ninjas wear black (usually)

The Ninjas’ “Shinobi Shozoko”

Ok, so you knew that, but did you know that the uniform they wear is called a shinobi shozoko?


Ninjas make signs with their hands

The Source of Ninja Magic

They believed that making various signs with their hands allowed them to channel energy, kind of like gang signs –ninja style.


Ninjas use fake footprints

Ninjas Can Mask Their Tracks

In order to avoid detection, ninjas would actually attach “ashiaro”, or fake footprints” to their boots that would make people think they were a small child or elderly person.


Ninjas invented their own flashlight

Ninjas Have Their Very Own Flashlights

Well, it was really just a candle but they covered it up and cut a slit in one end of the covering in order to let out a beam of light that they could control. Apparently they were ahead of their time in illumination technology.


Ninjas always know where north is

Ninjas Are Good Navigators

We’ve been over this already, but it’s just that important. They always know where north is. They could find it blindfolded upside down on a spaceship spinning out of control.


Ninjas like to surf

Ninjas Use Water-Floating Devices

Ok, not really, but they do have some pretty cool ways of getting across bodies of water using various inflatable raft and shoe type devices.


Ninjas use everything they have

Ninjas Make Use of Essential and Multi-Functional Mission Equipments

If they don’t have it, they improvise. In fact, almost everything they carry can either be used to survive something or to kill somebody–usually both.


Ninjas carry bombs

Ninjas Have Their Own Home-Made Bombs

No, not like terrorists. Think Batman. They’re more like flash bangs that distract their enemies while the ninja disappears into thin air.


Ninjas are feared for their powers

Ninjas’ Mythical Stealth Power

It’s all smoke and mirrors, but if you have enough smoke you can make people believe anything, including the fact that you can disappear.


Sometimes girls are ninjas

The Women Ninjas

These female ninjas were often employed for their murderous charm. They would get close with their enemies and then destroy them ninja style.


Ninjas had clan leaders

The Greatest Ninja Clan Leader

As you know, groups of ninjas were called clans. Each clan had a leader and that leader was often the source of numerous legends and statues. Lots and lots of statues.


Ninja school today

There Is a Real Ninja School (“Ryu”)

Apparently ninjas still exist and if you feel like the traditional college path isn’t for you, heck, ninja assassin could be a viable option.


Ninjas were called Shinobi

The Origin of the Ninja Clans

Although you may know them as ninjas, their unfortunate victims knew them as the shinobi (the original pronunciation). The word basically means “to steal away”.


Samurais vs Ninjas

Samurais vs Ninjas

While both were warriors of feudal Japan, samurais were noblemen who followed the Bushido code of fighting while ninjas were recruited from the lower socio-economic class. They also differed in their loyalties as samurais typically served the emperor while ninjas could be hired by anyone who needed their services.


Ninjas loved cookies


No, they didn’t have a sweet tooth but they did eat a lot of calorie rich cookies known as katayaki while they were traveling through the woods or searching for their victims. It was something like modern day power bars.