Ninja Weapons and tools - Comprehensive list

Ninja Weapons
A comprehensive list of Ninja Weapons and tools, including with their Japanese name and how they were used in the art of Ninjutsu. This blog post looks into the most common pieces of equipment carried by a Ninja.

We do not condone the personal possession or use of the weapons listed in this article. Most, if not all, of the items listed here may inflict serious and/or fatal injuries on both the user and non-user, therefore please take this page as an educational reference only.




These are foot spikes, normally comprised of stainless steal, designed to give a Ninja grip for climbing, scaling or walking on frictionless surfaces. For maximum effectiveness they are position on the ball part of the foot.

These are also commonly used with hand claw counterparts.







This is a sickle and chain weapon that also incorporates a small pocket for explosives. It is similar to the Kusarigama, with the additional explosives pocket. The explosives may be flash bombs, which are perfect for distraction and escape.

Other materials such as poison or blinding powder are also sometimes contained.







Consisting of a hollow wooden (usually bamboo) or solid wooden staff with a chain and spiked iron weight attached to the end, this is a serious weapon which is capable of inflicting fatal injuries with little control.








This is a blow gun. Designed to fire Fuki-ya (darts, see below). The blowgun is designed with incredible detail to ensure that the users air is compressed into a narrow path which dramatically increases the velocity of the darts for maximum projectile range.

Experienced users are able to achieve firing distances of up to 20m.







As mentioned above, these are the darts that are used in conjunction with the Fukedake blowgun. The tip of the Fuki-ya is incredibly sharp easily piercing human flesh and even causing severe bone damage.








This is a bandana (headband) and is usually seen to be a symbol of commitment to a cause. These were infamously worn by kamikaze pilots in World War II Slogans are commonly painted onto the Hachimake aimed at inspiring the person wearing it and reminding them of their cause.








A common weapon practiced in many dojos. It has exceptional blocking and striking abilities, without being seen as a provoking. The reason why these are popular choices of weapon for teaching in dojos is because sticks are naturally in abundance in society which may come to the aid of someone in need of defending themselves.








Also known as Jitte, which literally means 'ten-hand', symbolizing that this weapon has the power of ten hands. It was carried by police officials and low ranking samurai. It is believed to have become popular in feudal Japan when palace guards were prohibited by law to bring swords into a leader's palace, this was seen as an alternative effective weapon that could bypass that law and still provide safety within the palace walls.









A grappling hook. Kage means hook and nawa means rope. This has many uses, most famously for scaling walls during feudal Japanese sieges, however alternative uses included securing a boats or even hanging over equipment from.







This contains very sharp spikes, which sometimes were coated in poison. It was useful for surprising an opponent because it could be easily hidden from view. Normally worn on the middle finger, it also assisted in holding onto an opponent whilst inflicting serious skin wounds. Some believe the Kakute also helps ninjas scale walls.








This is a traditional Japanese farming tool turned weapon. Originally used for harvesting crops (usually rice), Japanese civilians found it a useful as protection against common outside attacks.  Today it's commonly used in kata and as such the blades are heavily blunted.







Kama Yari

A sickle spear. It's a variation of a Yari (a spear), as it has backward pointing blades attached to it (kama). These blades are useful hooks - for example hooking horsemen off their horses or even pinning opponents to the floor. 









One of the most famous Japanese weapons commonly referred to as a Samurai sword. The grip is made long enough for two hands to be accommodated. The blade is curved with a length of 60cm or greater. Martial arts that utilize the Katana include battōjutsu, iaidō, kenjutsu, Shinkendo, kendo, Aikido.








Kayaku Ire

This is simply a gunpowder flask. Explosive material can be stored in this pouch relatively safely.










A  close-quarter self-defense weapon, designed to be held in a closed fist. Keys can be attached to the key ring on the end of the Kobutan. It's useful for striking bony areas such as elbows, the head, shins and hands.







Kuda Bashigo

A tube ladder. This is a highly mobile ladder due to it's lightness and it's ability to be folded into a very compact volume. The ladder also features hooks to aid in the process of scaling walls.









It is beleived that this weapon originated from a trowel. In the feudal days of Japan, farm workers often adapted common farm tools so that they could be used as weapons in times of surprise sieges. The tips were often extremely sharp.








Kusari Fundo

This is a chain (kusari) of up to 12-48 inches with a weighted (fundo) end. This weapon is capable of inflicting serious, if not fatal, injuries. It's more concealable than a sword and so was often used in Japanese palaces where swords were banned for all members, including guards.









Metsubishi literally translates to 'crush the eye'. Although vision is only temporarily impaired by this powder, it's aim is to give it's user some time to make an escape. The powder can include a wide variety of materials such as dirt, sand and ashes. However more effective materials include ground pepper, nettle shreds or even explosives.








A traditional Japanese sword designed with the aim of taking down horses before finishing the rider, hence why it's literal translation is 'taking down sword'. The blade itself is 1-3 feet whilst the wooden shaft is usually around 5 feet in length.









These are traditional Japanese socks that Ninjas have modified for outdoor use.  Fitting high around the ankle it also features a separation of the big toe and other toes. 





tetsu bishi


Tetsu Bishi

Iron spikes invented as a defensive object within Japanese samurai fortifications. They are able to penetrate thin soles, clearly inflicting serious damage to the feet of anyone that may stand on them.






Neko Te

A 'cat claw'. Features very sharp claws extending from the fingers capable of inflicting serious injury. Target areas include arteries, throat and other vital areas. Some are also designed to be capable of catching / blocking weapons.






Ninja Ken


Also known as Ninja Ken, this is a traditional Japanese sword preferred by Ninjas over the Katana blade due it's shorter length for convenience. It has a straight blade and is usually less than 60cm in length featuring a hand guard (tsuba, see below).









The tsuba hand guard not only protects the hand but also gives weighted balance to the weapon. Contrary to belief, the tsuba mainly protects the hand from sliding onto the blade whilst using a thrusting motion rather than protecting the hand from other weapons, although this is a secondary benefit.








Originating from Okinawa, this is a modified dagger. It features two curved outward protruding prongs known as yoku. These are simply guards to protect the hand, in a similar way to hands. Sai are nearly always used in pairs. Today they are practiced in kata. Techniques include a number of striking, parrying, blocking and captures.









This is a stealth weapon. Designed to look like a walking stick, usually made form bamboo, it contained a sharpened blade attached to the handle. It was used in the famous martial arts movie Zatoichi by the blind swordsman.








The Shikoro is a saw bladed dagger, usually double sided. The saw like edges are designed to inflict maximum damage to an unfortunate recipient. It's light weight, small and was convenient for ninjas to carry.






shinobi shuko

These are climbing claws primarily used by ninjas to aid in the scaling of walls, trees etc. They can be attached to both the hands and feet. Sometimes they are informally referred to as 'ninja cat claws'.









Shuriken translates to 'sword in the hand' and are sometimes referred to as throwing stars. They are made in a huge range of shapes. They are designed for throwing at an enemy as their sharp tips are capable of inflicting serious, if not fatal, wounds.






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newburydojo's picture

Hi Saw this, there are quite a few inaccuracies though. Will go through it later when I have a bit more time :)
ashley's picture

I'm glad you came across this, being the expert in the field and all. Any additions or amendments I can make, then please let me know. I was planning on building on it, but just wanted to get a basic list together first.
newburydojo's picture

OK, so lets start with some easy ones - rule of thumb if its a karate/Okinawan weapon its not ninjutsu. So no Tonfa, Nunchucks, Sai, or Kama. On to the others listed; Shuko and ashiko (also known as Sokko) are definately in and are primarily climbing aids for trees (they dont grip so well on stone). The Bakuhatsugama I haven't heard of before so may be one of the obscure ones but I would be skeptical. The Chigiriki looks too much like a european medieval morning star so I would say its not. The blow pipe and darts definately in, though its the blowpipe itself that is the Fukiya. Obviously they were bamboo tubes as opposed to the picture there. Hachimake were not solely ninjutsu, they were just a common headwear worn by many in the time. The armoured ones were called Hachigane and had metal plates sewn in to protect the forehead. Hanbo is one taught in ninjutsu, but it is also one that others new how to use. I do think however that its mostly ninjutsu practioners that learn it these days. The Jutte was a policemans truncheon used by government officials in the edo period, and was used against both armed and unarmed opponents. Again I think only really traditional bujutsu scvhools learn this outside ninjutsu. The Kagenawa is the primary climbing ais for ninjutsu, and was used as a rope weapon when needed. The hook had many different designs, but did tend to be as small as possible so as to be easily concealable. The Kakute were ninjutsu weapons and ones designed to give a suprise in hand to hand grappling. The Kama on its own or in pairs are primarily Okinawan weapons, though the Kusarikama (a kama with a chain and weight attached) was used by ninja and also some traditional bujutsu scholls. Of more interest is the Kyoketsu Shoge which is definately a ninjutsu weapon. Consisting of a hook knife with a rope and metal ring attached it was said to pre-date the kusarigama. There were many different designs of Yari in use, the kamayari was used by both ninja and samurai alike. Again the katana was a sword used by samurai and ninja alike. The kayaku ire I haven't heard of but it sounds plausable. The kubotan is a generic weapon used in many martial arts so I wouldn't class it as a ninjutsu weapon especially. Kuda bashigo was one of the climbing ladders also used to bridge gaps. There were other types of ladder; kumo basahigo, tsuri bashigo, tobi bashigo. They had different anchoring points and styles of climbing bars. The kunai was a ninjutsu weapon, used for digging, leaverage, breaking open and as an anchor for ropes, as well as hand to hand. Not usually thrown though. Kusarifundo was used by both samurai and ninja, preferred for its ease of concealment and effectiveness. Metsubishi was used by both, but again favoured by ninja for its effective use in close quaters combat. The naginata was used by samurai, prefered by the women and monks called sohei. Tabi are generic footwear for the japanese, cotton soled and used indoors. When outdoors they would tie waraji or straw sandals to the tabi for waterproofing. The only difference in ninjutsu they would just have thicker soles and forgo the waraji so as to be quieter. Tetsubishi are caltrops used by ninja to impede pursuit. The Nekote were not a freddy kruger type claw hand, but iron 'finger nails' that were strapped to individual fingers. Used by kunoichi primarily. Ok, the ninja-to (takes a breath) was not a straight blade. That comes from theatrical performances where they wanted the ninja to stand out - something a real ninja would not want to do. The same goes for the square guard. The ninja-to was a shortened katana blade in either a regular length scabbard, or a shortened one. The reasoning is very pragmatic. With the shorter blade it was easier to use in close confines and it was easier to move through small spaces with it. The guard was usually the common four petal type to again blend in with their surroundings. The tsuba is on katana. The ninja would use theres for a step to climb walls. Also used to strike with in close quarters. Sai - not ninjutsu its karate Shikomizue were concealed blades in sticks, they would look like a hanbo or jo staff - not the cane in the picture. The shikoro was like the kunai, same usage, just had a saw type edge. The shuriken was one of the iconis weapons of the ninja, but it was also used by samurai. The ninja would win by using the weapons available to him, which would include those of the samurai, tools used in farmimg and trades as well as items they could find naturally. Anyway, hope that all helps! :-)
yova's picture

I want to train in ninjutsu,what can i do? can somebody help?
ashley's picture

Massive help! Thanks Dave, i'll edit the article accordingly. Great to have some expert opinion around!
newburydojo's picture

No problem - take a look at my websites shop page that has training weapons if that helps Also remember it wasn't just blades hidden in staves, they also had weighted chain hidden in hollow bamboo sticks and staves.'s picture

wow dangerous weapons
Hanshi Go Daniel J. Vena's picture

I would be interested in getting this equipment listed on my web sites and try to market some if not all of these items. Do you have any affiliate marketing programs available for dojo's like us? Let me know. I can be reached at : 1-(919)-435-1084 or via E-Mail: Thanks, Dan Vena, Dai Ichi. Hanshi Go. Soke Dai, @ Ed McGrath's School of Isshin Ryu Katare do and Kobu do. Our web site is:
Imbuwa's picture

after i get my medical degree,i want to pursue ninjutsu
ashley's picture

Why not do both? I know plenty of people who studied hard but also had time for martial arts. Exercise keeps the brain fresh.
rhuwan getalado's picture

Gareth's picture

Awesome. .Destructive and very intimidating...i just started learning to use ninchaku and im having so much fun practicing..luckily i ddnt get to use them yet..just wntd to no if i can actually Learn self defense on this site..anyone?