The Top 12 Ninja Documentaries (ranked)

My son loves ninjas (whose kids don’t!?). But I found it hard to find good ninja documentaries.

I sifted through a lot of mediocre videos. In some cases, I took excerpts of ninja video found in broader videos.

Here are the best ninja docs/videos I found:

1) Ninja House & Underground Escape Hatch

The Cities of the Underworld series had a “Beneath The Ultra Busy Streets of Tokyo” episode (S2, E3). One part of it (at 34 minutes and 22 seconds) is where they dive into ninjas.

It’s hosted by Don Wildman and I found this 8 minutes to be the best bang for the buck video on ninjas.

Some highlights:

  • Ninjas were experts in gunpowder as a weapon.
  • Employers used to hire Ninjas as “gun instuctors” but were secretly spies. They often had reputations as thieves.
  • A “Ninja house”. Secret passageways. Amazing how cramped it is. It has escape hatches.

A ninja’s last resort for escaping is an underground well which was a decoy. They went through a closet, out the well and on to an escape.

Ninjas had to be agile to hide out there and be ready for attack.

Watch The Cities of the Underworld/Tokyo Ninja section by clicking the video above or clicking

2) Ninja Woman

From National Geographic’s Fight Science TV series, this doc short breaks down martial arts pro Mindy Kelly’s moves to avoid tripping laser beams.


Wendy bends her spine 70 degrees (30 degrees is normal) for splits.

She then gets her right leg abduction to 117 degree angle (45 to 50 is normal).

In her final move, she does a backflip with another 70 degrees.

Watch it for free on YouTube by clicking above video or clicking here:

3) The Supernatural Balance of the Ninja

This one is a 2:55 short video.

Ninjitsu expert Glen Levy appears on Fight Science (National Geographic show) to show mastery of balance on Plum Flower Poles.

Levy says the key is “most of my weight is on the ball of my foot letting my toes be like an insect’s antennae”.

Levy uses the foot and ankle (26 bones connected by 33 joints) (1/4 of the bones in the whole body).

At moments, Levy uses 26 bones and all 10 toes at a time.

Glen has “nearly zero sway”.

Watch Supernatural Balance of the Ninja for free on YouTube by clicking the video above or

4) Mythbusters: Can a Ninja Really Catch an Arrow?

Martial arts expert Anthony Kelly is tested. Will be be able to catch an arrow as ninja lore suggest.

Bonus: They also measure Anthony’s one-inch punch.

And then they have Anthony deflect an arrow with his sword.

Watch the Mythbusters Ninja episode for free on YouTube by clicking the above video. Or you can click

5) Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I know, Turtle Power is more about mutant turtles than actual ninjas. But, hey, these turtles made ninjas famous!

Director Randall Lobb tells the story of TMNT through interviews with creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

A simple comic idea explodes.
“LAIRD: From a comic to this?
EASTMAN: We changed history.”
Voices like Cam Clarke and Rob Paulsen reminisce. Memorable times. Michelan Sisti talks costumes. Judith Hoag’s “April O’Neil”? Iconic.

It wasn’t easy. Challenges? Plagiarism accusations. Controversies over violence. But triumphs too — record-breaking toy sales, timeless fandom. The TMNT legacy is undying.

Watch it on Paramount+ at There are some other options to get it through Apple TV, Prime Video and Roku here:

6) Masaaki Hatsumi: Living Ninja Legend

Legend & Mastery. “Masaaki Hatsumi: Living Ninja Legend” feels like stepping back into ancient Japan while standing firmly in the modern world.

84 years young… Masaaki Hatsumi isn’t just any grandmaster. Togakure-ryu’s helm for 900 years.

“HATSUMI: Ninjutsu isn’t just defense… it’s life.”

Over 100,000 students globally. In California universities, they teach his art.

At 27-years-old, Hatsumi began 15 years of intense mentorship. The result? Unmatched skill, even against the fiercest foes.

Dive into the life of this ninja icon.

Watch Living Ninja Legenda for free on YouTube through the above link or at

7) The Real History of the Ninja

In 1562, Tokugawa Yasu faces despair. His wife and son? Kidnapped. Solution? Ninjas. Shadows trained with lethal precision. Influenced by Sun Tzu and monks. Their game? Silent assassination.

Key scene: Castle’s cloak of darkness. Ninja’s move, silent whispers in night.

Poison. Hostages.

By dawn? Castle’s embers light the sky.

“YASU: Release my family!”
“WARLORD: Only for a price.”

Yasu’s ace card? 300 ninjas. Their tool? Nightingale floorboards – sneaky genius!

Result? Japan becomes ONE under Tokugawa’s rule.

But peace? A double-edged sword. Ninjas, once heroes… now myths. Their legacy? Martial arts schools and whispers.

Watch it for free on YouTube by clicking the above video or clicking here:

8) Ninja Secret History of the Ninja Uncovered (Full Documentary)

Ninjas Secret History of the Ninja Uncovered (Full Documentary) from dennis conchas on Vimeo.

This doc starts with 1594 Japan.

Dive into the lore of Japan’s most elusive warriors – the ninjas. While samurai brandished swords in honor, ninjas… they danced in the shadows. Hiroshi ropes in historian Dr. Stephen Turnbull and ninja maestro Stephen Hayes. Their task? Decode the mysteries of the ninja.


Origins in Iga province: Traced back to Buddhist monks, influenced by Chinese combat

Unique techniques: Shorter swords for tight spaces, and women warriors!

Crucial scene: A test: modern security vs. a ninja, Stephen Hayes, AND Navy SEALs. Spoiler? Ninja wins.

“STEPHEN HAYES: It’s not about the force… it’s the mind.”
SECURITY GUARD: How did he get past us?
STEPHEN HAYES: You saw… yet you didn’t.

Why watch? The fusion of history, combat techniques, and mind games! Learn WHY the ninjas, once seen as adversaries, became protectors for Shogun Yayasu Tokugawa in 1603.

Watch it for free on Vimeo by clicking the video above or this link:; or on YouTube at

9) Ancient Black Ops – Ninja

Feudal Japan. Covert ninjas. Stealth, assassination, unconventional tactics. Hired by warlords. Roles? Spying, assassination, protection, secret missions.

Origin? 12th century. First users? Buddhist monks, for spying. Skills? Passed down generations.

Training specifics:

  • Stealth: Silent moves, special clothes, camouflage.
  • Assassination: Swords, daggers, poison.
  • Unconventional: Poisoned darts, blowguns, smoke bombs.
  • Secrecy? Maximum. Some techniques survive today in ninjutsu.

Role in society? Immense.

Warlords’ secret weapon. Commoners’ fear and respect.

Flying ninjas? Myth. Yet, their prowess? Undeniable. Valued assets in feudal Japan.

Watch it by clicking the video above or visiting

10) Warriors of Japan: Samurai – Ninja – War Monks – History of Japan

Some ninja highlights of this doc (which has 2.2 million views on YouTube):

Note: There are focused parts about ninjas at 9:24 and 13:41 but there other references to ninjas throughout.

  • Feudal lords’ battles were not all out in the open. Enter the ninjas, shadowy pros from the 12th century Kamakura shogunate. “Shinobi”? It means “hider”.
  • Ninja training includes stealth, climbing, accent-mimicking, breathing, meditation, elemental hand signs (Kujikiri)? They mastered it. .
  • Tools of the trade: gunpowder, poisons, Bansin Shukai’s unique code.
  • Covert assassinations, sabotage, battlefield chaos — Ninjas did it, though many frowned upon them.
  • Female ninjas? Called Kunoichi. Some posed as cooks, others as geishas.
  • Ninja arts — that’s “Ninjutsu”.
  • Top ninja clans — Iga Ryu and Koga Ryu, with tactics shaped by their home terrains.
  • Hattori Hanzo? Ninja legend, crucial to Tokugawa Ieyasu’s rise.
  • Post-war — Tokugawa’s secret ninja crew was the Oniwabanshu, watching lords closely.
  • Meiji Restoration — ninjas went low-key, faced bans, taxes, and some identity changes. Their myth grew wilder.
  • 1931 espionage — ninjas spied on China.
  • Today, there are few ninjas left. Or perhaps they’re hidden! 🙂

Watch it by clicking the video above or here:

11) Ninja Master Rates 8 Ninjutsu Fights In Movies and TV | How Real Is It?

Jinichi Kawakami is an expert practitioner of Kōka-ryū ninjutsu. Kawakami stands as the final heir to the Ban clan’s Kōka-ryū ninjutsu legacy. He holds the title of honorary director at the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum and serves as a historical ninjutsu scholar and lecturer at Mie University.

In this doc, he analyzes ninja tactics used in major movies such as:

The portrayal of ninja missions and their relation to samurai in films like “Batman Begins” (2005) with Christian Bale and Liam Neeson, and “The Last Samurai” (2003) starring Tom Cruise.

He delves into the fight choreography of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1990) and critiques the authenticity of ninja weaponry in episodes from “The Boys” (2020), “Mortal Kombat” (2021), and “Naruto: Shippuden” (2016).

Additionally, he assesses the depiction of ninjutsu techniques in “Revenge of the Ninja” (1983) and “Ninja Assassin” (2009).

Watch this doc for free on YouTube by clicking the video above or this link:

12) Antony Cummins: Samurai and Ninja History

Antony Cummins is a YouTuber who has created a bunch of videos about Ninjas at

Some of the videos he’s collaborated on have received huge traffic (The Ninja: From Reality to Myth has 1.4 million views). I couldn’t find one ninja documentary of his in particular that stood out. But I include him here since he’s so prolific. Perhaps you’ll find one that’s useful.

Thanks for reading!