When you think of Japan almost everybody thinks of ninjas, but what about when you think about Japanese dining? In Kyoto, the two go hand in hand at the famous “Ninja restaurant”. Located near Kawaramachi station on the Hankyu line, it’s within easy reach of downtown Kyoto so it’s a perfect spot to start a night out with a truly unique dining experience.
There are two ways to enjoy the Ninja restaurant; firstly, the restaurant itself and secondly the Ninja theatre. If you go to the restaurant, you will first meet a ninja guide who will lead you through the labyrinth-like caves down into the restaurant hidden underground and to your table. The Ninja theme is carried on in incredible detail, the menus are ninja scrolls and while you are waiting for you meal there are crackers shaped like throwing stars to keep you going.
Even the food itself is themed with dishes having names like “pork hiding in the leaves” or the “ninja teleportation chicken steak” – both of which are delicious by the way! Everything is presented beautifully and especially the desserts with white chocolate snow frogs and miniature edible bonsai trees. If you’re lucky you might even meet one of the ninja masters who’ll show you some of their ninja magic at your table!
If you choose the ninja theatre you can watch a spectacular ninja performance while you eat. The show lasts about 2 hours and features acrobatics, wire work, fire and projection mapping for an incredible accompaniment to your meal. You can order from the menu just like in the restaurant or there are a number of set courses to choose from. If you make the trip on Ninja day – February 22nd because of the sound of the Japanese number 2 “ni” so “ninini” – there is a special ninja performance competition you can watch too! Just be sure to book the tickets in advance.
我が里、スイーツビュッフェのアイドル諭吉＆華音にござる。二人が持っているのは「春季限定 忍者菓子職人手製 花見菓子 」にござる。是非一度ご賞味あれ。春季限定菓子は他にも何種類もござるぞ！ pic.twitter.com/vzTWqXfb
— 忍者京都迷宮殿 (@NinjaKyoto_Nin) March 6, 2012
Whether you like ninjas or not the restaurant is worth a visit and the food is fantastic, but if you have any interest in ninjas at all it’s a must-do while you’re in Kyoto!
*This restaurant is permanently closed in 2018.