Got a request for info on Japanese ninja wear outside the usual off-the-rack martial arts gear that’s pretty much stuck in the 80’s mail order mold. So here’s a few shops and their offerings.
Should be noted that all this stuff is in the realm of costuming, and won’t be up to the rigors of martial arts training. Fine for you indie film guys and cosplayers though.
*If you DO want to explore some high-end training gear that’s closer to the source than the average Karate-Mart’s, a great place to start is Shinobi Outfitters and vendors they portal to like Yamato Budogu.
Bokunan-Do sells a huge variety of traditional Japanese formal and casual wear, stage costuming, festival and parade gear, etc., with large sections of shinsengumi repros, samurai and ninja costuming, an awesome selection of basket hats, and even complete ‘travelling crow’ period yakuza garb! Fans, sandals, underwear, archery gloves, you name it.
English-language ordering, too, and we can personally recommend their customer service.
Now, we haven’t used any of the below, but know people who have. They’ve all been around for years, the websites have some bi-lingual capabilities, and we’re confident in their reputability:
Ninja-Isyo sells various grades of costumes to both the public and the entertainment industry. Unique to them is the variety of off-beat colors, including those weird brown and peach shades you see in 70s and 80s Japanese TV. Love this stuff!
The Rakuten shop is affiliated with some of the Iga-Ryu ninja theme parks/museums (and related books), supplying movie-derivative costuming to performers and public alike. Plenty of Azumi-wear and Hanzo hoods!
Shinobi-Ya has more souvenir-grade costumes for all ages, good for a single-night Halloween party or the like. They also have a wide variety of weapons and martial arts-related giftware.
And just to crowbar in some personal advice… for my dollar, you grab a training-grade hakama from any martial arts supply depot, a judo gi top, improvise your own tie-downs and you’re more than halfway there. A visit to any textile outlet provides much of the rest.
The historical accuracy of the oft debated ‘ninja suit’ isn’t something you need to sweat, so you’re either aspiring to a movie or TV costume or are wide open to your own interpretations. I prefer the latter. Be creative. Go nuts!
*** We’re looking to follow this piece up with a round-up of more folks providing custom costuming and tailored training gear, so if you are one of those craftspeople or have had good experiences with one, please give us a shout! ***