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Our Story

Taranaki’s Best Sushi Experience

Our values are to create a family ‘at home’ like atmosphere for our staff and our customers. We are proud to be serving authentic innovative and fresh Japanese flavours.

Sushi Ninja is not just a Japanese dining experience but also a cultural experience. We would like to grow together with our community and bring a “mini Japan” to New Plymouth, giving everybody a chance to experience Japanese hospitality and meet our staff (the Ninja family).

sushi ninja caravan where it all started
2005

It All Started with a Humble Food Caravan

We started off as a small caravan located on the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, selling sushi and other authentic Japanese food. In 2003, we came from Auckland, after hearing that “The Last Samurai” movie was to be filmed here.

Even though we thought we would mainly be catering for actors, extras, and other movie personnel, we ended up having a local cult following asking us to start a restaurant here.

sushi ninja restaurant opening
2007

The Opening of the Sushi Ninja Restaurant

Two and a half years later, we opened Sushi Ninja restaurant on the main road in Central New Plymouth. Ever since we opened in 2007, we have had a growing number of followers which led to our major renovations doubling the seating capacity.

winner of outstanding ethic establishment halamoana hospitality awards sushi ninja 2008
2008

Halamoana Awards

In 2008, at the annual Halamoana Hospitality awards, Sushi Ninja took out the winner of the outstanding ethic establishment, and Ken was also awarded the outstanding chef of 2008.

join hands for japan
2012

Join Hands for Japan

The Join Hands for Japan managed to raise $6,000 for the Save the Children Japan charity that have been helping children around the world for over 25 years. They are now focused on helping the children in Tohoku and have a well constructed five-year plan.

Sushi Ninja revamped and renovated
2014

Sushi Ninja Restaurant gets Revamped

The Sushi Ninja restaurant had a complete makeover, expanding the premises and allowing for a new contemporary style throughout the restaurant.

sushi ninja express
2017

The Opening of the Sushi Ninja Express Restaurant in Centre City

The first-ever sushi train in New Plymouth. The design of the Sushi Ninja Express restaurant has been made specifically to accommodate our custom-made sushi conveyor belt.

sushi ninja history timeline
2020

Update

Sadly Covid 19 caused the permanent closure of our Sushi Ninja Express shop in Centre City, despite our best efforts to keep it going. We are eternally grateful to all those who supported us through crowd-funding to open it and for the three years of its operation.

One door has closed, but another has opened! We managed to bring the sushi train to our Devon Street main shop, so customers can continue to enjoy the best of both worlds under one roof. The Sushi Train is available during lunch hours. Our usual Izakaya-style dine-in meals continue in the evenings.

 

You can now book online (including takeaway pick-ups) and we look forward to welcoming you to the special atmosphere of “Mini Japan in Taranaki”.

Past articles and blogs

Our Team

Say Konnichiwa!

Ken

Ken Kurota

Owner | Chef

Hails from Yamagata, Japan. With over 30 years of experience in Japanese cuisine, Ken is passionate about sharing his experience with you all. His menus include everyone’s favourite comfort foods and innovative dishes to satisfy a variety of tastes. He takes pride in presenting high-quality, fresh meals. (Please note his sushi is all made fresh on the spot, so this may take some time when we are busy, but good things take time).

Awards

  • Winner of Outstanding Ethnic Restaurant 2008 Halamoana Hospitality Awards
  • Winner of Outstanding Chef 2008– Ken Kurota Halamoana Hospitality Awards
  • Finalist of Outstanding Ethnic Restaurant 2009 Halamoana Hospitality Awards
  • Finalist of Outstanding Takeout Establishment 2009 Halamoana Hospitality Awards
  • Finalist ofOutstanding Ethnic Restaurant 2010 Halamoana Hospitality Awards
  • Finalist of Outstanding Ethnic Restaurant 2011 & 2012 Halamoana Hospitality Awards
Sophie

Sophie Kurota

Owner | Manager

Sophie also has more than 30 years of experience in hospitality. She loves to interact with customers and to feel they are friends & part of the Ninja family. Her front-of-house team are also very much part of the family environment created over 15 years of operation. She is half Japanese and half Kiwi, bilingual and bi-cultural, having been brought up in Tokyo where her mother was born and moving to New Zealand after graduating from high school.

sushi ninja new plymouth - team photo

Minami, Sophie and Ken


Sushi Ninja is a family business that looks after the soul with comfort food. Our values are to create a family-like atmosphere in which both staff & customers can feel at home. We are proud to be serving authentic, innovative & fresh Japanese flavours. Sushi Ninja is not just a Japanese dining experience but also a cultural experience. We would like to grow together with our community & bring a “mini Japan” to New Plymouth, giving everybody a chance to experience Japanese hospitality & meet the Ninja family.

sushi ninja group photo

The Sushi Ninja Crew


Our Customers

The food was absolutely amazing! My favourite was definitely the Aburi Teriyaki Eel and to finish, the Banana Tempura was so tasty. Fast service and friendly staff! Definitely a favourite in New Plymouth :).

ARUMA KIRITOSHI

Found this place while walking down the street. Go in and try it. The food was amazing. The service was exceptional from the family-run team.

Try the Supreme Teriyaki Roll it was so good that I had to have a second.

CAM SMITH

The food is beautiful – almost worth coming all the way from Otago for it! Hot and spicy karaage has such a good amount of spice and the takeaway super teriyaki don is just amazing. Can’t fault the food or service!

LACEY COULSON

We love Sushi Ninja. It’s a family favourite so everyone was excited to go to Sushi Ninja. Amazing food fantastic friendly staff and kids loved it.

GERRY CARINO

This place serves great sushi and other dishes and it always comes with a friendly smile. Either dine-in or takeaway I have always been very satisfied with the quality and value.

ALBERT D

Great food awesome service…so glad to have a sushi train lunch in New Plymouth.

KIRISA & JEREMY BOYLAN
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