Samurai (侍) are a military power similar to shinobi, though not nearly as widespread. In Gaara Hiden, samurai and shinobi are noted to have first diverged in how they received the teachings of ninshū: samurai were more spiritual and idealistic, while shinobi focused on using their chakra to keep people's bonds alive. Only the Land of Iron continues to use samurai, with all other countries having since opted to use shinobi. In the anime, the Land of This consisted of former samurai, what Tatewaki calls rogue samurai (浪人, rōnin).
Samurai usually wear heavy, segmented plate armour that covers the shoulders, chest, stomach and lower back (anime only), upper back, lower sides, and thighs. They also wear gauntlets, shin guards, and helmets; senior officers adorn their helmets with horns. The face masks they wear have built-in radios and double as respirators to combat poison regularly used by shinobi. Samurai wield as many as four swords, the scabbards of which are mounted directly onto their faulds.
The Third Tsuchikage claims that any shinobi would be foolish to challenge the samurai of the Land of Iron. All samurai are practised sword users, into which they channel their chakra. This allows them to extend the reach of their swords, alter the shape to appear as other weapons, and launch the chakra across distances as crescents of energy. Samurai are typically taught Iaidō (居合道) to increase the speed at which they draw and sheath their swords, allowing them to attack before opposing shinobi can perform the hand seals required to use ninjutsu.
- Earlier in the series, Gatō had two samurai bodyguards, Zōri and Waraji, in his employ. Whether they were originally from the Land of Iron, or were taught by another organisation, is unknown.
- In Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, Sandayū Asama led a group of 50 samurai to attack Dotō Kazahana.
- Samurai traditionally use katana, but the standard-issue sword wielded by the samurai of the Land of Iron seem to be closer in size and appearance to wakizashi.
- Kusarigama are seen in the samurai's armoury in the Land of Iron, despite the fact that Kusarigama are traditionally of ninja origin.
- In Shikamaru Hiden: A Cloud Drifting in Silent Darkness, it is mentioned that the Land of Silence is a formerly samurai-led country on a distant continent that was taken over by a shinobi named Gengo before he was defeated by forces from Konoha and Sunagakure.
- Naruto chapter 531, pages 6-7, 10-12
- Second Fanbook, page 201
- Naruto chapter 460, page 12
- Naruto chapter 531, page 13
- Naruto chapter 18, page 13
- Naruto chapter 523, page 4