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Zatoichi's Pilgrimage (1966)

Zatôichi umi o wataru (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 13 August 1966 (Japan)
Zatoichi's trek through 88 temples to atone for his violent past is interrupted as he stumbles into a village terrorized by a violent yakuza boss.


Kazuo Ikehiro


Kan Shimozawa (story), Kaneto Shindô

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1 nomination. See more awards »


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In a town where debt-ridden peasants are being ruthlessly exploited, Zatoichi is forced to take sides between a cruel yakuza boss and his seemingly altruistic rival.

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Zatoichi runs afoul of some evil fugitives, working for a corrupt law official.

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After Zatoichi learns of his sensei's murder he uncovers a horrible conspiracy involving the local government and crime family.

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The blind swordsman tries to locate a girl's missing father.

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After being wounded in a fight, Zatoichi is nursed to health by a young woman and her father. Now indebted to the family, he works to protect their ferry business from local thugs.

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Zatoichi is tricked by a crime gang into killing a man. Realizing his mistake, he sets out to protect the dead man's sister, who is conflicted in accepting his help.

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When Zatoichi witnesses the murder of a young mother he promises to deliver the baby to the father. Along the way he gains the help of a reluctant criminal.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Saburô Date, Nobuo Kaneko


Credited cast:
Shintarô Katsu ... Zatoichi
Michiyo Yasuda Michiyo Yasuda ... Kichi
Kunie Tanaka ... Man speaks a lot
Hisashi Igawa ... Eigoro
Masao Mishima Masao Mishima ... Nanashino Gonbei
Jôtarô Senba Jôtarô Senba ... Bokasuri
Ryûtarô Gomi Ryûtarô Gomi ... Jyonenbo
Isao Yamagata Isao Yamagata ... Boss Tohachi
Saburô Date Saburô Date ... Kagimatsu
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yôichi Funaki Yôichi Funaki
Kenshiro Hara Kenshiro Hara
Yukio Horikita Yukio Horikita
Jun Katsumura Jun Katsumura ... Tohachi yakuza
Masako Morishita Masako Morishita ... Little girl on boat
Manabu Morita Manabu Morita ... Takuji


Ichi seeks out on a pilgrimage to 81 temples, exploring spirituality to atone for his bloody past. On the way, Ichi stumbles into a village that's being bullied by a violent Yakuza boss and his henchmen. After killing a young, hired assassin, Ichi is led back to the young man's village by his peculiar horse. Upon learning that her brother is dead, Okichi (Yasuda Michiyo) grabs a sword and attacks Ichi, either in an attempt to avenge her brother or in an attempt to commit suicide by forcing Ichi to defend himself. After injuring Ichi, Okichi tends to his wounds, nurses him back to health, and begins to have feelings for him. The Yakuza boss still wants Ichi dead in order to take over the village and now Ichi alone must deal with the boss and his gang, the young woman's feelings and a village full of cowards, who will not stand up for themselves! Written by Jesus

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Not Rated






Release Date:

13 August 1966 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman's Pilgrimage See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Daiei Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Miramax purchased the U.S. rights to film Zatoichi's Pilgrimage a number of years ago. Apparently, director Quentin Tarantino was interested in directing a remake. Not long after this, Japanese director Takeshi Kitano created his own updated version of the series, The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003), which was released to theaters and DVD in the U.S. through Miramax. The future of Tarantino's version is uncertain. Also uncertain as a result of this was a U.S. DVD release of the original Zatoichi's Pilgrimage, until Criterion released it on DVD and Blu-ray as part of a complete series box set in 2013. See more »


Film crew is visible behind Kichi when she was praying on the altar. See more »


Zatoichi: In the darkness, I have the advantage.
See more »


Followed by Mang jian xue di zi (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

A twist for Zatoichi fans
22 January 2010 | by poikkeusSee all my reviews

The general standard for Zatoichi films is fairly high - though you can expect the same motifs and themes from one movie to the next. Zatoichi's Pilgrimage brings the series to a new level. Our blind swordsman (Kintaro Katsu) is troubled by his violent past, and vows to visit a circuit of shrines until the gods give him an answer to his spiritual quest. This quest brings him into contact with a group of brigands who all but rule the area, and he's left with little choice but to reassess his spiritual quest.

The screenplay is especially intriguing. Zatoichi's pilgrimage begins as a sea voyage, and the water theme repeatedly makes its way into the plot. In the hope of realizing his quest, a rider- less horse follows the blind swordsman to where he's most needed - suggesting that Zatoichi may have already found his destiny. An assured storytelling makes this one of the more satisfying of the long series.

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