The endless travels of the blind swordsman have unexpectedly led him back to the town of Kasama. A chance meeting with a girl, Omiyo stirs up memories, when Zatoichi learns that they were both raised by the same woman. He is invited to stay with Omiyo and her grandfather, Sakubei, who remembers Zatoichi as a child. Zatoichi's arrival has coincided with a 'welcome home' feast for Shinbei, his childhood friend. Shinbei has returned home a rich businessman, and pays the town's taxes which it cannot afford, apparently due to the poor rice harvest. But Shinbei's motives are far from pure. With the townsfolk now in his debt, he is free to plunder their quarry and to sell their stone across country. Zatoichi discovers that Shinbei is in league with the corrupt magistrate whose outsized measuring box is the real reason why the town could not pay its taxes. In order to save his hometown, Zatoichi must confront his former friend and end the conspiracy of rice and stone.