Some of the Zatoichi films standout due to the talent involved and that is the case with Kazuo Ikehiro, who has directed some of the best films in the series (Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold and Zatoichi's Flashing Sword) in Zatoichi's Pilgrimage (1966). This is Ikehiro's third film in the series and this is the second in 1966. This film also benefits from the talents of director-screenplay writer Kaneto Shindo (Onibaba among other films). He wrote a captivating opening sequence at sea in a ship that introduces Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) and his brand of justice and sets the action in Shikoku. Zatoichi is on a pilgrimage to atone for his many killings. The cinematography of Shikoku is beautifully captured by cinematographer Senkichiro Takeda. As are the villains on their steeds and Zatoichi climbing the steps to a temple on his pilgrimage. He kills a would be assassins and follows his horse home only to find himself in the protector role of the man's sister Okichi (Michiyo Okusu) and her village that is soon to be under siege by a local yakuza boss, Tohachi (Isao Yamagata). The amazing swordsman feat is cutting an arrow in two that was fired at him while quartering a melon thrown in the air. There is the usual showdown between Zatoichi and the evil gang and their boss. But this one stands out with the great direction and cinematography recounting an atypical story line.