7. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Part 5: Sunken Valley and Ashina DepthsUpdate notes

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Head forward, jump and grapple across a gap and kill an enemy with a rifle when you land. Then continue forward and grapple across two tree branches to another platform with an enemy. You went up/left from here previously to get a Gourd Seed. Instead, head right and drop down, grapple across another gap and drop down once more to reach a platform where you can shimmy along the wall. Do so, then look ahead to see an area below with a tree branch grapple point and a patrolling enemy. There will be a second enemy just out of sight to the right and a stronger enemy with a cannon just past him in a little rock formation. One way to handle this is to stealth kill the first enemy, grapple/run away to lose aggro, then return and kill the second enemy so you can go one on one with the cannoneer. His melee attacks are slow and easily deflected and he can only shoot the cannon every so often (and remember- you can guard gunshots). After killing them, commune/rest at the Sculptor's Idol and then talk to the dying rat enemy nearby.

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Looking ahead, you'll see a platform with a stone face and a bridge behind it.

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You can jump towards and grapple to the two platforms below in order to get to the larger platform (move quickly as you'll be shot at here) which contains a mini-boss- Snake Eyes Shirafuji (VIDEO). This encounter can be difficult until you learn her attacks and understand how to deal with them (sounds familiar, huh?). The perilous grab is particularly dangerous as it pulls you in, then stuns you so she can shoot you, which deals huge damage. As soon as you see it coming, jump backward immediately or you'll get caught. Right from the start, you can run to the left side of her area, grapple up to a branch, and then head around to the bridge in the back. If you run about halfway across the bridge to lose her aggro (once her health bar disappears), you can run back to the shimmy wall area and wait to completely lose aggro so that you can then drop down and CAREFULLY sneak up and deal a stealth deathblow (VIDEO). This strategy will make it so you only have to fight her normally for a single deathblow. Just be sure to zigzag on the bridge to try to avoid incoming gunfire.

Again, her biggest threat is her perilous grab, so as soon as you see it, jump back and to the side to avoid it. You want to employ the usual "attack until deflected, then be prepared to react" strategy. If she counterattacks with a single melee attack, deflect it and repeat. If she kicks you away, she will follow up with a gunshot that you can dodge through to then counterattack. After defeating her you will receive a Prayer Bead (18/40). Loot the items on this platform, climb up and hug the wall around to the left, then get ready to storm the Gun Fort.

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Run across the bridge and towards the end there will be a hole that you can fall through, then grapple as you fall to reach a tree branch. Keep moving/grappling/jumping forward to get back to solid ground and make your way up and to the left. Your goal is to get to an entrance at the top/left side of this area that leads to a path with a Sculptor's Idol. There are numerous enemies outside and inside so I'll leave it to you to kill them and explore the area for items. Try to avoid stepping on patches of rocks with hay underneath as these set off firecrackers that alert nearby enemies. If you act carefully you can stealth kill everyone outside, then hug the first wall inside and stealth kill an approaching enemy from cover (GIF), leaving two cannoneers inside. You can climb to the wooden truss from the outside and stealth kill one from above, then directly engage the last one (or just run through to the idol if it's easier). When the area is clear, follow the path to the Sculptor's Idol to commune and rest. Cross the nearby bridge and follow the path until you see a room with another mini boss- Long-arm Centipede Giraffe (VIDEO). Handle him just like the other one- deflect his flurries (which always come with a timing of 1-2-3-4.. 1-2-3-4-5.. 6) and jump to avoid his perilous sweep. There's no way to stealth the first deathblow so you must deal two to defeat him which awards you a Yellow Gunpowder and a Prayer Bead (19/40).

Pick up the Large Fan Shinobi Tool under the Buddha statue before dropping through the hole on the floor to the left. Crouch and go around to the left to find a Yellow Gunpowder, then go back and continue through an opening and down a path that leads to a fork. Right is a dead end so go left and you'll come to a ledge. Look up/right and you'll see a grapple point on a wooden beam.

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Grapple here and you'll see that there are two more grapple points- one on the left and one to the right. Grapple to the left first and run into a cave with a bunch of crickets to find a Divine Confetti, then run out and grapple to the other side. From this ledge, you can look down to see an item on the ground below. There are a few enemies (three mini centipedes and three poison lizards) in this small room so drop down, kill them, and loot the items to find a Prayer Bead (20/40), then grapple back to the upper platform. With the cricket cave across from you, grapple up to the left, then jump forward and grapple to a wooden walkway. Grapple jump from the end to a platform, then grapple up from here to the bridge and the Sculptor's Idol. Rest and redeem your four prayer beads for the Fifth Prayer Necklace, then head back to Long-arm Centipede Giraffe's room and unlock the door on the far side with the Gun Fort Shrine Key.
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You'll see a bridge outside but it's a trap and you cannot get across because when you get halfway across, the giant snake will attack you and break the bridge, causing you to fall into the water below. You want to avoid this if possible by running about 3/4 of the way across the shady part, then immediately turning around and running back to solid ground. This should trigger the snake to attack the bridge without causing you to fall. Should you fall into the water below, you'll have to try to swim to a cave on the right side of the area with a Sculptor's Idol while being attacked by the snake, but if you beeline it for the cave as soon as you hit the water, you should get there without getting killed.

Either way, travel to the Outskirts Wall - Stairway idol in Ashina Outskirts to advance some NPC questlines. Drop off on the left and go back to the building to interact with Anayama the Peddler. Talk to him several times and you will give him information on salt from an Eavesdrop in Ashina Castle. Run back to the idol to rest, then return to him and he wall ask you to find someone to help him with his business- someone big and strong (also note that he sells the Phantom Kunai for 3000 sen that you eventually need for a prosthetic upgrade). Return to the idol and travel to the Senpou Temple, Mt. Kongo idol. Exit the building and head right to talk to Kotaro, the sad guy by the tree. Give him the "Red and White Pinwheel" and then "Suggest a travel destination," choosing "Tell him about Anayama the Peddler" which further expands Anayama's wares.

Drop down to the left to the area with the rat enemy and the kite mechanism. Equip Puppeteer Ninjutsu, then backstab the rat and press cn_R1 to perform the puppeteer skill (GIF). This will cause him to operate the mechanism and fully extend the kite which you can now use to access a new area. Make your way back to the main path and run to the building at the end, grapple into the ceiling, and continue through the next room and out the window. Grapple onto the large tree on the right and when you approach the end you'll get a grapple indicator on the kite.

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Use it to swing over to the other side. From here, look down and to the right and you'll see another platform below a tree branch but there will be no grapple indicator. Jump that way nonetheless and a grapple indicator will appear as you get closer that you can use to swing to the platform. Look right from here and you'll see another swing grapple indicator on a branch above, so use it to swing towards the final platform down below, which you'll need to grapple to as you get close enough. Enter the cave and commune/rest at the Sculptor's Idol.

There is one exit from this cave that leads to a precarious wooden platform. Walk out onto it and look down to see the giant snake below. You can lock onto him, then jump off and perform a deathblow, then another to kill him (GIF), which gives you the Fresh Serpent Viscera (an item that is required for the "Return" ending) and unlocks a trophy:

You'll land on a platform below which is where the bridge that the snake destroyed previously lead to. This area is a dead end but be careful not to get close to the broken bridge before looting the nearby items (nothing of which is of any sort of importance) as the ground around the broken bridge is misleading and you will fall unexpectedly. When you're ready, jump into the water below and swim to the cave on the other side of the area.

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Commune/rest at the Sculptor's Idol, then grapple up to a platform that leads back outside. Continue heading forward and up until you reach a large valley with giant statues along the sides. Move through this area and you'll eventually see a platform with a dozen or so monkeys huddled together. Fight them if you want (you get a Monkey Booze for killing them all) or simply run past them to get to a large statue with a ropelike ledge that you can walk on to then grapple across to the platform on the other side. Commune/rest at the Sculptor's Idol. There will may be an NPC nearby that asks for rice in exchange for info (I'm not sure what causes her to be there), but the gist is that the poison valley below leads to a temple that contains an item needed for one of the endings, which is what we'll go get now. If you look in the distance, you'll notice a large ape with his back to you- that's one of the next major bosses. We'll be back for him in a bit. For now, look the other way for some ledges below you that you can drop down to.

Look ahead from the lowest ledge and you'll see some tree branches on either side about halfway down- do a running jump and grapple to the one on the left, then jump/grapple over to the one on the right. You can then drop down to the ground level, but beware as the green water will cause poison buildup. Loot the items behind you, then head the other way. You'll see some swing grapple points above you that you can use to swing forward and reach a fork in the valley. There is a strong monkey enemy wielding two swords in this area and depending on where he is, you might be able to get behind him for a backstab. If you need to fight him directly, just use the usual deflect/counterattack strategy to kill him. The fork to the left is a dead end with several monkeys and a few items strewn about. Your best plan here is to grapple to the branch above them, then swing from a tree down to the platform they are on and do a backstab any monkey, then use Bloodsmoke Ninjutsu so you can stealth kill the strong white monkey with the swords.

The right fork has a tent with a Memorial Mob NPC (with nothing really worth buying) and a cave beyond.

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Head into the cave and run forward, but keep moving at a steady pace and ignore the lizards. If you see a red kanji appear, it means that a wall-bound apparition is about to appear and attack you. If you keep moving, you'll get past them without issue. When you see the giant white snake, stay left and go between the two visible parts of it, after which you'll need to crouch to get under an overhang. Continue staying to the left as you make your way deeper into the cave. You'll need to jump onto a platform along the left wall, then drop down to a lower level at which point you'll see the snake in front of you and it's not happy. Drop down on the left, then climb up to a platform with a terrified monkey. Use Puppeteer Ninjutsu on the monkey and it will jump up to a high ledge on the left and start making noise. Watch the snake and as soon as it goes after the monkey, grapple up and quickly run into the building. You'll see a statue in the back with an item- Dried Serpent Viscera, which you need for the "Return" ending. Look up and you'll see a grapple point- use it, follow the path to find a Divine Confetti, then backtrack slightly and look up for another grapple point that you can use to make your way to a ledge overlooking an open area with a large statue.
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Commune/rest at the Sculptor's Idol to the right of this statue. Grapple and climb up from the idol to reach a platform where you can get a good view of this area. There is a mini-boss here along with a few normal enemies- two by the structure to the left, one by the structure on the right, and one up on the scaffolding behind the structure on the right. The mini-boss Snake Eyes Shirahagi (VIDEO) is near the back wall just to the right of the slanted statue. This is basically a duplicate of Snake Eyes Shirafuji except fought in this poison area with a few enemies around. You want to deal a stealth deathblow to cut the fight in half. This is only possible, though, by using a Genshiin's Sugar, then grappling from the platform above the idol to the slanted statue and sneaking up on her from the side. You'll be leaving the normal enemies alive and hopefully you can kill the boss without any of them getting involved. I couldn't find a way to lose her aggro without resting at an idol, so it seems that the only other option is to run around and kill the four normal enemies, then deal two deathblows to Snake Eyes Shirahagi through regular combat. Once she is dead you will receive a Prayer Bead (21/40). You can then kill the enemies in the room to loot items (don't worry about the item atop the tall statue- you can't get that from here), then head forward through the cave.

Before dropping down to an area below, grapple into a small area up and to the left. Crouch to proceed and look left to find a ledge you can jump up to. Wall climb to reach the top and you'll be overlooking the previous area near a statue. Get close and you can grapple to the head to find a Prayer Bead (22/40). Backtrack, go left when at the bottom (crouch to get through), and kill a monkey to find a Monkey Booze. You can drop into the large open room ahead which will contain a boss later, then grapple up on the far side until you reach an outside area. Look left and talk with the samurai that you met earlier (unimportant NPC quest progression), then grapple across a gap and you'll find a Sculptor's Idol. Commune and rest, then walk to the edge and look ahead.

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You'll see some tree branches and a raised platform in the distance. There is an area below full of mist with an optional Headless mini-boss that you should avoid for now. There's actually no trophy-related need to kill any of the Headless but if you want to, it'll be easier later in the game. Feel free to drop down there and scout for items if you want to. You can interact with a monk on the central platform in front of a statue, then turn around and look for the tree branch just below the ledge (with your back facing the statue). Jump down to it, then jump over to a lower branch to the right and follow it to a ledge. At the end of this path you can hug the wall and shimmy across. At the end, jump from the branch to a ledge on the left and slowly move forward. The area ahead contains a mini-boss and four monkeys. You can pull the monkeys to you by grabbing their aggro with shurikens (two shots will kill them). Kill all four, then from the branch on the left, run and grapple swing to a platform on the right. Continue forward and grapple up and to the right. At the top you'll see a grapple point on a tree branch and the roof of a building.

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The area below is full of mist and apparition enemies. Carefully grapple to the tree, then jump across onto the level of the roof that the branch leads you to (not the upper level) and go around to the other side to see a hole that leads into the building. Drop to the rafters and you'll see the Mist Noble, a joke of a mini-boss below. Do a plunging deathblow, then just continually attack him until you can do the second to kill him. This will dispel the mist and the apparition enemies in the surrounding areas.

If you look out the back of the building you'll see the path forward, but for now, explore the immediate area for items and then head back to fight Tokujiro the Glutton (VIDEO), the mini-boss that you just ran past. You can get to him by heading away from the house along the right wall until you see the second branch that you can grapple up to.

This guy is just a reskinned version of Juzou the Drunkard from Hirata Estates. Make sure all of the monkeys are dead before starting this battle and fall back if needed to lose Tokujiro's aggro if necessary. A stealth deathblow will make things much easier, so grapple to the nearby branch, then run and grapple swing to the second branch to land on a platform behind him. Drop down the foe stealth deathblow, then engage him normally. Get when away from his perilous grab, dodge to the side when he does the delayed overhead slash, and deflect most of his other attacks until you can do the second deathblow. You'll receive Unrefined Sake and a Prayer Bead (23/40).

Follow the path up and around again to get back to the area with the house/Mist Noble and take the path to the left. Drop down to a ledge below and grapple across to a branch and you'll see the blue glow of a Sculptor's Idol down below. Drop down, grapple across, and drop down again to get to the idol; commune and rest. There is a tough Lone Shadow samurai in the ravine below. If you want to fight him, start by looking across the gap to find a dog which you can lock on to and kill with a shuriken so it doesn't bother you while fighting the samurai. You'll also see a familiar tent nearby with another Memorial Mob NPC but nothing he is offering is worth buying. The area ahead, Mibu Village, contains a lot of weak enemies.

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A stream and lake separate it into two sides. For now, stick to the left side make your way forward past mostly weak enemies who aren't worth fighting as they will continue coming endlessly. Be aware of the blue-robed enemies who can do a perilous grab. There are several small buildings, a few with holes in the roof that you can use to explore the inside. Keep going until you see a tree with white leaves and a few enemies and items at the base- one is a Gourd Seed (8/9). From here, continue forward past a large enemy with a bell and find a bridge on the right side that leads to a Sculptor's Idol where you can commune and rest. Travel back to Upper Tower - Kuro's Room in Ashina Castle so Emma can reinforce your Healing Gourd, then return (Water Mill idol) and continue forward.

You'll see an NPC on the left as you enter a large, open area. This is O'Rin of the Water (VIDEO), a mini-boss who is initially unhostile. Talk to her and she will ask if you've seen her lord and since you haven't, she will become hostile. You shouldn't need to attack her at all; instead, deflect her attacks and when you see her perilous sweep coming, jump over it. The difficulty comes in figuring out the timing of her attacks and deflecting properly. You'll need to try to find time to guard and reduce posture buildup if necessary. Continue deflecting her attacks until you can deal both deathblows to kill her, after which you will receive a Prayer Bead (24/40) and the Breath of Life: Shadow skill (which restores more vitality with every deathblow). Head back towards the idol and you'll see Jinzaemon Kumanogo, a familiar NPC. Talk to him to receive Jinza's Jizo Statue, then run back to the idol and redeem four prayer beads for the Sixth Prayer Necklace.

Head back past the O'Rin area and cross a bridge. Grapple to a tree branch and you'll see a building with several enemies in front.

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The goal here is to get into a crawlspace to the right of the house entrance and it's up to you whether or not you want to clear out the enemies first (if you do, run up and stealth kill the large one with the bell first). Follow the path under the house to the end to reach a Shinobi shortcut and press cn_S to use the rotating door, taking you to the inside of the house. Loot the items in the house and talk to the NPC if you want, then climb onto the rocks outside and grapple up to the upper level to find a Prayer Bead (25/40). Grab the other items around this area, then use the rotating door to get back outside (if you don't have full Spirit Emblems, go back and rest at the idol).

Follow the path around the left of the house and prepare for a battle with the Corrupted Monk (VIDEO). There are a few ways to cheese this boss, but my preferred method is to use a Divine Confetti and an Ako's Sugar, then stunlock him with Shinobi Firecrackers and, if needed, Fistfuls of Ash. The general gist is attack twice, firecracker/ash, attack twice, and repeat until you can deliver the deathblow. If you'd prefer to engage her normally, you still want to use Divine Confetti so your damage isn't terrible but the battle will be considerably more difficult. Once she is defeated, you will receive Memory: Corrupted Monk and the Mibu Breathing Technique skill which allows you to swim underwater. Commune/rest at the new Sculptor's Idol and enhance attack power with Memory: Corrupted Monk to permanently increase your attack power (from 5 to 6). Then run into the cave and you'll enter a large, open area.

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Interact with an item on a pedestal to receive the Shelter Stone. Head back to the idol and travel to the Bodhisattva Valley idol in Sunken Valley as it's now time to fight the Guardian Ape (VIDEO).

This is a difficult two phase battle. For the first phase, the general plan is to deflect his often erratic, flailing attacks and carefully chip away when you have an opening.

You can stun him every 20 seconds or so with the Shinobi Firecracker which will allow you to get several attacks in, but be careful as he will often rear up, then slam down right after the firecracker hits him (dodge to the side to avoid this).

He has two perilous attacks- a left to right sweep that you want to jump over and a charging grapple that you need to run directly backward to get away from.

He will sometimes swipe, then slam onto his back where he then flails back and forth a few times- if you can get around to his head you can safely attack while he is flailing.

If you get directly behind him he may fart out a cloud of poisonous gas (sidestep quickly to get out of it), then he will create distance, defecate into his hand, and jump into the air to throw his feces at you. If he does this, you want to run directly under him as soon as he jumps, then attack him a couple of times after he lands.

Once you deal the first deathblow, you will cut off the ape's head and it will die, only to come back to life for phase two.

This phase is immune to firecrackers but the loaded spear can be used to deal decent posture damage if you are able to deflect attacks to cause the ape to fall towards you onto its chest. The most important thing to be aware of is a perilous attack where it winds up, then releases a huge bloody cloud that causes damage and terror build up- as soon as you see this coming, run away in any direction as fast as you can.

He has a couple of patterns of five or so sword swipes that, if deflected properly, cause him to either fall onto his chest or rear upright for a falling downward slash which, if deflected properly, causes the same falling onto chest result (if you miss a deflect, he changes to a different attack). Once this happens, quickly stab him in the neck straight on with the Loaded Spear, then press cn_R1 a second time (which yanks the centipede out and causes posture damage), then charge in for a few follow up attacks.

He also does a quick perilous sweep that you need to jump over, a slower, forward-lunging slash that you want to jump over after he lands, and a perilous sweep at the end of a high upwards jump that you need to jump over.

Once you deal another deathblow, the ape will be killed for good and a trophy will unlock:

You will also receive Memory: Guardian Ape and the Slender Finger, which is the last Shinobi Tool. Commune and rest at the new Sculptor's Idol and enhance attack power with Memory: Guardian Ape to permanently increase your attack power (from 6 to 7), then run into the cave to find the Lotus of the Palace. Use the Homeward Idol to return to the Dilapidated Temple and talk to the Sculptor. Choose Fit New Prosthetic Tool and have him create the Divine Abduction from the Large Fan (9/10) and the Finger Whistle from the Slender Finger (10/10) and a trophy will unlock:

Having acquired both the Lotus of the Palace and the Shelter Stone, the story advances and most of the Ashina Castle idols can no longer be traveled to. Before continuing on, we'll be backtracking to use the new Mibu Breathing Technique to swim underwater in areas we've been in already. Start by traveling to the Temple Grounds idol in Senpou Valley.

Drop down to the roof below and head to the edge, looking down to see a small lake.

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Jump in and you'll get an Underwater Movement explanation. Kill the two treasure carps and then press cn_R2 to dive, then take a minute to get acquainted with the controls. You can move up or down by aiming that way, then swimming forward. You can use cn_R2 to dive straight down and cn_L2 to swim straight up." Pressing cn_O causes you to dash forward quickly and can be done along with cn_L2/cn_R2 to ascend/descend quickly. At the bottom of the lake is the Holy Chapter: Infested, which is needed for the Return ending. Swim into the cave and you'll see a statue holding an item- a Prayer Bead (26/40). Use the Homeward Idol, then travel to the Water Mill idol in Ashina Depths.

Back in Mibu Village, you want to explore the central lake and the opposite side of the area. From the idol, head right (opposite of the way that leads to O'Rin of the Water/Corrupted Monk) and you'll be on solid ground to the left of the water. Stay left and make your way forward, down a slope, and towards a house with an item on the roof.

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The enemies around here will spawn indefinitely so I suggest just running past them. Find the Pine Resin Ember (needed for an eventual Prosthetic upgrade) on the roof, then run back and jump into the water. Dive under, then fight off several fish, one of which will drop Red Carp Eyes (an NPC sidequest item). On the sea floor directly under some boats is a treasure chest with a Prayer Bead (27/40).

Use the Homeward Idol, then travel to the Abandoned Dungeon idol, which is the only option in Ashina Castle.

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