(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Yajirobei inherits money at his home in Fuchu, and he goes to Edo with his companion Kita to spend it. The money is soon wasted in riotous entertainment, and they live in poverty. Yaji marries, and Kita goes to work as an apprentice. Yaji’s wife dies, and he is left with bills to pay, particularly to the rice dealer, bills he cannot meet. Meanwhile, Kita is turned out of the shop where he was apprenticed for embezzling money. With trouble on every side and nothing to tie them down, the pair decide to skip town and make a trip to the sacred shrine at Ise.

Along the way they have many adventures and meet all sorts of people. At Odawara they eat uiro—a bean confection that is a specialty of the place. They also have to deal with a unique type of bath called goemonburo. Unlike an ordinary Japanese bath, which is made of wood, this is a metal pot with a fire built directly beneath it. Bathers stand on a wooden platform to keep from burning their feet. Unfamiliar with this type of bath, the city slickers remove the wooden board and put on clogs to protect their feet. Kita, as a result, kicks a hole in the bottom of the tub and ruins it.

Yaji thinks he arranged with the maid at the inn that she will sleep with him that night, but while he is going to the bathroom, Kita tells the maid that Yaji is sick, covered with boils, foul smelling, and disgusting. The maid keeps the money Yaji had paid her, but never shows up for the rendezvous.

At a river crossing they encounter a pair of blind travelers. When one blind man offers to carry the other across the river, Yaji gets on his back instead. When the blind man goes back to pick up his companion, Kita tries the same trick only to get dumped into the river. That evening at an inn at Kakegawa they encounter the same pair of blind men...

(The entire section is 748 words.)