It is 1582 and Japan's stingiest warlord Oda Nobunaga falls victim to an assassin's plot and is succeeded by his right-hand man, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Times are hard, and the gap between rich and poor is vast. Trying to bridge it is the master thief Goemon who shares his takings with the less fortunate, including a small, beautifully made box that he steals from the treasury of a rich merchant and tosses to a street urchin. The box is of intense interest to Ishida Mitsunari, Hideyoshi's saturnine administrator, who puts his trusted ninja Kirigakure Saizo on Goemon's trail. Goemon recovers the box while saving the urchin from the blade of a murderous swordsman. He soon finds himself hotly pursued by not only Saizo, a former childhood friend who is now a formidable opponent, but also Hattori Hanzo, the legendary ninja who worked for Tokugawa Ieyasu, the warlord who is plotting to succeed Hideyoshi. Goemon's only ally in this struggle is his loyal sidekick Sarutobi Sasuke. In his quest to unlock its puzzle, he rediscovers a lost love named Cha Cha, whom Hideyoshi is pressuring to become his concubine. Before he can sort out his relationship with her, however, he must deal with the powerful forces out to kill him, with the help of hundreds of sword-wielding minions.
Based on the life of legendary 16th century ninja and bandit Ishikawa Goemon.