Before you go straight to the castle, there are a couple of things you’re going to have to do. First off, you got an old lady praying right there. What’s interesting about this lady is if you pray and by praying you basically have to pop sugar and a balloon she’ll give you items.
Next, go to the bridge and kill the guards over there. Jump up to go to the other area and go rest at the idol. Also, a merchant is near.
Put on the Flame Vent and continue on to the Abandoned Dungeon. To kill the enemies in this area you need to light them on fire and then hit them, or deathblow them twice. Kill and pick up items as much as you can and head back up to find the NPC. If you do his side quest, at the end of it you’ll get a Jizo Statue which is extremely rare in the game. Go back to the temple, talk to Emma and the Sculptor.
From there head back to Ashina Castle. You’re going to take down a mini-boss and get another Prayer Bead. Don’t forget to open the chest near the mini-boss. A rare Divine Grass is inside. Turn back, go to the roofs on the left and fight the Ashina ninjas. Be careful especially from the ones who run at you and explode themselves. That explosion might kill you.
In one of those houses, you can find an idol and a chest. It contains a Gourd Seed inside. From there head back to the temple and purchase the gourd seed from the merchant. Give her the Gourd Seed twice and head to Upper Tower – Antechamber.