In the year 1986 in Yokosuka, Japan, one young man's life is about to be changed forever. A mysterious figure wearing a green ceremonial robe appears at Ryo Hazuki's home and proceeds to kill his father in a brutal martial arts showdown before stealing a precious mirror. Ryo is now on a quest for revenge - but there's more at stake than he realizes...
At its heart, Shenmue is an adventure game where you play detective. There's a bit of brawling and procrastinating mixed in, but completing Shenmue's main quest is all about following a trail of witnesses and evidence in your pursuit of the man known as Lan Di. In this Shenmue walkthrough and guide, we're going to keep it simple: we will only provide a step-by-step path through the game's story.
That means we're not going to give you advice on combat or QTEs, or even warn you when they're coming. We're just going to tell you where you need to go and who you need to speak with to continue progressing the main story of Shenmue. You should continue to complete side quests and just enjoy the scenery - it's what Shenmue is all about. Bottom line, this is as simple an approach for a Shenmue guide as you can get.
Four Days Later... The Black Car
Your first task is to find a Black Car. Once you wake up, you can explore the Hazuki Residence - we highly recommend you do this, since there are some items hidden in drawers and even two move scrolls found throughout the house. There's some story beats to be had in the Hazuki residence, but once you're done, you'll then head out to Yamanose.
First, talk to Megumi, the young girl taking care of the cat. This conversation is basically impossible to miss. She tells you the car almost hit Yamagishi - an elderly man who lives nearby. Keep walking and take the path to the right of the phone booth to enter the residential area of Sakuragaoka.
In Sakuragaoka, find Yamagishi's house. When facing the shop with the capsule toy machines, it's on your far, far right at the end of the street. Yamagishi is standing with his back turned in the side yard, and he says the car went to Dobuita. To get there, you can continue down that same road to a grassy path.
In Dobuita, there are a few people you can talk to. Numerous residents in the area will point you to Nozomi at the flower shop - the girl in the sweater. Talk to her multiple times to learn about the car.
Nozomi points you towards Tom from the hot dog truck, who had an argument with the people in the car. This is the final step in this phase, as Tom gives you a new clue - Chinese people.
Chinese People and 'The Three Blades'
You're now aiming to find out more about Chinese people. Your first port of call should be Tao at the Chinese restaurant - located just down the side street near Tomato Convenience Store. Tao tells you about the 'Three Blades' (the Barber, the Tailor, and the Cook) - three common professions for Chinese immigrants in the area.
There are three people you now need to speak with. Before you do, consider visiting Suzume Park near the arcade - this is the only time you will be able to learn a miss-able new combat move called DOUBLE BLOW. If you talk to one of the Three Blades, this move is gone forever.
Once you're done, speak to either Itoi (the Patch Shop with jackets outside), Maeda (at the barbershop) or Yamamoto (Ramen store). After you've spoken to one of the three, you can then speak to Liu at the other barbershop. Liu will tell you to speak to his grandfather, Liu senior.
Liu Senior can be found in Suzume Park near the arcade - the same place we suggested you pick up a move earlier (it's now officially too late to get that move, by the way). Liu senior will suggest you look for sailors, thus immortalizing a Shenmue meme.
Sailors: finding where Sailors hang out
Do you happen to know where sailors hang out? Ryo finds himself asking this question and probably causing a few people around town to wonder what he's up to. This one has you speaking to a few people in quick succession:
Your first point of contact will be Tom. Tom suggests sailors hang out in bars. There are three bars in Yokosuka - MJQ Jazz Bar, Bar Yokosuka and Heartbeats. The former two open at 5pm, the latter at 7pm.
- Heading to MJQ Jazz Bar reveals it's not a sailor-like place.
- In Bar Yokosuka, you can play pool against some suspicious guys. It's a chance to win 1000 Yen and information. To win, tap left 19 times to line up a perfect shot. The information ends up being useless, but the Yen is useful.
- That leaves Heartbeats, and this is the right spot.
Your visit to Heartbeats (which must take place after 7pm or else a guy will tell you to get lost) is eventful, and you get a name out of it, a new person of interest in your investigation - Charlie.
Finding Charlie: Hogs and Fights
The description of Charlie is pretty simple. He's a biker who wears sunglasses and a leather jacket. He also - crucially - has a tattoo. Your first point of contact is the Knocking Motorcycle Store, which is right near Heartbeats Bar. The owner, Ono (who can be found working on his bike on the street), knows Charlie and says he often causes problems at the jacket shop.
Head to the shop - Jupiter Jackets. It's on the main drag in Dobuita, just past Tom. It closes at 8pm, so depending on how quick you were, you may need to do this the next day. If you head home now instead of to the jacket shop, that's fine.
The next morning, you should keep in mind that heading to the Dojo will allow you to learn a new move, PIT BLOW, with Fuku-san.
Speak to Tsuruoka at the jacket store multiple times to draw tidbits of information on Charlie from him. You will learn that Charlie hangs around the jacket store at night.
You can also speak to Kinuyo at the lunch stand, who suggests you try Nagai Industries down the street. At Nagai Industries (which opens late at 4pm), you learn Charlie hangs out on the streets at night.
At 7pm, hang around Dobuita, running the stretch between Tom's hot dog stand and the arcade. Some stuff will go down, and you get new information on how to find Charlie.
Finding Charlie: tracking down a Tattoo Parlour
Charlie hangs out at Tattoo Parlours, it seems, so it's time to find one. The easiest way to locate the place is to ask guys with tattoos. There are two in particular, and they can usually be found either at the Knocking Motorcycle Shop or in the Arcade - usually the latter.
If one of the pair tells you to get lost, try the other. They'll ask you to join their gang and get their gang tattoo. Agree, and they'll tell you the Tattoo place is in Okayama Heights. If you want more help, check in with Tsuruoka at the jacket shop - he says it should be upstairs in Okayama.
Head to Okayama Heights and visit the second room on the second floor. It's the tattoo joint. Charlie isn't there, but they say he'll be there tomorrow. From here, some non-adventure bits happen. When we pick up, we'll be back on the Chinese, but in a different way.
The Letter: finding people who speak Chinese
Once all is said and done, you'll have a new letter sent to your father before he died - but it's in Chinese. You need someone who can translate it. Fortunately, there's a number of people you can ask.
Tao-san from the Chinese Restaurant seems a good place to start since he told you about the Chinese Three Blades. Only... he can't read this. You can also ask Gao Wen, the kid you helped with the Charlie incident. He can be found wandering around Dobuita, usually near the arcade.
Gao Wen will point you to his grandmother, Xia Xiu Yu. She works at the Russiya China Shop, on the less busy bit of Dobuita near the Nagai Industries building. She reveals a surprising secret about the letter - and translates it.
The Mysterious Phone Number: Father's Heaven, Nine Dragons, Mother's Earth, Comrades
Included in the letter are a phone number and some cryptic phrases. It's time to give the number a call. You can do this either at home or the pay phone at the very end of the Dobuita main street, past the arcade where you can see cars driving by. Specifically, it's at the tobacco stand.
Call the number: 0468 61 5647. You'll need to answer the cryptic phrases as on the letter:
- Father's Heaven = Nine Dragons
- Mother's Earth = Comrades
You're instructed to visit 'Warehouse Number 8'. Curious...
Warehouse Number 8: tracking down Master Chen's residence
A new lead is good and all, but you have no idea where Warehouse Number 8 is. Here are a few steps to quickly find out what you need to do in order to get to Warehouse Number 8:
- Use the phone directory at the Tobacco Shop in Dobuita (where the phone is). This tells you the number you dialed is from Amihama.
- Now ask good old Tom; Tom knows where Amihama is. It's the harbor nearby. You can get there via the bus.
- The bus stop is near the Tobacco shop, on the main road next to Dobuita. Go ahead and catch the bus.
On the Dreamcast version of Shenmue, this is the end of disc 1.
New Yokosuka Harbor: new area, same problems
You arrive at New Yokosuka Harbor, but you're still trying to track down Warehouse Number 8. There'll be a few QTEs and you'll meet a new character, Goro. What a cool dude. Goro points you in the direction of Warehouse #8. Easy, right? Well, no.
To get into the warehouse, head around the back and climb up by pushing the crates into place. It turns out there are two Warehouse #8s - one here, and one in the Old Warehouse District. Head there, and you will find Warehouse #8.
The security guards will shoo you away, so you'll have to try at night. Channel your inner Solid Snake to sneak past the guards. Don't fail this too many times, as each time you fail time will fast-forward by a day, and Shenmue has a time limit.
Once you're inside the warehouse, there'll be some exposition-heavy story scenes. After that, you'll have a new objective which is all about the item Lan Di stole.
Finding the Phoenix Mirror: the hidden secret of the Hazuki house
It turns out your dad had two mirrors, and Lan Di only stole one. Head back home. Here's a step-by-step sequence to find the Phoenix Mirror in your home, which was purposefully hidden away:
- First, check your father's room, where there is a letter to Ryo. In the desk drawer, there's a Mysterious Key, but Ryo doesn't know where in the house it can fit.
- Head to the Dojo. Opposite the door, there's a long, locked box. Open it with the Mysterious Key to find a sword missing its handguard. Interesting...
- Along the same wall as the sword's box are two scrolls hanging on the wall. Interact with them to take them down, and you'll discover strange markings. The sword will slot right into one of the holes in the wall, but the other part of the wall is a mystery.
- Head back into the house and talk to Ine-san, then Fuku-san, and then back to Ine-san. You have another clue... the Antique Store.
- Take yourself to Dobuita and to the Bunkado Antique Store on the main street. It turns out the owner has your father's sword's handguard, and it looks a lot like that missing piece of the puzzle.
- While you're in Dobuita, head by the Tomato Store and buy a lightbulb. This will make life easier later on. Head home.
- Back home, chat to Ine and Fuku, and then go back to the dojo. The sword hilt fits into the other slot - this, in turn, lets you access a secret door! Your dad was a sneaky one.
Now that the 'puzzle' is complete, you'll want to head down into the newly revealed basement. You can find a flashlight in the cupboard in the main house hallway, but the easier method is to use the lightbulb you picked up earlier - put it into the hanging light socket then flip the switch.
Explore the basement, picking up all you can. There's a scroll for the STAB ARMOR move plus relics from your father's travels, some of which you can pick up and keep.
On the left-hand side of the basement, there are shelves, and a glance at the floor reveals the shelves have been pushed around. Pull the shelves back and you'll see a suspicious looking wall. Use the nearby hammer to smash the suspicious wall in.
Use the phone in the house to call Master Chen with the news (0468 61 5647. Nine Dragons, Comrades) and then pay him a visit. Things once again change direction.
Getting a Ticket to Hong Kong
It now transpires you will need to leave Japan to continue your quest, but that isn't easy for a teenager to do alone. First, you should visit a travel agent and find out how much you will need - the Global Travel Agency is opposite Tom's Hot Dog Truck. Pay them a visit. Behold: it's way too expensive.
You may want to blow off some steam from that news at the arcade or what have you, but when you're ready, head home and chat to Fuku-san. Fuku-san gives you his savings and some advice. He's an idiot, but he's a nice dude.
Next, chat to Nozomi at the florist. She suggests a boat rather than a plane. Now head back to Global Travel Agency. It turns out they don't sell boat tickets, but Asia Travel Company do.
Asia Travel Company is located opposite Nozomi at the florist, on the corner. They have a bad reputation and people will warn you off from them - so buy the ticket anyway. You're told to come back in a few hours. Needless to say, things don't quite go according to plan...
In the Dreamcast version of Shenmue, this is the end of Disc 2.
Job Hunting at Yokosuka Harbor and the Mad Angels
As it happens, you're at a point in Ryo's quest where he can kill two birds with one stone: he now needs money in order to fund a trip to Hong Kong, but he also wants to work at the harbor in order to get closer to the Mad Angels, the Biker Gang who seem to be all tied up in this Lan Di Chinese cartel business known as the Chi You Men.
Times are hard, and it doesn't seem like there are many jobs going at the Harbor. Goro is your savior, though. Bump into him before 2.30pm around Amihama Wharf, near Warehouse #14. He sets you up with a meet to get a job - at noon the next day. Make sure you're at Warehouse #1 at the appointed time.
From here, Shenmue gets awfully linear for a while: you'll do your job earning money, and you'll also naturally come into contact with the Mad Angels.
As you work, be sure to pick up the moves that come as part of this. After day 1 of work, stick around Amihama Harbor and keep an eye out for Gui Zhang, the man wearing a suit whom you met at Warehouse 8. He'll teach you the SWALLOW DIVE. Later on, after 7pm, find the hobo. Turns out he knows his stuff and will teach you SHADOW STEP.
On day 2 at the job, you can once again find the old man near the harbor lounge. He'll teach you CROSS CHARGE. Use this time after work to also head to Warehouse #17 in further pursuit of the Mad Angels. There will be more drama. After 7pm, revisit the old hobo - he'll then teach you SHADOW STRIKE.
Day 3 continues the adventures of work and antagonizing a deadly, murderous gang. Because of course. On day 4, you'll learn about the Long Zha - a job the Mad Angels are involved with. You'll also have a chance to learn one more move from the hobo, CROSS CHARGE.
The Long Zha: getting a motorbike and rescuing Nozomi
You'll head back to work for a 5th day, and there you'll discover a little more about the Long Zha. You're starting to anger the gang now, however - and that night you'll get a chilling phone call. You have 4 hours to get to Warehouse 17 (until 4am), or else Nozomi will be hurt.
Head out of the Hazuki Residence to Saukuragaoka. Ito lives here - right near the shop with capsule machines. He has a motorbike. Ito's house is next to Yamagishi's house - the old man you talked to on your very first stages of this quest to find out about the black car. Every second counts, so move fast!
Knock on his door and ask to borrow his bike. You'll then get an arcade-style mini-game where you'll have to speed through to reach the harbor in time (take it easy around the corners). Naturally, battles ensue - and tomorrow is going to be very busy.
Grand Finale: Terry, Gui Zhang, and Hong Kong
We're in the final stretch. As you head to work, you'll meet Tom. He wants to meet you at 12 noon - make sure you do so in order to hear the end of his story and learn an awesome move, TORNADO KICK - a move really useful to carry into Shenmue 2. Before catching up with Tom, consider revisiting or calling up all of your friends.
Some seriously epic battles ensue. Just keep in mind that as you and Gui Zhang work your way through the harbor, you'll need to beware of the bigger, stronger, more powerful sub-bosses. Be thankful for your hobo friend, too - the Shadow Step is a great move during this segment.
As the game draws to a close you'll learn the SWALLOW FLIP hand move from Gui Zhang and Master Chen - and you'll finally get that ticket to Hong Kong. It's been a long path... but for Ryo, the journey has only just begun.
This is the end of Shenmue, but remember your save - including Cash, Capsule Toys, Key Items, and Moves Learned can be carried over into Shenmue 2.