The play is set in Kyoto. The war between the rival Minamoto and Taira clans has just ended with a victory for the Minamoto. However, their leader, Minamoto no Yoritomo, is now suspecting that his younger brother Yoshitsune may be scheming against him. Yoritomo has ordered his retainer Tosanobō Shōzon to go to Kyoto and kill Yoshitsune. Realizing that his life is in danger, Yoshitsune orders his retainer Musashibō Benkei to bring Shōzon to him. Initially Shōzon resists, but he is finally brought to Yoshitsune who, together with Benkei, question him on why he is in Kyoto. He answers that he is on a pilgrimage to the sacred mountains of Kumano. Additionally, he improvises an oath to the gods which he writes and reads swearing that he has no intention to attack Yoshitsune. Although Yoshitsune knows that Shōzon is lying, he is impressed with his skills, and invites him to a banquet. After the entertainer Shizuka Gozen has danced for them, Shōzon, Yoshitsune and his followers retire to their bedrooms.
Later, Benkei and a female servant spy on Shōzon’s lodging and find that he and a group of warriors are getting ready to attack. Benkei reports this to Yoshitsune, who, together with his followers, prepares to receive the attack. Shōzon breaks in with his warriors and a battle ensues. Finally, Benkei captures Shōzon.
This play features many highlights both in the first and in the second half. In the first half, Shōzon improvises an oath, trying to prove his innocence. This long recitation in which he says to be willing to accept any punishment from the heavens were he to be lying is particularly challenging for the actor performing this role. This is one of the “three readings,” together with kanjinchō in Ataka and gansho in Kiso. All of these plays require a special permission to be performed. In the second half of the play, warriors from Yoshitsune’s and Shōzon’s sides confront each other in battle. First Shōzon’s soldiers fall one after another. Actors use acrobatic techniques, such as hotoke-daore in which the warrior who is killed falls straight on his back. Later the battle continues with Shōzon himself agains Yoshitsune and Shizuka. Finally, Benkei manages to capture Shōzon.