Ultimately, combat in Sekiro should be a seamless blade dance, the music to which is the clash of your blade upon your opponent’s. That flowery description aside, anyone with even five minutes in the game can tell you the start is anything but elegant. From clumsy attempts at parrying to being flung about like a ragdoll, the first battles in Sekiro tend to be about as graceful as a bar fight. For this reason, healing items will be a high priority for you, at least until you get your eye in.
Enter the Healing Gourd. Taking a sip will heal a good chunk of your health, though its use is limited, particularly to begin with. Uses are replenished upon resting at a Sculptor’s Idol, though you’ll only have one use at the start of the game. This can be changed by bringing any Gourd Seeds you find to Emma at the Dilapidated Temple, where she will upgrade your Healing Gourd for you. However, finding those seeds is easier said than done, with several tucked away and easily missed. In this article, I’ll be telling you exactly where each of the nine Gourd Seed locations are, with as few spoilers as I can manage, though some will be unavoidable in order to give enough context.
Ashina Outskirts: Gourd Seeds 1-3
The first three Sekiro Gourd Seeds are quite easily found in the starting area, setting you up nicely for the rest of the game if you pick them up.
General Naomori Kawarada – Gourd Seed 1
The first Gourd Seed is dropped by your first true opponent, General Naomori Kawarada. Well, I say true opponent, but he is just a mini-boss meant to test your understanding of the basic game mechanics. He is a short distance away from the Gate Path Sculptor’s Idol, the second Idol from the Dilapidated Temple.
Defeating him should be fairly straightforward, though if you’re having trouble, you can deliver a death blow by using the high ground to sneak around him. This will leave him with only one more to go, making for an even easier fight. Through fair means or foul, your victory will reward you with the first of the Gourd Seeds, alongside a couple of other items.
Near the Chained Ogre: Gourd Seed 2
The second Gourd Seed is also a reward for your skill in battle, though you’ll need to pick it up yourself this time. Starting from the Stairway Idol, move up to where the Chained Ogre was held, then grapple up to the hole in the wall. At the end of the left-hand hallway is the Gourd Seed. Similar to the General, you can deliver a sneaky death blow to the Chained Ogre if he’s giving you trouble. Use a Gachiin’s Sugar, sneak behind him, and you start the fight with the upper hand.
Bought from the Battlefield Memorial Mob: Gourd Seed 3
Up until now, the Gourd Seeds were all but impossible to miss. This next Gourd Seed, however, isn’t put directly in your path forward. Instead, after your battle against Gyoubu Oniwa, the Gourd seed can be purchased from a vendor behind the arena, opposite the main gate leading to Ashina Castle. The shopkeeper is set up in the area overlooking Gyoubu’s arena, up a flight of stairs. He sells the seed for 1,000 sen, along with a few other trinkets you might find useful.
Ashina Castle: Gourd Seeds 4-5
With the first three Gourd seeds in hand, it’s time to move out of the starting area and onto the meat of what Sekiro has to offer. This next area has two seeds up for grabs, though one of them takes a little more effort than the other.
Antechamber: Gourd Seed 4
This next seed is another one that’s pretty difficult to miss. If you’ve already beaten Genichiro, simply travel to the Upper Tower Antechamber Idol, then search the chest opposite the window you first came through. If you haven’t beaten him, climb the castle until you see a window into a room with an Idol in it. You’ll have to face off against a fair few Nightjar ninja, though you can run past them all if you’re quick. The Gourd Seed is waiting in a chest; you can’t miss it.
Fujioka the Info Broker, Dilapidated Temple: Gourd Seed 5
Fujioka is a vendor that can be found near the front of the main part of the castle. From the Ashina Castle Idol, run up the stairs, turn right as you meet the guards, then dropdown. Hiding away from the samurai is our friend Fujioka. He will ask you to kill the nearby samurai that would very much like to see him, then he will move to the Dilapidated Temple once you tell him the good news. Additionally, he will reward you with a note that provides a hint on how to get into the castle, should you need it. He will sell you the Gourd Seed for 2,000 sen, plus a few other items you might find handy.
Senpou Temple, Mt. Kongo: Gourd Seed 6
Starting at the Idol of the same name, go through the level as normal until you reach the temple with a grapple ledge. Once up there, move into the room with three kneeling monks and a fourth overlooking them. The Gourd Seed is directly in front of the overseer, though you’ll have to fight him or run after you’ve picked it up. Be aware also of the crickets hopping about and a wandering taro troop, the entire room can be a death trap if you charge in blindly.
Sunken Valley: Gourd Seed 7
This next Gourd Seed is a bit tough to find and can easily be missed if you aren’t actively looking for it. Starting from the Under-shrine Valley Idol, drop down to the first rifleman. Kill him, then move up and grapple onto the tree branch jutting out from the wall. Facing the wall, turn left and grapple onto the next tree branch. There will be another lone rifleman, though he’s easy to deal with. Turn left from there and climb up the wall; there will be a tiny shrine at the top just in front of a tunnel. Walk through said tunnel, grapple across the gap, then immediately climb up the wall. There are a couple of riflemen, but they can’t reach you once you climb the wall. Directly in front of you will be a sort-of lean-to building. The Gourd Seed can be found inside.
Of the nine Gourd Seed locations, this is easily the most difficult to find, so you can breathe a sigh of relief once you have it.
Ashina Depths, Mibu Village: Gourd Seed 8
If you thought the last seed was a pain to find, then you’ll be pleased to know that it’s the most difficult of the lot. The penultimate Gourd Seed is a breeze by comparison, though still missable if you aren’t keeping an eye out. Starting at the Mibu Village Idol, follow the river down into the center of the village. There you will see a Sakura tree with a couple of items before it. The Gourd Seed is the one nestled between the roots in the middle. With it, your quest for the ultimate Healing Gourd is almost complete.
Fountainhead Palace Grounds: Gourd Seed 9
Now for the final Gourd Seed to complete the set. Starting at the Palace Grounds Idol, walk into the building full of red-robed noblemen, then move through it until you find the door. On the right, there is a treasure chest with the last Gourd Seed inside. Take it, and you’ll have all nine Gourd Seeds, giving you a total of ten Healing Gourd uses, plus an achievement to boot.
That’s everything you need to know to find all the Gourd Seed locations in Sekiro. They’re a one-time deal, so don’t worry about having to get them again in New Game Plus, though you can go to the same locations to get different items instead.
If you’re on the hunt for Prayer Beads, check out our guide where I go over every Prayer Bead’s location and how to get there.