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There are several racing minigames in which Amaterasu must run along a specific course and defeat an opponent. Some of these are necessary to advance the main plot while others are optional sidequests, although the optional races can lead to valuable rewards of Praise or Yen, or even Key items and Stray Beads.
In these races, Amaterasu's opponent cannot be slowed down with Veil of Mist or otherwise damaged, although some racecourse hazards can be removed with other Celestial Brush techniques. Amaterasu instantly boosts from her initial running speed to the first acceleration level by shaking the Wii remote or by pressing the Square button for the PS2 version, and further accelerates to the second acceleration level after a few seconds. However, she may slow back down if damaged, or even if stopped by a non-damaging obstacle; an air-dash at the end of a jump may also affect her speed. Double jumps may need to be deployed carefully by maximizing the distance that Amaterasu jumps forward rather than up (wait for her first jump to lose most of its height before jumping again).
Tobi is an evil being in the form of a Prayer Slip (similar in appearance to those of Rao). As a gatekeeper on Oni Island, Tobi challenges Amaterasu to a series of races through the fortress. Amaterasu must win all of these races in order to find and confront Ninetails.
Each race begins when Amaterasu steps on the start button in the floor, opening a gate at the other end of the course that slams shut again if Tobi reaches it first. If Tobi beats her to the gate, he returns to the start button; meanwhile, the racecourse floor may open up and drop Amaterasu, injuring her unless she can get back to the start button in time or stay airborne by leaping upward until the floor closes again. Some of the racecourses have separate hazards built in, such as spiked obstacles or lurking demons. For each course, Tobi will happily race Amaterasu as many times as it takes for her to get through, but she should come prepared with healing items (Holy Bones or the Wood Mat) to deal with possible injuries.
Despite his evil nature, Tobi is a gracious and good-natured adversary and gives Yen to her whenever she wins. Because Tobi does not start the race until Amaterasu steps on the start button, she can move through the racecourse for advance scouting and practice runs without him.
The deadly forest of Yoshpet is divided into two distinct halves: Outer Yoshpet and Inner Yoshpet. The Oina girl Kai is the initial guide through Outer Yoshpet to the village of Ponc'tan, which Amaterasu must explore before Issun agrees to lead her through Inner Yoshpet to the Spirit Gate.
Each half of Yoshpet has three subsections and a total time limit of 5 minutes to follow the guide to the other end without succumbing to Cursed Trees, icicles, rolling snowballs, slippery ice, or pools of toxic liquid. Like the digging minigame, the countdown does not stop while the canvas of the Celestial Brush is up, though occasionally there are crystals which will add extra time to the total. If the time limit runs out, Amaterasu reappears at the starting point for that half of the forest without further penalty, although she will retain any injuries to Solar Energy or Godhood until those are restored.
Ida is encountered in Shinshu Field after its Guardian Sapling is bloomed. He is initially immobilized by the influences of demons until Amaterasu brings him a Traveler's Charm (She does not have to deliberately give him the charm; simply approaching him with a Traveler's Charm in her inventory will automatically transfer it to him.) Afterward, he runs around the field. If caught up to or stopped for conversation, he may challenge Amaterasu to a "race", beginning on the cliff near Tama's house and crossing it to circle the field clockwise. He will only challenge Amaterasu to a race after the Spider Queen is defeated, and after the first race, every time Amaterasu defeated a boss, Ida will challenge her to a new race. The third race, however, is not available until she defeated Ninetails.
The term "race" is somewhat misleading here, since there is no set endpoint or time limit; instead, Amaterasu must catch up and head-butt him to win. If Ida gets too far ahead of her and drops out of sight, the race automatically ends, and she will have to find him again to re-challenge him. After his first loss, Ida begins to drop spiked balls behind him that slow Amaterasu down if she runs into them. After his third loss, he rewards Amaterasu with the Gimmick Gear.
Hayate is Ida's brother. He is first encountered in Sei'an City, where he is immobilized by the evil effects of Blight. After Blight is defeated, Hayate runs along Ryoshima Coast and can also be challenged in a similar way to a similar "race". He drops spiked traps starting with his very first race. After his third loss, he rewards Amaterasu with a Stray Bead.
Yoshpet (exploration and Kai rematch)
In both halves of Yoshpet, it can be useful to make extra runs to clear out cursed trees, collect treasures (including several Stray Beads), and generally explore the forest without expecting to reach the other side. There are several significant shortcuts through both guides' preferred paths. After the first visit to Ponc'tan, Issun can take Kai's place as the guide through Outer Yoshpet.
Kai can be challenged to another race through Outer Yoshpet after Lechku and Nechku are defeated. The total time limit of 5 minutes still applies, but this time Amaterasu must run faster than Kai and reach Ponc'tan first. Kai generally finishes with about 2:20 left on the clock, although this can be affected by brush use; however, the extra-time crystals do not provide any advantage against her. If she loses, she rewards Amaterasu with a Stray Bead.
Kai's preferred loops can be considerably shortened in many places by simply jumping straight over fenceposts and charging straight forward. However, it is still crucial to avoid running into hazards (or having them fall onto Amaterasu), as victory depends on her quickly reaching top speed and staying there throughout the race. The equipped Solar Flare Reflector can also be used to melt icicles and snowballs out of the way.
Required race-like events
To repair the bridge from Agata Forest and gain access to Taka Pass, Amaterasu must complete a timed minigame by using the Vine technique to secure a log hurtling down the river. The log has multiple hooked projections, all of which need to be attached to the Konohana blossoms along the banks of the river. In addition to the timed element, there is also a limit on how many times the brush screen can be brought up to attempt attaching a vine, although each successful vine attachment bumps the ink/brush allotment back up. If the log reaches the end of the river without being completely secured, the minigame immediately starts over, locking Amaterasu into it until the bridge is successfully repaired.
There are also some straightforward speed runs without a specific opponent. In several places, Amaterasu has to get to the other side of a bridge before it collapses under her; if she fails, she suffers injuries and returns to the start of the regenerated bridge to try again.
After defeating Evil Rao, Amaterasu must run from Queen Himiko's palace in Sei'an City to Watcher's Cape on the North Ryoshima Coast before the sun sets, although no obvious time gauge is provided beyond the dimming light and birdcalls that typically occur near the end of the day. Sunrise will not work during this segment, but the Peace Bell can be useful to prevent being delayed by Demon Scrolls. However, there is no real penalty for running out of time, which simply returns Amaterasu to the same place and time of day where she began.
There is also an "anti-race" on the other side of the Spirit Gate, in which Amaterasu must move as slowly and carefully as possible to avoid detection while grabbing Nami's robe.