It is actually quite possible to run through a majority of this entire stage straight through without stopping as long as your quick enough on the fire button. After defeating a couple of ground based enemies, treasure chests will begin to fall to the ground. If you time your shots carefully, you can shoot them as they are falling and collect their contents. Eventually, you will reach the first of two shrines. You can choose to simply run beneath each of the shrines, and you would be well advised to do so, as the alternate method of running through the shrines themselves is slow, and can put you in danger. If you try to run through the shrines, you must leap from one Buddha statue to another, and the chests that fall are very difficult to get to in time. After running past the second shrine, you will only have a couple of Buddha statues left to jump over before you reach the boss.
Boss: Hanya can be a tough boss to face as he continuously spits out small enemies to attack you. While he is stationary and very easy to hit, it can be difficult to avoid taking a lot of damage from the smaller enemies. It is possible, however, to set yourself up so as to avoid taking any damage. As you run into the room, don't continue to run all the way. Break down the blocks that lead to Hanya and climb up to his level. Place a two block tall tower in front of his head and one more block to the right to stand on. Then scroll the screen all the way over. Stand on the platform and continue to fire. Any faces that can make it out of the area will get shot down, and Hanya should be defeated rather easily.
Monks will be the first to greet you and attack you as you make your way across this platform based stage. The first bridge you cross is designed to give you a false sense of confidence; portions of later bridges will fall away, so be careful when you reach the second bridge. After picking up the invincibility feather from the chest at the foot of the bridge, move slowly across to see the two break-away areas before you end up walking over them. Stay aware as you cross the third and fourth bridges as well. Eventually, the stage will transition to a series of platforms guarded by Officials. Don't move too quickly, and you should be fine. The treasure chest that lies flat on one platform contains a 1-up doll, which you can collect after dropping down to the ledge to the left. From there, you will have to build a staircase of blocks to reach the higher ledge, and then drop down to the lower ledge and repeat the process again to continue. Monks will then return to attack you until you reach the boss at the end of the stage.
Boss: Although the Lightning God moves considerably more than most of the previous bosses, he is actually a lot easier to fight. You can run just as fast as him, which means you can stay beneath him through nearly his entire path (except for the platform to the far left.) Remain underneath him as he moves, and fire upwards continuously as fast as you can. He will only be able to fire off around three or four lightning bolts at you, and some of them will miss anyway. His card will be yours in no time.
As you start out in this cave stage, Owls and Monks will attack you. When you reach a split in the path, make sure that you take the top area to proceed. Otherwise you will be forced to move into an area that leads to a warp, which is not necessarily bad, but it won't let you reach the end of this stage. You will reach water where Coy fish jump out. To get the first treasure beyond the waterfall, you'll have to fall down and create a gargoyle head beneath your feet as you fall, but you will find that the chest only contains a point bag; not worth risking your life for. The same is true for the following chest. The treasure trapped up in the ceiling however are worth the effort to rescue. Just shoot the spikes that hang from the ceiling to gain access to the treasure they hold up. The stage will flatten out and you can run right through it for the most part without fear, until you see fish again. After you jump over the water and the gaps, the lower of the two pathways contain valuable treasures including an Onigiri and an invincibility feather, but you'll have to jump carefully so as not to cause Gaou to fall down the gaps before the spikes.
Boss: The Mural, much like Hanyo, is a stationary boss, so it is very easy to hit. The danger it poses comes in the form of the balls that it spits out in an attempt to hit you. Run all the way to the right wall, and create a few gargoyle blocks to shorten the distance between you and the Mural. This will help you fire chisels at it much faster and destroy it before it can spit too many balls at you. You will end up collecting the card as soon as it is destroyed.
Note: At this point, the game will return you to stage 1 of the Feudal Japan stages, rather than sending you on to stage 8. You'll have to find the hidden warp which can send you to the eighth stage.
You can only access this stage by warping in from the secret location near the end of the third stage of the Prehistoric Times. It won't be significantly different from other stages that you've encountered, except that the entire stage will appear to be undergoing an earthquake, making it slightly more difficult to gauge the accuracy of your jumps. The stage is very repetitive, with small bumps and jumps that appear continuously. Even if you arrive here with a full eight bars of health, be very careful to avoid damage, as there isn't an Onigiri to restore your health until quite late in the stage (it appears in one of two chests that lie next to one another.) Eventually, you will reach a gap, where a Coy fish will be jumping around. On the other side, Monks wait to attack Gaou, followed by Officials. Long flat platforms will be followed by large gaps that must be lept over at full speed. After a few such gaps, rocks will appear to fall out of the sky.
Boss: You've seen this type of stage end many times before, once in Future World and twice in Prehistoric Times. All you must do is dodge the falling rocks will drop from the sky and crash through the ground, destroying blocks as they fall. You must quickly run to the right side of the screen, build a set of gargoyle platforms and jump up to the card waiting in the right hand corner of the screen. If you collect this card, and you don't have all 15 other cards, you will return to the first stage where you began the game. If you have all of the other cards, you will add this 16th final card to the collection, revealing the Phoenix and ending the game. Congratulations! You will then get to start the game over from the first stage again at a slightly higher difficulty. Enemies will appear much more frequently than they used to.