A legend says that a fortuneteller told him that the city was to be destroyed by a big fire shortly. Believing in this, the shrewd businessman cornered all the lumber he could lay his hands on. Instead of a fire, a great earthquake however razed the city to the ground and he made a fortune.
Collecting his profits Takashima went to Yokohama where he became a trader, specializing in the products of Higo Province (Kumamoto Prefecture). His greed for gain made him fall foul of the Shogunate's law, prohibiting the sale of gold coins and he was sentenced to a seven-year term in jail. After completing his term he reverted back to the lumber business and made another fortune as a contractor in cooperation with an American called Higgins.
He tried to secure the contract for laying the railroad between. Tokyo and Yokohama, but as the government had already formed a similar project his offer was turned down. Not the least disheartened by this, he transferred his energies and his wealth to reclaiming the coast between Ishizaki (Yokohama) and Kanagawa. The reclaimed land was named Takashima-cho in recognition of his pioneering. For this remarkable engineering feat the government also exempted him from all taxes.
After the Seikan Controversy (invasion of Korea) (1874) he retired to his villa at Kanagawa and gave himself up to religious meditation and adopted the title of Donsho. He returned to active life (1892) to become president of the Hokkaido Mining Company and to establish the Takashima farms at Ishikari and Tokachi.