Visit The Sites of Japan’s Historic Battles
Photo: Flikr/ S.R.G-msucoo93

Visit sites of Japan’s historic battles

By Matthew Coslett

The Sengoku (Warring States) period (1467–1600) defined the land of the rising sun. Everything associated with classic Japan—legendary samurai, heroes, ninja assassins and epic battles—happened during this time.

Because so much history and stories from that era occurred in modern-day prefectures of AichiKyoto and Nagoya, visiting is an excellent opportunity to visualize the great battles that took place there and follow in the footsteps of men who shaped the future of Japan.

Let’s explore some of those locations and what they look like today.

Battle of Okehazama (1560)

The defeat of Imagawa Yoshimoto is reenacted at the Okehazama Historical Battlefield Festival. Photo: iStock/ Masaru123

Yoshimoto considered it such an easy win that he and his troops became arrogant. Taking advantage of their complacency, Nobunaga crept through the woods towards them. He finally saw his chance when a massive rainstorm hit, obscuring visibility. Oda’s smaller army ambushed their enemy, killing Yoshimoto in a frenzy and throwing his army into disarray.

Where Did It Happen?

The battle occurred near Okehazama Village, now a ward within Aichi Prefecture. The site where Nobunaga lay in wait has since been incorporated into Ohkagakuen University Nagoya College. However, it is difficult to visit without permission.

The site where the “coup de grace” was delivered to Yoshimoto is found in Okehazama Kosenjo Park. Here, there are armor-clad statues of the victor and the loser and a stone marking where the unfortunate Yoshimoto was supposedly laid to rest.

The Okehazama Historical Battlefield Festival is held yearly to commemorate the battle and features a popular parade of local people dressed in samurai armor.

Battle of Nagashino (1575)

Click here to read more.

© GaijinPot

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Cool. Although the results of these battles are known, they are still hold people’s fascination and they are constantly being discussed and re-evaluated today.

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Definitely the site of the Sekigahara battle in Gifu is on my bucket list.

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The photo shows people in shiny battle dress, but why do I think that most who fought in these battles were dressed less elegantly.

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Some people might ask; why visit old battle sites?

I'm reading a very good book at the minute called "Giving up the Gun" by Noel Perrin.

It discusses the adoption and then the ultimate and rare disarmament of arquebus in medieval Japan. It doing so the treaties analyses old Japanese "fire-stick battles" by comparing them with that of contemporary ones in France and Scotland.

It reveals how advanced Japan was in the 16 and 1700 compared to everywhere else.

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