The fascinating Sekigahara Town History & Folklore Museum (Tel: 0584 43 2665) is the place to start any tour of the famous site of the Battle of Sekigahara in central Japan.
The two-story museum has a collecton of armor, helmets and weapons used in the battle including firearms, swords, pikes and some incredible ninja arms including even a blow-pipe. The special forces of their day, the ninja, who probably fought on both sides in the battle, had some fearsome tools for combat.
The ground floor of the museum introduces the Battle of Sekigahara (in Japanese) on a large video screen showing the position and movements of the forces and the opposing generals, while the second floor exhibits the collection of arms and armor.
The Battle of Sekigahara took place on October 21, 1600 and ultimately lead to the establishment of the Tokugawa Bakufu under the control of the victorious Ieyasu.
Across the road from the museum is Jimbano - the site of Ieyasu's last camp during the battle. A 20 minute walk or short drive away is Sekigahara War Land (Tel: 0584 43 0302) just off National Highway 365.
Sekigahara is a do-able day trip from Nagoya or even Kyoto. Take a JR Kaisoku (rapid) train bound for Maibara from Nagoya Station or change to a local train at Ogaki. The Sekigahara Tourist Office is outside the station (Tel: 0584 43 5559) and opens from 9am-2pm April to November.
Sekigahara Town History & Folklore Museum
Hours: 9am-4.30pm; 9am-4pm (November-March)
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