Okazaki Park consists of the former grounds of Okazaki Castle where Ieyasu Tokugawa (1542-1616), one of the most famous men in Japanese history and the founding father of the Tokugawa shogunate was born.
Okazaki Park also contains the interesting Iyeyasu and Mikawa Bushi Museum (Tel: 0564 24 2204) which details the history of Ieyasu and the local Mikawa area clan to which he belonged. Note the different spelling of Tokugawa's first name in the name of the museum.
The museum focuses on the emergence of Ieyasu's Matsudaira clan in the Chubu area through video presentations, his early life at Okazaki Castle and his years spent as a hostage firstly with the Oda clan from age 6-8 and later with the Inagawa clan until he was 19. Life wasn't all bad however, as at 14 he married his captor Imagawa Yoshimoto's niece, Lady Tsukiyama.
The Iyeyasu & Mikawa Bushi Museum also has replicas of Ieyasu's armor, original swords, battle helmets, documents, wooden statues, and a diorama of his most famous victory at the Battle of Sekigahara.
There are a number of video games aimed at children where you can find out lots of useful facts about Tokugawa Ieyasu: he had 16 children, was 158cm tall and his shoe size was 22.5cm.
Just outside the entrance to the Iyeyasu and Mikawa Bushi Museum is the Karakuri Tokeito, a mechanical clock from which every thirty minutes a model of Ieyasu dressed in Noh costume appears and performs a dance accompanied by Noh music. The performance ends with a few of the Ieyasu's famous precepts such as "Blame yourself, not others," "Moderation is better than excess" and "Don't hurry."
Iyeyasu & Mikawa Bushi Museum Access
Take a Meitetsu Express train to Higashi Okazaki Station from Nagoya Station (28 mins) or from Toyohashi (20 mins). The nearest station to Okazaki Park is actually Okazaki Koen-mae one stop west on a local Meitetsu train or JR Naka Okazaki.
The main JR Okazaki Station is a distance south of the downtown area so change to the Aichi Loop Line (Aikan) and take a local train two stops north to Naka Okazaki Station, just opposite the Hatcho miso factory.
By car exit the Tomei Expressway at Okazaki Interchange or take National Highway Route 1 (the old Tokaido).
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