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Friday, December 21, 2012

Battle of Okehazama

桶狭間の戦い

The Battle of Okehazama took place in 1560 in what is now the outskirts of Nagoya city in Toyoake. A young Oda Nobunaga leading a vastly outnumbered force of reportedly only 3,000 men made a surprise attack on the camp of his enemy Imagawa Yoshimoto, scattering his forces of 35,000 soldiers and killing Yoshimoto.

Battle of Okehazama, Toyoake, Nagoya
Shichikokuhyo
This stunning victory left Oda Nobunaga as the strongest warlord in Japan at this pivotal period of Japanese history and lead to some of Yoshimoto's defeated generals, including a young Tokugawa Ieyasu, changing their allegiance to the victor.

The main sites commemorating the Battle of Okehazama are found between Arimatsu Station, Chukyo-keibajo-mae Station and Zengo Station on the Meitetsu Nagoya Main Line to Toyohashi from Nagoya Station or Kanayama Station.

Battle of Okehazama manhole
Battle of Okehazama manhole
Just outside Chukyo-keibajo-mae Station (the stop serving the large race course here) is a park containing the grave of Imagawa Yoshimoto and seven granite pillars (shichikokuhyo), representing Yoshimoto's seven generals on the day of the battle. Across the road from the park is a Shingon sect temple, Kotokuin (高徳院).

Back on Route 1 (the old Tokaido highway) on the way to Zengo Station is a burial mound called Senninzuka, where the bodies of 2,500 of Imagawa's soldiers were laid to rest by a Buddhist priest from Sogenji Temple.

Senninzuka, Toyoake, Nagoya
Senninzuka
The battle sites of Okehazama are not really worth the trip out to see except for hardened history buffs. This area of Nagoya is not noted for its beauty and National Highway 1, the old Tokaido is now a succession of video rental outlets, fast food restaurants and convenience stores.

Sogenji Temple is a 1km walk from Zengo Station and commemorates the battle in an annual festival in June.

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Okehazama
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