Not far from Shoren-in Temple, located on a quiet back street just south of the Okazaki district of Kyoto is the grave of Akechi Mitsuhide (1528-1582).
Born near Akechi village in what is now Gifu Prefecture, Akechi was a general in the armies of warlord Oda Nobunaga, until he turned traitor against his patron and attacked and killed him at Honnoji Temple in Kyoto.
Akechi had risen to be one of Nobunaga's most trusted men, serving in the destruction of the Tendai monks at Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei in 1571 and in Oda's most recent campaigns against the Mori clan in the west.
However, Akechi's mother had been killed by enemies of Nobunaga in 1579 and when Nobunaga began to slight his trusted subordinate in public, it seems Akechi set his mind to revenge on his erstwhile master.
In 1582, Akechi saw his chance and surrounded Honnoji, where Oda was staying with just a few followers, and either Oda was killed in the fighting or took his own life. Oda's son, Hidetada, was also hunted down and killed close to Nijo Castle.
Oda's glittering castle palace at Azuchi on the shores of Lake Biwa, north of the capital, was also destroyed and looted by Akechi's men.
Oda Nobunaga's murder was avenged by another of his generals, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who along with the Christian daimyo Ukon Takayama, confronted Akechi's army at the Battle of Yamazaki in present-day Kyoto Prefecture, south west of Fushimi. Akechi - "the 13-day shogun" - fled the battlefield but was killed in unclear circumstances later in the day.
The plaque at the small shrine states that Akechi's head was brought here by his followers. The severed head had first been presented at Oda's grave by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, in a symbolic gesture that revenge was complete.
Akechi Mitsuhide's grave is marked on public maps of the area erected outside notable temples and places of interest.
Akechi was the father of Hosokawa Gracia, a famous Christian convert of the times.
Google map of Akechi Mitsuhide's Grave
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