Nagashino Shitaragahara

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Nagashino Shitaragahara (長篠・設楽原) is the area where Takeda Katsuyori and the Union of Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu fought in 1575. It is called "the Battle of Nagashino." The battle of Nagashino is one of the most famous battle scenes in the history of Japan. Oda Nobunaga defeated Takeda Cavalry which was the strongest army force in Sengoku Period by the revolutionary way of using gunners. This battle was the sign of the end of fighting with swords, and beginning of gun fighting in Japan.

Tourist Info.
To visit all spots, visit information center at Nagashino Castle or Shitaragahara Museum and get a map. You can spend 2 days by walking to visit all spots or one day by car.

0. at Shinshiro Station
1. use JR Iida Line to Mikawa Togo
2. walk North (20 min.)


周圍的地圖 Nagashino Shitaragahara


Nagashino Shitaragahara is located at east of Mikawa which is also the border of Mikawa, Toutoumi, and Shinano.

The battle of Nagashino Shitaragahara happened in June 29, 1575.

Nobunaga & Ieyasu V.S. Takeda Katsuyori
The Union: 38,000
Takeda: 15,000

The Battle field of Shitaragahar is where Takeda Katsuyori fought against the Union of Oda and Tokugawa in 1575. It is also known as the Battle of Nagashino. This battle was the turning point of the rise of Oda Nobunaga and the fall of Takeda Katsuyori. The record said, The Unio of Oda and Tokugawa had a great victory with the power of guns against Takeda Cavalry. However, the story what everyone believes of the battle of Nagashino is all fiction written after the battle by winners. But, when you take a look at the story, you will see what was the real battle of Nagashino. I'd like to introduce what was the true story of Nagashino.

The battle began at the Nagashino Castle. Nagashino Catle was Ieyasu's castle and located east of Mikawa. It was the connection point of Mikawa, Toutoumi, and Shinano. So, it is very important castle for Ieyasu. In April of 1575, Takeda Katsuyori brought his 15,000 armies and surrounded this castle. If Ieyasu lost this castle, his Hamamatsu Castle will be isolated from Mikawa and sooner he will be defeated by Katsuyori. Nobunaga and Ieyasu realize this crisis as soon as Katsuyori surrounded Nagashino Castle, and sent rescue forces. Castle has only 500 soldiers, but kept it until the Union of Oda and Tokugawa arrived at Nagashino.

In June 21, Nobunaga and Ieyasu gathered at Okazaki Castle. Nobunaga had 30,000 armies and Ieyasu had 8,000 armies.

At this moment, Nobunaga already defeated major his enemies such as Asakura. So, he didn't need to take a risk to loose his armies. All he had to do was just help Ieyasu. That's why he settle his headquarter here and built three layers of barricade for defensive position. However, Ieyasu want to defeat Katsuyori and give him serious damage because Katsuyori still rule the half of Ieyasu's land and at this opportunity he wanted them back. Katsuyori left 3,000 of his armies at this castle and set his headquarter at west of Nagashino Castle. Katsuyori and his samurai had a strategy meeting. What was their plan for 12,000 against 38,000? It is more than 3 times. Katsuyori also needed to defeat Nobunaga at this moment, otherwise he and his father's dream will never be true if he lost this opportunity. So, they risked their life but also, there was a chance to win this battle.

Katsuyori built 4 keeps at Tobigasu Mountain for watching Nagashino Castle. In June 28, after Katsuyori moved his most of armies, Sakai Tadatsugu, one of Ieyasu's samurai, brought 3,000 armies and defeat this fortress and other brunches. Nagashino Castle was saved, and Katsuyori lost many his imporant samurai. Moreover, this lost directly means Takeda armies might have their retreat cut off.

Nobunaga built a barricade, called "Babosaku" for about 2km long along the river. When Nobunaga brought his army, he let them carry those woods. So, he already had an idea to build this barricade.

The key factor was the weather. The battle of Nagashino happened in June 29 which is the end of raining season. Therefore, Katsuyori and his samurai believed that guns will be useless under the rain. However, the rain season could be end at any days, so they had to make a decision quickly before the rain was over and before Nobunaga finished building all barricade.

In the story, Nobunaga brought 3,000 guns and use 3 rotation system to fire guns. This is fiction and historian said 1,000 guns are the most Nobunaga was able to use. However, it is still the biggest number of guns in this time.

In the morning of June 29, both the Union and Katsuyori's armies met at Shitaragahara. Shitaragahara is small valley which has only 300m wide from Nobunaga side to Katsuyori side.

When you see the battle formation of Takeda armies, Katsuyori was taking the Hannibal model of the battle of Cannae in 216 BCE. He set two strong wings and try to surrounded Nobunaga's central armies. Just like Alexander the great, if either one of his wings could break through the back of Nobunaga, Katsuyori had a chance to win. That's why on the right wing, he put Baba, Sanada Brothers Tsuchiya. And left wing, he put Yamagata and Naito. All of them were the best and experienced samurai since Shingen.

The battle began in the morning until noon. They fought about 8 hours. Nobunaga also read Katsuyori's plan and set his gunners on the both wings. Ieyasu took his position as right wing to against Katsuyori's left wings. This is the spots where Katsuyori's right wing fought against Niwa Nagahide and Hashiba Hideyoshi.

Tsuchiya Masatsugu broke 2nd barricade and just about to reach this 3rd barricade, all gunners shot at him and he died here. Sanada Brothers also died by guns.

After hours, all over the sudden, Takeda Nobukado, Anayama Nobukimi and Takeda Nobutoyo, start retreating without the order of Katsuyori. This Hannibal style only works if the central body position stay strong. When body position retreat before the wings does, both wings stand alone and surrounded by the enemies. That is exactly what happened in this battle.

Baba Nobuharu one of the most important samurai of Katsuyori, sacrificed his life to save Katsuyori. The most common story said The Union lost 6,000 armies and Katsuyori lost 12,000 armies. However, the number is too huge and unrealistic. The historian said Nobunaga lost 600 and Katsuyori lost 1000 by considering the economic scale and based on the typical battle situation.

The serious loss of Katsuyori is not the number of armies he lost, but he lost almost all the important samurai in this battle. All he had left were the samurai who retreated without the order of Katsuyori. Most of them were relatives of Katsuyori. Katsuyori lost all important outside samurai. This seems like Katsuyori saved his families and cast out all outside samurai. Katsuyori lost all the credit of them.

After this battle of Nagashino Shitaragahara, Nobunaga finally takeover Takeda force. Ieyasu defeated Futamata Castle and Takatenjin Castle and take back Toutoumi. This lost directly course the fall of Takeda clan. Just one things, Katsuyori's cousin, Anayama Nobukimi who ran away first in the battle was the first guy who betrayed Katsuyori and run for Nobunaga. What a coincident, isn't it? If you want to know the true story of the battle of Nagashino, come and check the truth by yourself. The sprits of samurai are still fighting here.