The battle of Sekigahara

Travel Information

The battle of Sekigahara (関ヶ原の戦い) in 1600 is the most decisive battle happened in the history of Japan. The battle field of Sekigahara is located on the border of Shiga and Gifu prefecture. This battle divided the power of Japan half and decided who was the last winner of Sengoku Period. The result of the battle coursed the fall of Toyotomi clan, and the rise of Tokugawa clan. Right after this battle Tokugawa Ieyasu became the Seii Tai Shogun and open Tokugawa Government at Edo.

Tourist info
You can get a map of Sekigahara at the museum.
Almost all spots has a parking, and also you can have rental bicycle.

0. at Gifu Station
1. use JR Tokaido to Sekigahara (29 min.)
2. walk west (10 min.)

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Detailed Travel Guide

The battle of Sekigahara
Armies who join the Battle of Sekigahara
Head: Tokugawa Ieyasu 30,000
Asano Nagamasa 6,500
Fukushima Masanori 6,000
Kuroda Nagamasa 5,400
Hosokawa Tadaoki 5,000
Ikeda Terumasa 4,500
Ii Naomasa3,600
Matsudaira Tadayoshi 3,000
Kato Yoshiaki 3,000
Tanaka Yoshimasa 3,000
Kyogoku Takatomo 3,000
Tsutsui Sadatsugu 2,800
Todo Takatora 2,500
Terasawa Hirotaka 2,400
Yamanouchi Kazutoyo 2,000
Ikuma Kazumasa 1,800
Yoshida Shigekatsu 1,200
Kanamori Nagachika 1,100
Arima Toyouji 900
Honda Tadakatsu 500
Oda Nagamasu 450

Head: Mori Hidemoto 15,000
Ukita Hideie 17,000
Kobayakawa Hideaki 15,000
Chosokabe Morichika 6,600
Ishida Mitsunari 6,000
Konishi Yukinaga 4,000
Yoshikawa Hiroie 3,000
Oya Yoshiharu 2,500
Ogawa Hirotada 2,500
Oda Nobutaka 2,000
Ankokuji Ekei 1,800
Oya Yoshitsugu 1,500
Shimazu Yoshihiro 1,500
Nagatsuka Masaie 1,500
KInoshita Yoritsugu 1,000
Wakisaka Yasuharu 1,000
Akaza Naoyasu 600
Kuchiki Mototsuna 600

At Tohoku.
Uesugi Kagekatsu

Yuki Hideyasu
Ogasawara Hidemasa
Date Masamune

At Nakasendo
Tokugawa Hidetada
Sakai Ietsugu
Sanada Nobuyuki
Honda Masanobu

Sanada Masayuki
Sanada Yukimura

The battle of Sekigahara was happened in 1600. It is called "Tenkawakeme no Sekigahara." The fortune of Japan was decided by this battle. The battle happened between Tokugawa Ieyasu and Ishida Mitsunari. Ieyasu side was called Togun, the eastern army, and Mitsunari side was called Seigun, the western military. Both armies had over 80,000 soldiers which make the battle the biggest battle ever happen in the history of Japan.

The story of the battle of Sekigahara began with the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1598. Hideyoshi was the top of Japan because he was the winner of Sengoku period and unified Japan. When he died, his son Hideyori was only 5 years old, and has no power to control what Hideyoshi left for him.

The battle of Sekigahara is mostly considered as the batlle between Tokugawa Ieyasu and Ishida Mitsunari who tried to protect the right of Hideyori, but it has another aspect which is the internal dissension of Hideyoshi's samurai. Hideyoshi had two type of Samurai under his government. One type is the generals, such as Fukushima Masanori, Katokiyoasa, Kuroda Nagamasa, Todo Takatora Ikeda Terumasa and even Date Masamune. Other type is the political officers, such as Ishida Mitsunari, Asano Nagamasa, Masuda Nagamori Maeda Geni, and Natsuka Masaie.

When Hideyoshi and Hidenaga were alive, their dissension had never reached on the surface, but when Hideyoshi died, their rifts became unfixable. There was one guy waiting for all this moments, the last winer of Sengoku period, Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu was chief Go-Tairo and the biggest Daimyo which has 2.5 million Goku. This guy waited for a long time for a chance to take over the power of Hideyoshi and became the ruler of Japan. He knocked a wedge into Hideyoshi's samura and divided into half and put the general type of samurai on his side.

Ieyasu's strategy was to make sure which Daimyo, especially giant Daimyo, stood against Ieyasu and to destroy them for his government. In fact, three out of five Tairo, Uesugi Kagekatsu, Mori Terumoto, and Ukita Hideie stood against Ieyasu, and after the battle they lost most of their lands.
That was critical act to make Tokugawa government settled and stronger.

Back to the story of Sekigahara, the first act of this battle was happened at Aizu. Uesugi Kagekatsu , the feudal lord of Aizu, made a secret pact with Mitsunari, and raised his army against Ieyasu. Ieyasu considered that as the rebellion against Hideyori, and took half of Hideyoshi's samurai to fight against Kagekatsu. When Ieyasu moved his major part of his army and emptied Osaka, Under the name of Hideyori, Mitsunari raised army against Ieyasu. Mori Terumoto became the commander of the army and most of Daimyo of western Japan, including Chosokabe and Shimazu joined on Mitsunari's side. Mitsunari's plan was giving pincer attack to Ieyasu from North and West.

When Ieyasu heard that Mitsunari gathered all western Daimyo, Ieyasu had a meeting at Oyama Castle and asked Hideyoshi's samurai that "who are you stand for? Mitsunari or me?" All of Hideyoshi's samurai changed their side from Toyotomi clan to Ieyasu at this meeting.

At this moment, it was look like Seigun, the western army, versus Togun, the eastern army. However, by the negotiation of Kuroda Nagamasa, Kobayakawa Hideaki, Wakisaka Yasuharu, Yoshikawa Hiroie and many others are promised to betray Mitsunari on the battle. Kobayakawa Hideaki, the nephew of Hideyoshi, would bring 15,000 army at Sekigahara which was the second biggest number of army in Seigun. Yoshikawa Hiroie was the chief commander of the army of Mori Hidemoto who also brought 15,000 armies at the battle.

Ieyasu gave most of his army to Hidetada, the son of Ieyasu, and ordered him to go on Nakasendo road. Then, Ieyasu ordered Fukushima Masanori, Ikeda Terumasa, Kuroda Nagamasa, and others to go on Tokaido road.

On Nakasendo, Hidetada was blocked by Sanada Masayuki and his son Yukimura at Ueda Castle. Therefore, they were late and couldn't join the battle. However, Tokaido was free pass because all Daimyo of Tokaido who were Hideyoshi's loyal samurai such as Yamanouchi Kazutoyo, turned to Ieyasu side and open Ieyasu way to Osaka. Ieyasu stayed at Edo Castle until he made sure that Hideyoshi's samurai truly turn to his side.

Fukunaga Masanori, and Ikeda Terumasa, both were samurai of Hideyoshi, took a van, and attacked and defeated Gifu Castle. In September 1, when Ieyasu heard that news, Ieyasu moved quietly to Ogaki where the base camp of Togun was located. At this moment, Mitsunari and Seigun took Ogaki castle and settled their headquarters there.

In September 14, Ieyasu gave up waiting the arrival of Hidetada, and prepared to move Nakasendo to attack Osaka. To prevent that, Seigun moved before Togun and set up a camp at Sekigahara field. They decided Sekigahara as the battle field. Most of Togun's samurai settled their headquarters surrounding the field of Sekigahara, and Mori, Kobayakawa and Mitsunari settled on the top of mountains. Mitsunari was located on the top of Mt. Sasao which was north west side of Sekigahara. Kobayakawa was on the top of Mt. Matsuo which was the south of Sekigahara. Mori was on the top of Mt. Nangu which was south east of Sekigahara.

The Sekigahara was covered with deep mist in the morning of September 15. Ieyasu arrived Sekigahara in early in the morning and settled his headquarter at Mt. Momokubari which was located east of Sekigahara. Placed Ikeda, Hachisuka, Yamanouchi and Asano on back of him for the reserve army. Then, Starting from Fukushima, he filled Sekigahara by his army.

At 8 am, the mist was getting thiner and Fukushima started attacking the army of Ukita and this was the beginning of the battle. Ukita had 17,000 of army which was the largest army in Seigun, and Fukushima, Honda, Kato and Ii of Togun fought a hard battle against Ukita. Mitsunari's army fought against the armies of Hosokawa and Kuroda.

At 10 am, Mitsunari sent Noroshi, smoke signal to Kobayakawa and Mori to start full force attack. At this moment, only 33,000 armies of Seigun was fighting against 70,000 armies of Togun. However, because of the geographical advantage, Seigun was having an upper hand over Togun. If the rest of Seigun, especially, Kobayakawa and Mori started attacking Togun, Togun was surrounded and Seigun could win easily. Also, Shimazu of Seigun, the strongest army at Sengoku period, could gave a serious damage to Togun. However, none of them made any action.

Because, Yoshikawa Hiroie was already betrayed to Ieyasu, he blocked all armies located on Mt. Nangu. Kobayakawa also made a promise to betray Ieyasu. However, he couldn't make up his mind to betray Mitsuhide, yet.
At noon, Ieyasu finally got upset because Kobayakawa could not make up his mind, and started to scare him by shooting guns. Kobayakawa finally made up his mind and started attacking Oya's army of Seigun. Oya was fighting against Todo and Kyogoku, and suddenly attacked side by Kobayakawa. However, Oya suspected that Kobayakawa would betray and pushed Kobayakawa back to Mt. Matsuo. Then, suddenly, Wakisaka, Ogawa, Akaza and Kuchiki turned to Ieyasu and attacked Oya. Oya didn't suspected their betray, and quickly he and his army was defeated. All those betrayed armies, Todo and Kyogoku started attacking Ukita after they defeated Oya. Ukita fought well but he was surrounded by three times bigger army of him, and eventually broke away.

Konishi of Seigun was also defeated, and finally Ieyasu moved his headquarter in the middle of Sekigahara. Shima Sakon and Gamo, samurai of Mitsunari, decided to gave Kamikze attack to Ieyasu, but they could not reach to Ieyasu. When they lost, Seigun was lost, except this guys.
The last page of the battle of Sekigahara was for Shimazu and his army. They did not even make any move all time long during the battle. When most of Seigon was defeated, Shimazu opened his eyes and order to run though the middle of Ieyasu's army. This is called "Shimazu's hikiguchi, breaking off in Shimazu way." Shimazu had 1,500 armies in this battle. Instead of showing back to the enemy and running away, Shimazu broke into the middle of the enemy to run away. When Shimazu arrived at his land Satsuma, he had only 80 people around him.

The battle of Sekigahara was over.

After the battle, Sawayama Castle, the castle of Mitsunari was defeated by Kobayakawa. Mitsunari run away from the battle, but captured in September 21. Konishi was captured in 19, and Ankokuji was captured in 23. Ieyasu entered Osaka castle in September 27, and met Hideyori. Ieyasu took two third of Toyotomi's land including Kyoto, Osaka and gold and sliver mining. In October 1, Mitsunari and other two were executed at Kyoto.

After the Battle
Mori was reduced his land from 1.2 million Goku to 360 thousand Goku of Suo and Nagato.
Shimazu lost nothing and kept his 600 thousand Goku of Satsuma.
Uesugi Kagekatsu was reduced his land from 1.2 million Goku to 300 thousand Goku and moved from AIzu to Yonezawa.
Satake was lost all of 830 thousand Goku of Hitachi and moved to Dewa of 200 thousand Goku.