Shinshiro-City Shinshiro Shitaragahara Historical Museum
Battle of Nagashino, the Shitaragahara Battlefield and History Museum
Visible from the rooftop observation area atop the wonderful Shitagahara Historical Museum in eastern Aichi Prefecture’s Shinshiro City, is the long, thin valley known locally as Shitaragahara. This is the site of one of the most famous samurai battles, the Battle of Nagashino, that took place on May 21st, 1575.
Takeda Katsuyori, was advancing on the capital, Kyoto, in an effort to seize control of the nation. To march on Kyoto necessitated crossing the lands owned by both Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga. The Takeda army were a battle hardened, well trained army, and had soundly defeated the Tokugawa at the Battle of Mikatagahara some years before, and were confident of another victory. Therefore they steamrolled their way across the lands. They laid siege to Yoshida Castle, but when it failed to capitulate, the impatient Katsuyori moved his 15,000 men to Nagashino Castle and surrounded that instead. However, one brave foot soldier made his way out of the castle at night, swam the moat, and ran some 35 km to alert Tokugawa Ieyasu who, with support from Oda Nobunaga came to the rescue a week later with 38,000 soldiers.
Along with their weapons and armor, each of the Oda samurai carried a long, thin log with them.
These logs were used to build two km of simple wooden palisade along the western side of the valley at the foot of the rolling hills. Running through the middle of the valley was the small Rengo River. Either side of the river were rice paddies. On the opposite eastern side, the Takeda had arranged themselves into battle formations on the slopes of the low mountains.