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Region
Chubu
Island
Honshu
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Gifu
Population
2,107,687

Sekigahara Battlefield Museum

Relive one of the most important moments in Japan’s history

By George Underwood

In 1600, the Sekigahara valley played host to the largest and most important battle in feudal Japanese history, with Tokugawa Ieyasu facing Ishida Mitsunari for control of the country at the end of the sengoku (warring states) period. Ieyasu’s victory heralded the end of almost 150 years of civil war and led to establishing the Tokugawa Shogunate, which would rule Japan peacefully until 1868.

Today, Sekigahara is a small town just west of Nagoya, spread out on the battlefield plain between the nearby mountains. While it doesn’t offer much beyond its historical sites, Sekigahara can be a fascinating trip for people interested in samurai, the Sengoku Period, or military history in general.

Sekigahara Battlefield Memorial Museum

Sekigahara Museum

Photo by: PIXTA/ Tak.Niwa Walk through the different banners of clans who joined the battle.

Completed in 2020, the Battlefield Memorial Museum is a large, modern facility exploring the famous battle’s history and consequences.

The museum does a good job of explaining the lead-up to the battle and the reasons behind Ieyasu and Mitsunari’s feud while displaying letters from historical figures and replicas of armor and weapons used in the battle. The displays feature English descriptions, and free digital audio guides are available in multiple languages for more extensive information.

An experience room allows visitors to handle replica weapons and take photos wearing Sengoku-period clothing. At the same time, a top-floor observatory looks out over the entire battlefield and highlights the key locations.

Finally, visitors can watch an amazing movie that covers the battle with 4D effects to make you feel like you’re in the middle of the fight. You may need to make an advance reservation for the movie on busy days.

Hiking the battlefield

Sekigahara battlefield

Photo by: PIXTA/KURA A must visit for history buffs.

Set around the town are markers representing the locations of key moments and encampments from the battle, with information on the personalities associated with each area. Together they make up a large walking trail that takes you from the museum, around the outskirts of the town, and, if you wish, into the pleasant nearby forests and mountains, immersing you in a ground-level view of what the soldiers of the day would have seen.

Walking the full route takes just over two hours (or longer if you want to visit the mountain encampments), but there are also shorter trails to the most important sights that last less than an hour. Route information is available at the Battlefield Memorial Museum and on the Sekigahara tourism website.

Things To Know

Hours and fees

Museum admission is ¥500 for adults, ¥300 for highschool and university students and free for kids.
The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except on Mondays. For more information, visit the official website.

How To Get There

Address

By train

Sekigahara station is a 50-minute train ride from Nagoya station on the JR Tokaido Main Line, with a one-way trip costing ¥990. The journey is covered by the Japan Rail Pass. 

By car

About a 30-minute drive from Nagoya station.


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