The Age of War
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Japan’s Warring States Period
Japan’s Warring States period, or Sengoku period (戦国時代), began towards the end of the preceding Ashikaga Shogunate. In 1467, the Ōnin War (応仁の乱) broke out over who should succeed the ruling Shogun. Though succession was settled in 1477, the Shogun lost control over the many daimyōs, or feudal lords, controlling Japan. Endless bickering and power grabbing soon saw Japan descend into full-fledged civil war.
Today, many foreigners are familiar with Japan’s Warring States period to an extent, although in most case, it’s usually a case of familiarity with names. It was during this era that the famous Three Sengoku Warlords rose to power. Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Lesser warlords that are also famous internationally include Date Masamune, Takeda Shingen, and Uesugi Kenshin. In all cases, it’s thanks to the popularity of Japanese games and manga that these generals became so well-known. In the case of architecture, Japanese castles are the most prominent examples of Warring State period construction. After the Ōnin War, every other warlord worth his banner built a castle. These castles served both as defensive strongholds and ostentatious expressions of power.
PS: The Azuchi-Momoyama (安土桃山) period refers to the tail end of Japan’s Warring States period. The name came from Nobunaga establishing his seat of power in Azuchi, and Hideyoshi doing so in Momoyama.
Toukiden Kiwami Travel Itinerary 3: The Age of War
Within Toukiden Kiwami, access to the Age of War symbolises an intensification in combat. Correspondingly, the battleground is swathed in blood-like red. Ruined villages and rivers of flowing lava are everywhere.
There are still sights to enjoy! Despite these scenes of dramatic ruin dominating the battleground. In the background looms one of Japan’s most legendary castles in history. Various locations also offer a peep at how Japan would be, should one of its many huge volcanoes erupt. Naturally, none of us wish for anything near the latter to happen.
A Note from Our Guide
Toukiden Kiwami: The Age of War
In my next post, we’ll visit a relatively more peaceful era of historical Japan. the Tokugawa Shogunate!
If you’re thinking of visiting Japanese castles, this site is easily the best guide.
If you enjoyed this tour of historical Japan,
consider getting a copy of Toukiden Kiwami!