Most Famous Shogun


Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was defeated by Takeda’s army, gained strength in Hamamatsu and would eventually unify the country as the most famous shogun. What did the land of Hamamatsu provide Ieyasu?


The Sengoku period was a time when powerful warring feudal lords ruled the country. Ieyasu, who was steadily improving his military and intellectual prowess while competing with neighboring feudal lords and being supported by his vassals, finally took over the country and ended the warring age that continued through the Onin War. However, the journey to that point was extremely challenging: his early childhood, when he was only three years old and spent time as a prisoner after he was separated from his mother; his adolescence, when he lived in Hamamatsu from the age of 29 to 45; and his later years until his death. Ieyasu, who spent about one-third of his life in Shizuoka, also chose the area as his final resting place. Let’s unravel the charms of Shizuoka that Ieyasu loved so much.

Adventure and interactive activities to visit places associated with Tokugawa Ieyasu

Ieyasu and Hamamatsu

During the time Ieyasu spent in Hamamatsu from the ages of 29 to 45, he experienced his greatest defeat at the Battle of Mikatagahara. He was attacked by the Takeda clan and fled back to Hamamatsu Castle, but in an attempt to take revenge, he made a desperate attack on the Takeda clan who were camped at Saigagake with only a handful of men. Although the soldiers of the Takeda clan were pushed to the bottom of the cliff and severely damaged, it was not enough to overturn the defeat, and Ieyasu suffered a humiliating defeat. Ieyasu was devastated by the large number of casualties, including many powerful vassals who died in place of Ieyasu.

Ieyasu left the following words.

“Winning isn’t always a good thing, and losing is important, too.” Ieyasu would use this experience in Hamamatsu as a lesson for his life and would go on to lay the foundations for the unification of Japan.

Bountiful Lake Hamana and Ieyasu
Hamamatsu, where Ieyasu spent 17 years of his life, is known for its rich agriculture, including fruits, vegetables, and flowers, as it is one of the sunniest cities in Japan.

Lake Hamana, the symbol of Hamamatsu, is connected to the Enshu Sea and is a brackish lake with seawater from the Pacific Ocean flowing in. Rich in nutrients and biodiversity, the area has a thriving natural fishing industry, as well as farmed eels, seaweed, oysters, and soft-shelled turtles.

The “kaki-kaba don” is a special dish filled with fresh oysters, a typical winter specialty of the region, seasoned with the sauce of the famous broiled eel, along with local ingredients such as seaweed from Lake Hamana, onions from Enshu, and tangerines also from Enshu.

Lake Hamana, where the waves are calm, offers a variety of marine activities in summer in addition to swimming.

Among them, pedal SUP (stand-up paddleboard) is available at Lake Okuhamana, where legend has it that Ieyasu took a boat and escaped from his pursuers by taking a route on the sea.

Paragliding is also a great way to see Lake Okuhamana from above, where one can also enjoy the view of Lake Hamana. The spectacular view of the lake and the sky may make you feel like Ieyasu who unified the entire country.

Tours of the paragliding grounds are also available, so those who do not wish to fly or children under the weight limit can also enjoy the spectacular scenery. The monorail travels up the slope of the mountain, allowing visitors to arrive in only 10 minutes where it would take an hour on foot. Depending on the time of year, sunset plans are also available, allowing you to enjoy the fantastic view of the setting sun reflected on the surface of Lake Hamana.

The head of the Mikkabicho Tourist Association had the following to say: “There are many legends associated with Tokugawa Ieyasu at Lake Okuhamana in Mikkabicho. There are good reasons to believe that Ieyasu took the sea route to successfully escape his pursuers, and it is very interesting to trace the route from the perspective of what Ieyasu was thinking at the time. Enjoying Lake Okuhamana from the air and sea is like reliving history, and it is full of historical romanticism.”

Indeed, Lake Hamanako is said to have played an important role in transporting rations and arms to the Hamamatsu Castle at that time, and the area possessed overwhelming convenience in terms of waterways and overland routes. It was an important lake that supported the rapid progress of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who would later become the ruler of Japan.


Hamamatsu was a land of many hardships, with many days spent in battle. Ieyasu was able to unify the country thanks to the support of his vassals and the days he spent here. Even after the death of Ieyasu, who fulfilled his dream of unifying Japan, the Edo shogunate continued for more than 260 years, maintaining an era of peace and tranquility for a long period, which is said to be unprecedented in the world.

Ieyasu, who vowed to live a long life and make his subjects happy, achieved the peaceful happiness not only of his own subjects, but also of future generations.

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