Shingen-ko Matsuri

Kofu is at the top of my ‘to visit’ list next time I’m in Japan, which will hopefully be next year! With any luck I’ll be able to coincide a stop to this city in Yamanashi Prefecture with the fantastic-looking Shingen-ko Matsuri.

The festival

The Shingen-ko Matsuri is held in Kofu in early April, and celebrates the virtues of the city’s most famous samurai, Takeda Shingen. Replicas of the Furinkazan, his representative flag, decorate the city but the highlight is the Koshu Batalion Deployment, where around 1,500 Yamanashi locals dres in traditional costumes and march along with torches. The parade starts at 5pm in front of Kofu station.

There is also a contest the day before the parade to determine who will represent Shingen’s wife. Over the weekend, there are also food and game booths in the Kofu Joshi Ruin, where the castle formerly stood, and in Kofu downtown.

I think it’s quite clear why I want to go to this, as Takeda Shingen is one of my favourite samurai.

About Takeda Shingen

Shingen was a powerful warlord in the Sengoku era, and is particularly famous for his Takeda cavalry and leading the one and only defeat against Tokugawa Ieyasu, who later became shogun and unifier of Japan, in the battle of Mikatagahara. He was an exemplar warlord and many of his governing methods were later adopted by Tokugawa Ieyasu when he founded the Tokugawa shogunate. He was served loyally in war by his famous “twenty-four generals”. According to the Koyo Gunkan, the great military records of the Takeda family, the Takeda army consisted of 33,736 men in 1573. Shingen’s greatest rival was Uesugi Kenshin, and they fought on five occasions at Kawanakajima with the fourth battle there in 1561 being their greatest contest.

There are varying accounts of Takeda Shingen’s death. At the age of 49, he was the only daimyo with the necessary resources and tactical skills to stop Oda Nobunaga’s attempts to rule Japan.

When Takeda Shingen was 49 years old, he was the only daimyo with the necessary power and tactical skill to stop Oda Nobunaga’s rush to rule Japan. After the battle of Mikatagahara, Shingen stopped his advance temporarily due to outside influences, which allowed the combined forces of the Oda and Tokugawa to prepare for battle again. He entered Mikawa Province, but soon died in the camp. Some accounts say he succumbed to an old war wound and others say a sniper shot him. He was succeeded by his son Katsuyori, who was defeated by the Oda and Tokugawa forces at Nagashino, and the Takeda clan never recovered.

Back to blogging!

As you’ve probably gathered, I’m back from holiday and getting straight back to blogging. I’m having trouble believing I’m in England given the weather, mind. Anyway, I decided to kick things off with a look at something I’m really hoping to go to next year. That’s right, I’m planning my next trip around Japan!

Photo sources: visitbeautifuljapantraveljapanblog

4 thoughts on “Shingen-ko Matsuri

  1. As a resident of Yananashi, and former resident of Kofu, I can say that the matsuri is full of energy. It even rained this year, but the samurais kept at it unfazed, shouting “Ei-ei-OHH!” the whole time, which is kind of a chant to build people’s spirits. Really good time.

      • If you have a car, it’s great. Kofu, or rather Yamanashi, shares mount Fuji with neighboring Shizuoka. It’s surrounded by mountains, so if you’re into hiking, it’s a paradise. It IS in a mountain basin though, so summers get really hot and humid. Kofu isn’t a huge city, so the transportation isn’t as good as, say, Tokyo. Japanese consider Yamanashi country…and it’s true. You really need a car to live here, but if you’re just visiting, the buses and trains are enough to take you to the good spots.

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