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Goin’ Japanesque!

Drama Series Sanadamaru Makes Shinshu Ueda (Nagano) a Major Hot Spot

Sanada Yukimura or Sanada Nobushige is a very famous individual for being a spectacular Sengoku Period samurai warrior with many legends to his name. The reason we are featuring Sanada Yukimura today is because the land of his origins, Shinshu Ueda has become a major sightseeing hot spot. In a two part story, starting with this article, we answer questions like “What kind of person was Sanada Yukimura?” and “Where are recommended sightseeing spots of Shinshu Ueda?”.


Why is Shinshu Ueda so Hot Right Now?

The reason Shinshu Ueda (the current Ueda of Nagano Prefecture) is seeing so much hype right now is due to the effects of the NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) history-drama series, “Sanadamaru”. Sanadamaru is a drama series featuring Sanada Yukimura as the main character and depicts how he lived his life. They have quite an amazing cast such as Masato Sakai and Masami Nagasawa. The area of Shinshu Ueda had been a noteworthy spot even before the drama aired, but since the airing of the drama, it has significantly increased in popularity. We assume that this is because of the virtue of the sightseeing spots that the area had already such as the vast nature of Shinshu Ueda and many preserved places that have been significant in the life of Sanada Yukimura.  


What Kind of Person was Sanada Yukimura?

Sanada Yukimura was recognized as “Hinomoto ichi no tsuwamono (The strongest warrior in the land of the rising sun)”. He had extreme strengths, yet his personality was by no means brash; he was gentle and had a character that people looked up to.

The red group gathered in the center is the Sanada Clan “Summer Siege of Osaka”

The battle that gave Sanada Yukimura the title of being Japan’s strongest warrior is the Summer Siege of Osaka. It is known that he had run down his opponent Tokugawa Ieyasu so far that Ieyasu was ready for his death. This story also leads to the current heroic image that Sanada Yukimura has.

Also, in the Winter Siege of Osaka, he made a fortress called Sanadamaru and fought. This is the title for the drama series that is airing right now.


Characteristic of Sanada Yukimura 1: The Rokumonsen (Family Crest)


One item that is associated with the Sanada family is the distinct family crest, rokumonsen. The rokumonsen originally refers to the 6-mon coins that are placed in the coffin of the deceased. It symbolizes the fee that is paid to cross the Sanzu no Kawa (A river that separates the realm of the living and the dead). This being the symbol of the family, expresses that Sanada Yukimura is so dedicated that he does not even fear death. The sightseeing spots of Shinshu Ueda currently have an enormous amount of banners with the rokumonsen mark.
Related: Kamon (Japanese Family Crests): Ancient Key to Samurai Culture


Characteristic of Sanada Yukimura 2: Red Red Red!

Another thing that is associated with the Sanada family is the theme color red. During the warring times of Sengoku Period, it was not uncommon for a group to use a single theme color to unify the group. Red really stands out in battle, so troops that were unified in red were often elite and signified confidence in their battle skills (See the Sanada Clan in red during the Summer Siege of Osaka, as mentioned above).

The “Sanada Akazonae” or having the single color red, consistently across banners and armors looks quite amazing even in present day standards.


Sengoku BASARA (Devil Kings)

There may be many of you who know that Sanada Yukimura appears in the game, Sengoku BASARA (Devil Kings). The rokumonsen that is depicted on his back and the theme color red are some characteristics that appear directly in the game. If you knew of these facts only from the game, this article may have helped you learn more about the background.


Foods Associated with Sanada Yukimura

The Sanada Rokumon Soba (Noodles),

Sanada Don (Tonkatsu-fried pork cutlet),

Rokumonsen Kakiage Tenzaru (Cold Soba topped with Kakiage Tempura),

Shinshu Ueda, which is so popular right now, has seen many interesting Japanese dishes that express Sanada Yukimura’s rokumonsen crest or armor. They are offered by traditional restaurants so you can bet it tastes good too.


Have you become intrigued by Shinshu Ueda, the area associated with Sanada Yukimura? In part 2, we will show you the not-to-be-missed sightseeing spots of the super popular Shinshu Ueda.

Related: Sanada Yukimura is Trending: 8 Sightseeing Spots of Shinshu Ueda (Nagano)

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