Battle of Yaita
Date Winter 1864 CE
PlaceYaita, Honshu, Japan
ResultAizu victory
  • Okubo Yukihiro
  • Toda Sanemitsu
  • Imagawa Kageshige



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South-Eastern Pacification Wars
Yaita - Tochigo

The battle of Yaita was the first engagement in the South-Eastern Pacification Wars. In the winter of 1864, Yamakawa Hiroshi had brought a small force to the Aizu-Utsunomiya border, with the intent of besieging the town of Tochigo. However, the Utsunomiya general Toda Sanemitsu brought forth his own army to do battle with Yamakawa's, just outside of the town. He was soon reinforced by Imagawa Kageshige's contingent of riflemen.

Yamakawa ordered his army forward, attempting to eliminate Toda's smaller force before it Imagawa's reinforcements could arrive. However, poor visibility due to fog caused him to delay the march for a day. By this time, the gap between the two Utsunomiya armies was closing. The Aizu army surged forward, but it failed to prevent a link up in time.

The battle opened shortly afterward, with Okubo Yukihiro's contingent of Shinsengumi riflemen engaging Imagawa's reinforcements. A regiment of spear levy attempted to break the Shinensgumi line, but they were routed by a cavalry charge from Yamakawa's bodyguard. As the Aizu and Utsunomiya forces continued to trade blows, Yamakawa ordered his samurai units to attack from the flanks. Maneouvering through the forests, the katana kichi and spear levy of Yamakawa's force eventually brought their weight to bear upon the Utsunomiya flank. Whilst they were pinned under fire from Okubo's Shinsengumi, the Utsunomiya troops were unable to move as the two wings of Yamakawa's troops moved in. After a brief battle, the Utsunomiya force was routed. Imagawa was cut down in the fighting, but Toda managed to flee.

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