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The Japanese people represent a civilization in Civilization VI. They are led by Hojo Tokimune, under whom their default colors are white and dark red; and Tokugawa, under whom their default colors are reversed.

The Japanese civilization ability is Meiji Restoration, which allows District District to receive a standard adjacency bonus from being next to one another, instead of minor. Their unique unit is the Samurai (which replaces the Man-At-Arms), and their unique building is the Electronics Factory (which replaces the Factory).


Starting bias: Tier 3 towards Coast

The Japanese are the undisputed experts at building compact clusters of cities to maximize the number of specialty District Districts adjacent to one another. The epitome of a versatile civilization, Japan can adapt quickly throughout the game, depending on their starting location and opponents, to select the smoothest path to Victory.

Meiji Restoration[]

This is the defining ability of Japan that bestows on them an unmatched level of flexibility. For new players, this does not sound like much, but this simple bonus is one of the strongest ones in the game.

There are six types of District Districts that can gain adjacency bonuses in the game: Campus, Theater Square, Commercial Hub, Harbor, Industrial Zone and Holy Site. These District Districts usually gain +1 bonus for every two adjacent districts, but now they will receive +1 bonus per adjacent district instead. With good city planning, this allows you to create massive District District clusters between nearby cities that feed each other adjacency bonuses. This bonus is actually better than just doubling the regular adjacency bonuses. For example, a Campus adjacent to 3 other District Districts will gain only 1 more Science Science, because every 0.5 adjacency bonus will get rounded down if the number is odd, a Japanese Campus in this situation will receive 3 Science Science. For this reason, while other civilizations can be a little haphazard in their placement of District Districts, effective play as Japan requires a very good knowledge of available districts and future planning. This ability pairs very well with policy cards that double adjacency bonuses or boost buildings' yields by 50% if the District Districts they are in have high starting adjacency. This makes Japan a better choice for players who are more accustomed to the rules of District District placement, as opposed to brand new players.

Holy Site[]

Combined with Hojo's leader ability, Japan has a solid edge in founding a Religion, and the fact that you can get more Faith Faith out of each Holy Site if you manage to build them close to one another means Japan is decent at a Religious Victory. The main challenge most religious civilizations meet when pursuing a Religious Victory is that you have to make Holy Sites your main District District, which will take up a District District slot in every city. Holy Sites are not necessarily the best District District to be built en masse, and Faith Faith is more meaningful if it can get translated to something else, other than just religious units. However, since Japan is so versatile, you can easily transition to other paths if a Religious Victory is out of reach. As mentioned above, Faith Faith is a much better yield if it is played as a supporting factor to other Victory paths, like to be used to buy units if you have the Grand Master's Chapel or to buy Rock Bands, Naturalists and Great Person Great People when pursuing a Cultural Victory. Purely religious Japan is decent, but if there are civilizations who can generate a massive amount of Faith Faith much more reliably in the game, like Russia or Ethiopia, it is wise to pick another path and build just enough Holy Sites to support that path.

Under Tokugawa, Holy Site is not an important district, since Tokugawa is strictly a scientific leader, and while Faith Faith is always welcome, it pales in importance compared to Science Science, Culture Culture and Production Production. Considering that each Japanese city under Tokugawa needs to prioritize Campus, Theater Square, Industrial Zone and Commercial Hub, it is just difficult to slip Holy Site into the build order.

Work Ethic works really well with Japan as the Follower Belief, since Japanese Holy Sites can earn high adjacency bonuses, the parent cities will gain a lot of Production Production very early into the game. Otherwise, Jesuit Education is also an incredible Follower Belief for both Japanese leaders, since Tokugawa loves Campuses and Hojo loves Theater Squares. However, Hojo can use this belief better since he is more likely to invest in Faith Faith generation needed to purchase these buildings.


Science Science is always crucial, especially under Tokugawa, since he is a lot less versatile than Hojo. Combined with the extra Science Science from his internal Trade Route Trade Routes, Tokugawa has almost no issues competing with other pure scientific civilizations.

Under Hojo, you may not need to build Campuses everywhere, unless you are going for a scientific victory. A few Campuses are necessary to keep your technology competitive, however. Since you get a 50% bonus Production Production when building Theater Squares and Holy Sites. you can make them your main District Districts to build, and then catch up in Science Science later by unlocking Globalization and International Space Agency.

Among the six District Districts that can gain adjacency bonuses, the one that is the easiest to earn high bonuses on is the Campus, since there are 4 terrain types and features (Rainforest, Mountains, Reefs and Geothermal Fissures) that give the Campus extra Science Science, so it is not totally necessary to situate Campuses in the middle of a District District cluster if you can find somewhere else better.

Theater Square[]

Considering how tough it is to earn high starting bonuses for Theater Squares, a little bit extra Culture Culture for each Theater Square built is always welcome, especially as Hojo, since you can build them in half the time. Also, if you do not manage to earn any Great Works, the Culture Culture output of the buildings inside the Theater Square can be underwhelming, so this is your prime candidate to put in the middle of a District District cluster. This can be one of your core District Districts to build as well, depending on which Victory you have in mind. For a Cultural Victory, for instance, this will obviously be your number one District District. This can also be a high-priority District District if you go for a Religious Victory, side by side with your Holy Sites, since transitioning from a Religious Victory to a Cultural Victory is a lot smoother than to a Scientific Victory. Although new players often forgo this District District, Culture Culture generation is absolutely crucial for a Scientific Victory as well, so in that case, only the Campus has a higher priority, and Theater Squares should still be second most important type of District District.

For Tokugawa, he cares about Culture Culture more than the Tourism Tourism aspect of the Theater Square, since he is strictly scientific. After constructing Campus, the Aqueduct + Industrial Zone combo and Commercial Hub, the next District District Tokugawa should go for is Theater Square. At this point, all your cities have strong Production Production to quickly build Theater Squares and their expensive buildings, and also have enough District Districts to give these Theater Squares a meaningful starting adjacency bonus, resulting from Meiji Restoration. It is not necessary to prioritize Theater Squares more than that, focus on building other pieces of infrastructure first, then divert your attention to Theater Squares.

Industrial Zone[]

(For a detailed guide on city planning surrounding the Industrial Zone, head here.)

Japanese IZ placement 1 (Civ6)

A productive Japanese Industrial Zone surrounded by 6 engineering District Districts

In vanilla and Rise and Fall, it may be difficult on occasion to choose whether adjacency bonuses from District Districts or adjacency bonuses from Mines and Quarries are superior, if those improvements are away from your main District District setup. However, you can also use this to your advantage by considering the Industrial Zone with lower priority than other District Districts, not necessarily because you don't need Production Production, but because you can just earn very high starting bonus on Industrial Zones by putting them in the middle of a hilly area.

In Gathering Storm, however, the new major adjacency bonuses from Aqueducts, Canals and Dams stack with this ability, giving Industrial Zones next to even one of these District Districts an astounding +3 adjacency bonus! You should try to flank each Industrial Zone with both an Aqueduct and a Dam whenever possible, and run the Craftsmen policy card as soon as it is unlocked. Since Production Production is the king of all the yields, the Industrial Zone should be at the heart of every major District District complex that you construct. For a detailed guide on city planning surrounding the Industrial Zone, head here.

This is also the District District where your unique building is situated; however, as explained in great details below, the Electronics Factory is not, by any means, a strong unique building that you need to go out of your way to accommodate. Think of Production Production and the Industrial Zone this way: high Production Production is undoubtedly amazing, and the feeling when everything is completed in just a few turns is really satisfying, but on the other hand, not all cities need to be built to maximize Production Production. The major difference between Civilization V and Civilization VI is that Civilization V is extremely punishing towards un-productive cities, as they take their toll on your 20xHappiness5 Happiness, Culture Culture, Science Science, your empire's policy adoption and technological advancements. In Civilization VI, you can have as many satellite cities as your heart contents, as long as you find space to put them. These cities can slowly build up their infrastructure, which will in turn generate Science Science, Culture Culture, Gold Gold and Faith Faith; these yields may be small but they add up and still can contribute to the progress of the empire overall. There is very little punishment going ultra-wide in Civilization VI for this one reason: in Civilization VI, techs and civics don't cost more per city but their counterparts did back in Civilization V. Building Industrial Zones is a long-term investment: you put in Production Production to slowly receive Production Production back, you want that for your core cities where you will complete space projects for a Scientific Victory or wonders for a Cultural Victory; your satellite cities don't need to produce much, they can just sit there to generate yields passively. The bottom line is: Don't go overboard with Industrial Zones.

Regarding your core (productive) cities, the main Production Production hub should have Magnus with the Vertical Integration promotion. This city should pick the Coal Power Plant to maximize its Production Production output. Every other city within 6 tiles of this city should have either an Oil Power Plant or a Nuclear Power Plant to supply extra Production Production to the main city. Remember that the AoE Production Production bonus from multiple Factories and Power Plants do not stack except for one city with Vertical Integration-promoted Magnus, so it just comes full circle back to the question why building Industrial Zones in every city mindlessly is a waste of Production Production. Also, note that the Production Production from the Coal Power Plant is localized, it grants a lot of Production Production but no AoE Production Production to nearby cities (it still supplies Power Power though). Therefore, if you have an Industrial Zone that is not within range of the main "Magnus city", it is best to build a Coal Power Plant there, thanks to the high adjacency bonus Japanese Industrial Zones often have.

Commercial Hub/Harbor[]

Despite Hojo's bonuses towards the navy and naval combat, if maximizing adjacency bonuses is the number one goal, Commercial Hubs are clearly the better choice. Normally, for other civilizations, the Harbor is generally better, thanks to the superior effects of its buildings, and has a much easier time gaining high adjacency bonuses. However, since the Japanese ability encourages building cities and District District in compact clusters, Harbors do not provide a lot of adjacency bonuses to other in-land District District. On the other hand, you can dedicate one coastal city on the peripheral of your empire to be the main naval hub with a Harbor to train naval units with boosted experience gain.

Under Tokugawa, the power of Trade Route Trade Routes is the backbone of the Japanese empire, so either a Commercial Hub or a Harbor is required in every city. At the beginning, prioritize these District Districts only after Campuses, so that you have a good flow of Science Science, Culture Culture, Gold Gold, Production Production and Food Food in your empire. Later on, especially starting from Renaissance and Industrial, you can switch to build Industrial Zones/Aqueducts first, so that the cities are off to a good start, before starting on Commercial Hubs or Harbors.

Although not very useful in terms of training naval units, a Harbor built inside a one-tile Lake is a good substitute for a Commercial Hub. As mentioned above, the Harbor's buildings have far stronger effects than the Commercial Hub's buildings, but Japan might prefer Commercial Hubs more because Commercial Hubs can be placed more easily in the middle of a District District cluster while Harbors cannot. However, Harbors that are built inside a one-tile Lake eliminate this conundrum completely, allowing those Harbors to be in the heart of your empire instead of on the peripheral.

Other types of districts[]

There is not much to talk about these District Districts except for the fact that since they cannot earn adjacency bonuses, they should only be on the outskirt of any District District formation. The only exception to this is the Government Plaza. Normally, this District District gives a +1.5 bonus to adjacent District Districts, which would be rounded down to 1 if there is no other District District nearby. The Japanese Government Plaza gives a major bonus to all adjacent District Districts, thus it should be surrounded by other District Districts, even though it itself cannot earn any bonus.

Divine Wind (Hojo Tokimune)[]

Encampments, Theater Squares and Holy Sites are built in half the time[]

The first and more reliable aspect of this ability is that Encampments, Holy Sites and Theater Squares can be built in half the time, as if they are unique District Districts. Just a quick note, Hojo does not receive a Production Production modifier when building these District Districts, but they become 50% cheaper than normal. It can be stacked multiplicatively with the District District discount mechanic to give you a roughly 70% discount. This has great synergy with Meiji Restoration, at least for the latter two, even more so if you are going for a Cultural Victory, and to a lesser extent, a Religious Victory. Encampments are better built at the edge of your empire to fully benefit from the bombardment they provide, or at the edge of a District District complex to provide bonuses to other District Districts.

Cheap Holy Sites give you a decent shot at competing for a Religion, as long as it is prioritized. Later in the game, they can be decent at generating Faith Faith to aid a Cultural Victory. The reason Japan is not as good at a Religious Victory as a Cultural Victory is that they cannot generate Faith Faith in any way other than from their Holy Sites. Therefore, in order to win a Religious Victory, Japan either has to combine it with Domination, or the map has to be small enough, because at some points, Faith Faith from Holy Sites cannot be enough for the ever-increasing cost of Apostles and Missionaries.

Cheap Theater Squares are a lot better. A good Culture Culture flow can unlock policy cards quickly, which can help tremendously with all Victory types. This is especially pronounced in a Cultural game, since satellite cities where Production Production is not the best can still quickly erect Theater Squares to generate Culture Culture and later be the place to store Great Works. In the early game, it helps you unlock Feudal Contract from Feudalism a bit faster, helping you train Samurai, if you plan to be aggressive with your neighbors.

Encampments matter the least, even for a Domination game, as you generally don't want to build this District District everywhere. One early Encampment can be useful if you want a Great General Great General around the same time as your Samurai is unlocked. Stacking Oligarchy Strength Combat Strength bonus and a Great General Great General on top of the Samurai's already high Strength Combat Strength can be quite fearsome, especially against coastal cities, since the Samurai will then receive an additional +5 Strength Combat Strength from the second aspect of this ability.

Extra Combat Strength when fighting on the coastline[]

The second part of Divine Wind is a significant combat bonus to units fighting on coastal, Coast and Lake tiles. The in-game description is partially wrong: this ability applies to all land and naval units when they fight in these 3 types of terrain, which means a land ranged unit can receive the Strength Combat Strength if it attacks a unit on a Coast or a Lake tile, a naval ranged unit receive Strength Combat Strength when attacking a unit standing on a coastal tile, etc. This bonus is the same number that America receives, but much harder to properly utilize. In the early game, it greatly helps against barbarians as well as any naval combat Japan might find themselves in. Later, it's more of a situational buff. Remember, similar to every other abilities which give extra Strength Combat Strength based on terrains, the terrain of the battle is the tile of the defender, not attacker. However, as mentioned above, naval units still benefit when fighting both in shallow water and on coastal tiles, which means a naval unit does receive extra Strength Combat Strength when attacking a city on the coastline, making it easier for Hojo to launch a naval invasion, especially when the chosen Government is Oligarchy (or its Legacy card is being run). Also, it is considerably harder to launch a naval invasion against Hojo, since a line of defending land units on the coast can block any enemy from disembarking successfully while the Japanese navy can clear out any enemy ship near their shores.

Two different religious pantheons that mesh particularly well with Divine Wind are God of War and God of the Sea. Divine Spark is another useful one, especially for those players who wish to take the Japanese civilization in a less aggressive direction.

This bonus also applies to religious units. Your Apostles and Missionaries will be slightly stronger when engaging in theological combat along the coastline. This bonus cannot be used effectively on offense, since your units most likely will have to travel further inland to spread your Religion, so it is useful on defense only, especially on water maps. With Moksha and his Laying On Of Hands promotion, you can form an immortal defensive line against unwanted religious invasions.

Immunity to damage from Hurricanes[]

In Gathering Storm, Hojo offers all Japanese units, District Districts, and improvements protection from Hurricanes, also, Japanese enemies will receive extra damage from Hurricanes when inside Japanese territories. This is what's often called a "thematic bonus," as it provides some historical flavors to the leader and has absolutely no bearing on the game. Hurricanes are the least damaging type of disasters, as they spawn on Ocean tiles and their travel paths are never guaranteed to hit any coastal city. The defensive implication of this aspect where a Hurricane coincidentally hits the coast of Japan (which, again, it rarely does) at the precise moment when they get invaded will almost never happen.

Bakuhan (Tokugawa)[]

Bonuses to domestic Trade Routes per district at the destination[]

Tokugawa Trade Route (Civ6)

When combined with Communism and Meiji Restoration, Japan under Tokugawa needs no trading partners.

Make no mistakes, this is the only meaningful part in Tokugawa's ability, which makes him a leader with quite a strong focus and a bonus that is easy to handle. To sum it up in a few words, as Tokugawa, send internal Trade Route Trade Routes only, and that is pretty much everything you need to know about him.

Rather than granting his civilization a bonus to constructing District Districts as Hojo Tokimune does, Tokugawa bestows an outstanding bonus on internal Trade Route Trade Routes based on the number of specialty District Districts at the destination, on top of the regular Food Food and Production Production. A full list of types of yields from domestic and international Trade Route Trade Routes can be found here.

Domestic Trade Route Trade Routes, without any unique bonuses, always grant only Food Food and Production Production. This is good for growing small cities, especially when you send them to your Capital Capital, the city most likely to contain a lot of District Districts. However, it doesn't grant those nice empire-wide currencies that you can get from international trade. Generally, the better option is to send Trade Route Trade Routes from your small cities to your larger cities, and then from your larger cities to foreign cities. But Japan under Tokugawa doesn't have to choose at all.

For each District District in a city where Tokugawa sends a domestic Trade Route Trade Route, that Trade Route Trade Route receives +2 Gold Gold and +1 each of Science Science and Culture Culture. This means that Tokugawa is massively rewarded for focusing on domestic trade and building a few huge cities that receive Trade Route Trade Routes from all his smaller cities. Each city you build should prioritize a Commercial Hub and a Market (or Harbor and Lighthouse) so they can trade with a high-District District city right away for exceptional yields. If your Capital Capital has 13 Citizen Population, and it's built all the available District Districts (which, as Japan, it should have), Trade Route Trade Routes can look like +8 Gold Gold and +4 each of Food Food, Production Production, Science Science and Culture Culture, making what would be a very worthy Atomic Era international Trade Route Trade Route available from as early as the late Medieval Era, in all of your cities!

While most bonuses to Trade Route Trade Routes only apply to international ones, there are certain bonuses that also apply to internal Trade Route Trade Routes and are worth considering:

  • Triangular Trade: a very powerful policy card that also applies to internal Trade Route Trade Routes. While Caravansaries provides a similar bonus from a far earlier stage, it is less powerful and harder to justify using.
  • Magnus' Surplus Logistics add 20% growth to the home city and any of your Trade Route Trade Routes ending receive extra 2 Food Food. This is a really powerful bonus, especially in the early game, since it helps your small cities grow incredibly quickly, while the home city will have a boosted growth rate and in turn have even more District Districts.
  • The University of Sankore normally is an underwhelming wonder, since most civilizations prefer sending international Trade Route Trade Routes, but this wonder goes really well with Tokugawa. It adds 2 Science Science and 1 Faith Faith to any domestic Trade Route Trade Routes that end in its home city, on top of the yields provided by Tokugawa. This wonder is almost a must when playing as Tokugawa, so try to have a Desert city to place it, and to rush Education to unlock it.
    • This wonder can synergize really well with Magnus' Surplus Logistics, if both are in the same city. This city can grow at a boosted rate, thanks to Magnus, which will in turn translate into more District District slots, making it the prime destination for all domestic Trade Route Trade Routes in your civilization. The University of Sankore will add even more Science Science and a little bit of Faith Faith to something you would like to do anyway.
  • Collectivization, an exclusive policy card under Communism, will bolster your Food Food and Production Production yields from your domestic Trade Route Trade Routes even further. Also, Communism's bonus adds Production Production for every Citizen Population in cities with a Governor and (in Gathering Storm) a flat +10% Science Science, which goes well with the high growth and Science Victory focus of Tokugawa's Japan.
  • Ecommerce, a late game policy card, applies to both foreign and domestic Trade Route Trade Routes.

Cities within 6 tiles of the Capital are 100% Loyal and get +1 Tourism per district with Flight[]

This is a bonus that will never hurt, but never really save you either. The Capital Capital and the tiles immediately surrounding it are the zone where your civilization exerts the most Loyalty pressure, so if Loyalty is an actual concern regarding cities within 6 tiles of your Capital Capital, you either settled in the wrong place or have much worse things to worry about (i.e., Eleanor is about to conquer you). Besides, Tokugawa is rewarded for going wide, since the more cities he settles, the more he can benefit from sending Trade Route Trade Routes to the Capital Capital.

The Tourism Tourism from District Districts, meanwhile, is simply not enough to get anything done. The late game of Culture Victory is influenced the most by modifiers (read more here), and Tokugawa has to choose between forsaking the best parts of his ability or rejecting some of the most powerful of these modifiers, which only work when you send international Trade Route Trade Routes. This will always hurt him more than these random speed bumps of Tourism Tourism can help him.

-25% yields and Tourism from international Trade Routes[]

The other side of the coin, Tokugawa receives significantly diminished yields from international Trade Route Trade Routes. Considering how amazing his domestic Trade Route Trade Routes are, you should basically never send a Trade Route Trade Route outside of your empire, save perhaps to complete a short city-state quest. Your tempo relies so much on your Trade Route Trade Routes that international ones will really slow you down.

It is worth noting that the 25% Tourism Tourism penalty only cancels out the normal 25% bonus an international Trade Route Trade Route provides. Tokugawa will still receive the normal benefits from Sarah Breedlove, Melitta Bentz, and Online Communities. However, none of these bonuses are really worth obtaining when they would also force you to run international Trade Route Trade Routes to benefit from them.

Electronics Factory[]

The Electronics Factory is not much of an improvement over the standard Factory. Unlike, for example, the Tlachtli (also a pretty underwhelming unique building), the Electronics Factory actually comes into play often - not because it is so powerful and unique, but because the standard Factory and the Industrial Zone are so important that they are impossible to ignore. What sets it apart from its standard counterpart, however, is negligible. In vanilla and Rise and Fall, it receives only 1 more Production Production. In Gathering Storm, its base effect is even worse, as it is exactly the same as the Factory, only it gains an extra 5 Production Production when Power Powered compared to the 3 Production Production of the Factory. This is the only case in the entire game where the bonuses of a piece of unique infrastructure are all conditional, meaning you do not receive any "uniqueness" right off the bat. (Incidentally, in Gathering Storm, England's standard Factory is superior in Production Production to this unique building, as it provides 3 Production Production like normal and a whopping 7 additional Production Production when Power Powered.)

Of course, when you unlock Electricity, each copy of this building provides +4 Culture Culture (another conditional bonus), but 4 Culture Culture per city is a small bonus at the end of the Modern Era. Not to mention, the bonus is extra Culture Culture, something you most likely already have an abundance of or have no difficulty generating in the first place, which makes this bonus sound so much worse than it already does. In summary, this bonus gives you a yield you already have plenty of or have no trouble generating if you choose to (Culture Culture), at a point too late (late Modern Era) and in an amount too small (4 per city) to be largely impactful. And since this Culture Culture yield is bound to a unique building, it does not get translated into Tourism Tourism after you research Flight. Also, because the Electronics Factory's Production Production bonus doesn't stack with that of other Electronics Factories within 6 tiles, constructing this building in every city for its Culture Culture bonus alone is an inefficient use of time and resources. The only case in which this practice is justifiable is when a city has Magnus and his Vertical Integration title, or is within a 6-tile radius of such a city.

All in all, you shouldn't put too much emphasis on this building. You will still have to use it, since the Industrial Zone is an important district and the Factory is crucial when the Industrial Era comes, but you do not exactly have an edge over anybody else with their regular copies of the Factory. The extra Production Production and Culture Culture should be considered a free bonus and not something you work towards.


The most outstanding statistic of the Samurai is its base Strength Combat Strength of 48, rivalling that of a Knight (the only unit with significantly higher melee Strength Combat Strength in this era is the Malian Mandekalu Cavalry, at 55). With that being said, a Samurai requires less Iron Iron than a Knight, and at a much lower Production Production cost (20 Production Production lower in vanilla and Rise and Fall, 60 Production Production lower in Gathering Storm). Basically, with the Samurai, you are making a trade of mobility for a better economic price, a trade that becomes a lot more reasonable in Gathering Storm. Also, considering Feudal Contract policy card is unlocked with Feudalism, an important civic, while Chivalry is unlocked with Divine Right, a civic of a dead-end branch, unless you are playing religious Japan, your unique unit is a much better investment than Knights. An additional point that goes in favor of the Samurai over the Knights is that being a melee unit, it has access to the Tortoise Promotion Promotion, while Knights have a similar but weaker Promotion Promotion, making Samurai the superior unit to stand in the frontline against Crossbowmen, the bane of all Medieval conquerors.

After the April 2021 Update, the path to unlock Samurai is better than ever before. First, the Man-At-Arms was introduced, a new standard unit that the Samurai now replaces. No longer a standalone unit, Samurai can now be pre-built as Swordsmen and upgraded into if you have a good Gold Gold income. Even better yet, unlike Berserkers and Khevsurs, Samurai is now unlocked with the Feudalism civic, an all-important civic that you would want to beeline anyway. While this may not seem like much, remember that Japan has boosts toward Culture Culture under both leaders (thanks to the discount towards building Theater Squares provided by Hojo and Trade Route Trade Routes of Tokugawa), meaning that this unit is unlocked surprisingly early. This can allow Japan to quickly take over unsuspecting neighbors come the Medieval Era.

The bonus that allows the Samurai to suffer no penalty when damaged makes a comeback in Civilization VI. If the new Strength Combat Strength formula is taken into consideration, this is even more minor than its counterpart in Civilization V. Back in Civilization V, Strength Combat Strength modifiers are calculated in percentage, so a unit with 1 HP will suffer from a 50% damage reduction, so each 2 HP lost will cause roughly 1% damage reduction. In Civilization VI, modifiers are calculated with flat Strength Combat Strength, 10 HP lost only causes 1 Strength Combat Strength reduction; therefore a unit with minimum health only suffers 10 Strength Combat Strength penalty, roughly 20% of the Samurai's base Strength Combat Strength, a lot less significant than what it used to be. Not to mention, this bonus, in both games, shines brighter the lower the HP of the unit is. When only 10 or 20 HP is lost, the extra Strength Combat Strength it "gains" is barely noticeable, but at low health threshold, the amount of extra damage dealt can be somewhat meaningful. But here is the deal: you do not want to smash your low health units into the enemies just to prove a point that your Strength Combat Strength is preserved, you try to run them away and heal them back up, so when the ability can shine the brightest is also the moment you want to use it the least. On defense, it makes the Samurai a bit sturdier, but on offense, the bonus is barely useful, as you only use a dying unit to attack when it is surrounded and a death next turn is guaranteed. A little bit more damage dealt with the unit's last gasp should not be the bonus to rely on.

Victory Types[]

Under Hojo, Japan is the definition of a jack-of-all-trades civilization, as they can skew towards pretty much any victory type. Cheaper Holy Sites with higher adjacency gives more Faith Faith and supports a Religious Victory. The very same bonuses for Culture Culture and Theater Squares, plus extra Faith Faith from cheap Holy Sites aid a Cultural Victory. The additional Production Production and combat bonuses enable a Domination Victory, since Samurai can be devastatingly powerful if you have enough Culture Culture in the early game to beeline for Feudalism. Finally, Production Production and additional adjacency Science Science bonuses aid a Science Victory. The only Victory type Japan does not really have a lot going for them is Diplomatic Victory, although high Gold Gold and Production Production adjacencies from District Districts do help you win Competitions, but overall, you still lack means to generate Diplomatic Favor Diplomatic Favor compared to a true Diplomatic civilization.

Under Tokugawa, Japan is a shrinking violet on the world stage. The fact that they're so disincentivized to run international Trade Route Trade Routes, combined with Tokugawa's inability to build Theater Squares at the same lightning pace as Hojo, significantly diminish their Cultural prowess. Tokugawa's rapidly growing empire can help him leap ahead at just the right time to hit the window for Religious Victory, but he cannot build Holy Sites as fast as Hojo either, which hampers him in the race to a Great Prophet. In exchange, however, Japan gains massive bonuses to Science Science and Culture Culture from internal trade, which most incentivizes them to aim for a Science Victory. And, as always, any civilization that can output lots of Science Science and Production Production can produce advanced military units and compete at Domination too.

Counter Strategy[]

Japan may seem hard to counter because of their powerful, generalist civ ability, but keep in mind that this ability does not give them very much immediately, as it is a snowballing bonus from extra district yields, and an unfocused one at that. If you spawn near them, you might be tempted to squeeze them with forward settling or even an early invasion before they can snowball, but Hojo's fast Encampment construction and extra coastal Strength Combat Strength allows Japan under him to be deceptively strong at early defense. Tokugawa is a more tempting target for an early war, given his even heavier focus on infrastructure and a lack of the defensive bonuses Hojo has; Horsemen are good for this, as they can plunder their all-important Trade Route Trade Routes as well as any early district clusters. Just containing Tokugawa's expansion is often enough, though - his Trade Route Trade Route capacity will be limited by the number of cities he can get.

Also note that Japan has an incentive to avoid districts that don't have adjacency bonuses. This includes Entertainment Complexes and Water Parks, so they may suffer a lack of Amenities Amenities - something you can help reinforce by not trading them luxuries and limiting their expansion to new continents.

Civilopedia entry[]

After centuries of forced isolation, in the past hundred and fifty years Japan has become one of the most industrious and influential civilizations in terms of economics and culture. Whereas samurai in Edo were concerned with kabuki, the woodcuts of the "floating world", and their own internal politics, one hundred years later Japanese artists, architects, fashion designers and businesspeople were at the world's center stage. The age-old traditions of Wa (usually translated as “harmony”) have been replaced, for better or worse, by those of progress and profit.

According to the Kojiki, the first book written in Japan (c.712 AD), the brother and sister deities Izanagi and Izanami, born after the first five primordial gods, created the 434 islands of Japan – churning the seas with a great spear, and drops from that spear formed land where the two settled and begat a host of other kami (gods or “spiritual essences”). The truth is likely far more prosaic; humans crossed land-bridges around 40 thousand years before the islands became detached from Asia some 29 thousand years later. By 660 BC there was a civilization with an emperor supposedly descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu.

Japanese “recorded history” begins about the third century, although there are innocuous references earlier such as that in the Chinese Book of the Later Han dated to 57 AD. This Kofun-jidai (“Kofun period”) saw the rise of several military clans, most notably the Yamato who became dominant – no doubt with much bloodshed – in the south-central part of the main island Honshu. Eventually, having beaten everyone else into submission, the Yamato declared themselves emperors of the united islands of Japan. But as their power waned over the next couple of centuries, the authority of the imperial court was steadily eroded by ambitious daimyo (loosely: “lords”).

During the first centuries under the Yamato emperors, Japanese farmers began using iron tools for agriculture, and the land saw more advanced cultivation and flooding of the fields used to grow rice, a tasty and highly-nutritious grain that would quickly become the cornerstone of Japanese cuisine. This agrarian largess meant that fewer farmers could grow greater amounts of food, allowing the daimyo to dedicate that surplus manpower to military affairs. A new class arose to wedge themselves into Japanese society: the samurai or “those who serve in close attendance.” Soon, all sorts of lords had their own private armies. It was at this time the Japanese imported a number of technological advances from their neighbors, the most important of which may be writing from China; along with Chinese script came religion, in the form of Confucianism. In the sixth century, Buddhism appeared as well.

The first shoguns were appointed by the Emperor as Sei-i Taishogun (“Commander-in-Chief of the Expeditionary Force against the Barbarians”) to remove the Emishi, Ainu, and others on the islands that would not accept imperial rule. In time the title became hereditary, and the shogun became the acknowledged military leader of the land and true ruler behind the imperial throne. Needless-to-say, this meant a lot of in-fighting for the post. In 1185 AD, the Minamoto would kill off most of the current shogun Taira clan in the Genpei War. The Minamoto promptly established a feudal system by law, with the cloistered emperor pretty-much limited to being a revered figurehead.

When Minamoto Yoritomo died, his wife’s family – the Hojo clan – took control of the shogunate. Among other things, the Hojo in the guise of Tokimune defeated two Mongol invasions, spread Zen Buddhism and helped formulate the final form of the code of bushido. The Mongol invasions were pivotal for two things in Japanese history. The Japanese were horrified when their swords tended to break on the thick, boiled leather armor of the Mongols, leading to the development of the famed Katana by master swordsmiths. And the fierce samurai had faced a non-Japanese foe for the first of only three times (the invasions of Korea in 1592 and Ryukyu in 1609 being the others); mostly they just chopped each other to bits.

The Hojo clan remained in power until 1333 AD, when Emperor Go-Daigo launched a coup to return actual rule to the imperial family. He was assisted in the struggle by a group of aristocrats, plus several samurai clans and some militant Buddhist monks. But a number of important allies of Go-Daigo were unhappy with their cut of the spoils, and in 1336 they then revolted, driving the emperor north into the Yoshino Mountains. For the next 60 years there were two imperial courts, the Northern and Southern, with control of Japan split between them. The southern emperor remained a figurehead, with real power in the hands of the Ashikaga shogunate. In 1391 the imperial courts were reunited, with power held by the shogun Ashikaga Takauji.

This set off the period in Japanese development known as the “Warring States” (or Sengoku if wanting to be formal about terminology) period, 150 years marked by social upheaval, political intrigue (mixed with some assassination) and near-constant military conflict between those private armies of samurai. It did have its high points. Engineering of magnificent castles – some still standing – became an art form; Japanese warriors became adept with many weapons, including the musket after European traders introduced firearms; and the ninja first appeared. Eventually, the country was nearly unified under the brilliant Oda Nobunaga, who had the misfortune of being betrayed and killed in 1582 AD by one of his most trusted officers. In the bloody aftermath, Nobunaga’s neighboring daimyo and ally, Tokugawa Ieyasu – one of the most famous samurai of all – assumed the title of shogun in 1603.

In the midst of all this, the Europeans arrived. In 1543 a Portuguese ship on its way to China ended up making landfall on Tanegashima Island. In the following few years, traders from Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and England all decided to stop by, and Jesuit, Dominican, and Franciscan missionaries chose to stay and spread their gospel. The new shogun had his suspicions that the trading enclaves and churches that were being established were merely the forerunners of a European invasion. Moreover, Christianity was spreading rapidly, especially among the sullen peasants. In 1637 the Shimabara Rebellion – composed of some 30 thousand Christians (mostly peasants) and rōnin (lordless samurai) – was put down only by a massive army led by the shogun.

The shoguns had had enough. The Shimabara uprising was followed by the first of the so-called Sakoku (seclusion laws) under Tokagawa Iemitsu, and added to by his successors for the next quarter-millennia. Missionaries, traders and foreigners of all sorts – save for some Dutch and Chinese confined to the island of Dejima at Nagasaki – were expelled. Trade with Korea was limited to Tsushima. No foreigner could enter nor Japanese leave on penalty of immediate death. The Catholics were expelled, their schools and churches torn down, and the daimyo were forbidden to become Christians on penalty of - not surprisingly - death (the standard Japanese punishment for almost any transgression).

Whether the Sakoku policy was responsible or not, during these 250-plus years of the Tokagawa shogunate Japan experienced a social and cultural flowering, as well as relative stability and peace (enforced on the points of katana). Ukiyo-e wood-block printing produced masterful works of art, as did kabuki and bunraku theater; some of the most famous compositions for koto and shakuhachi date from this period. The geisha evolved from simple entertainers - of all sorts - into the pinnacle of refined femininity. Patronage of the arts by the samurai spread elegant landscaping and architecture across the islands. The social structure became rigid, a system in which each know their place and responsibilities, from the lowest peasants (some 85% of the population) to the 250 daimyos. The punishment for stepping out of one’s station tended to be severe … and immediate. Everything became rigidly ritualized, from having tea to killing oneself.

Japan was doing pretty well until American admiral Matthew Perry came calling in 1853 AD. Sailing around the Bay of Edo with the guns of his four modern warships at the ready, he demanded that Japan open trade with the West without restrictions. The next year, Perry appeared again, this time with seven ships and forced the shogun to sign the “Treaty of Peace and Amity” under the threat of the Americans’ big guns. Within five years, Japan “enjoyed” similar treaties with most of the Western powers. The shame of being outgunned by a foreign military force right on its inviolate doorstep toppled the shogunate, with de facto power shifting back to the emperor.

The vigorous young Emperor Meiji, taking the throne in 1867, initiated a period of radical reform from top to bottom in his country, seeking to make Japan militarily and economically equal to the West whose warships were sailing about its islands. By 1912 the government had abolished feudalism, placed the lands of most of the daimyos under “imperial control,” returned much of that to the peasant farmers, established freedom of worship, promoted trade, and virtually annihilated the samurai class. On a more pragmatic note, the throne encouraged industrialization, and established a constitutional monarch based upon the European model. And in 1873, Japan initiated nationwide conscription, creating an Imperial Japanese Army and Navy.

So efficient it was, Japan quickly emerged as the major power in the region, and soon emulated another Western proclivity – building a colonial empire. In 1894 AD Japan became embroiled with moribund China over who would dominate Korea; Japan won handily, gaining “independence” for Korea and Formosa, the Pescadores and the Liaotung Peninsula for itself. But the Western powers made Japan return the latter to China, who promptly leased it to Russia. Japan was infuriated, and the resultant 1904 Russo-Japanese War gave Japan the opportunity to show it could stomp a “Western” power. World War I presented Japan the chance to grab defeated Germany’s possessions in the Pacific and Asia. Japan next began nibbling at China, and moved into Manchuria – alarming just about everyone. Spurred by the depression and Western tariffs, totalitarian militarists took control of the government. By the late 1930s, the Western democracies and Imperial Japan were on a collision course.

With public outcry in the United States mounting with reports of Japanese atrocities in China, the occupation of Indo China upon France’s utter defeat by Nazi Germany, and clashes with Russia in Manchuria, it was not long before Japan joined the fray that was World War 2 with an attack on the United States and the British Empire in 1941 AD. In the debacle that followed, after initial stunning success, Japan found itself on the losing end of the Pacific War, concluded in August 1945 after atomic devastation. From those ashes though, under an American occupation, the nation rose again like a hou-ou (Japanese phoenix), becoming one of the world’s leading economic, technological and cultural leaders.



Males Females Modern males Modern females
Akeno Akiko Akira Aoi
Benjiro Chiyo Haruta Hina
Hiroshi Emiko Hiroto Midori
Jomei Hoshiko Masa Miu
Kaage Kameko Ren Miyu
Kaemon Kashiya Sho Nanami
Mashiro Kimiko Sora Rin
Renjiro Natsuko Tatsuo Sakura
Sachiro Sakura Yamato Umi
Teijo Yumiko Yuki Yumi





CIVILIZATION VI - First Look- Japan

First Look: Japan

Related achievements[]

Meiji Restoration
Meiji Restoration
Playing as Japan, have a district with 6 adjacent unpillaged districts.
The Meiji Restoration was when Japan embarked on industrialization after being visited by Europeans with superior technology.
Win a regular game as Hojo Tokimune
Legend has it that Hojo Tokimune, after meditating to deal with cowardice prior to a Mongol invasion, exclaimed this to his master as a show of courage.
I Will Wait
I Will Wait
Win a regular game as Tokugawa.
A reference to Tokugawa's reputation for patience.

See also[]

Civilization VI Civilizations [edit]
AmericanArabianAustralian1AztecBabylonian1BrazilianByzantine1Canadian GS-OnlyChineseCree R&F-OnlyDutch R&F-OnlyEgyptianEnglishEthiopian1FrenchGallic1Georgian R&F-OnlyGermanGran Colombian1GreekHungarian GS-OnlyIncan GS-OnlyIndianIndonesian1JapaneseKhmer1KongoleseKorean R&F-OnlyMacedonian1Malian GS-OnlyMāori GS-OnlyMapuche R&F-OnlyMayan1Mongolian R&F-OnlyNorwegianNubian1Ottoman GS-OnlyPersian1Phoenician GS-OnlyPolish1Portuguese1RomanRussianScottish R&F-OnlyScythianSpanishSumerianSwedish GS-OnlyVietnamese1Zulu R&F-Only
1 Requires DLC

R&F-Only Added in the Rise and Fall expansion pack.
GS-Only Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.