The gent on the right is Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was never Shogun but had a range of other imposing titles.  He played a big part in welding Japan into a single nation.  I hope eventually to include his story here, as part of a summary of important events in Japanese history but until I do, here's a few useful links.

Murasaki Shikibu is credited with having written the world's first novel.

One of the best writers on the history of the Samurai is Stephen Turnbull so look at his page for information on his books and current projects. He was historical consultant for the game Shogun Total War which gives you the chance to command samurai armies in battle - amazing graphics!
Check out the Samurai Archives for extensive information on the famous figures of Japanese history, as well as clan badges and banners.  Japanese Castles are well covered through this website with lots of pictures and background information., while the Oshiro Meguri Fan site gives pictures of castles and traditional houses too.  Here you can have a virtual tour of Himeji castle. The Kamon history website gives extensive information about Japanese family crests.

You will find Samurai videos at  Samurai Films. And if you want to become a Samurai yourself you can get your armour and swords from Barringtons Swords!

For some fun history when you visit Japan try Edowonderland - they have sites at Nikko, Noboribetsu, Ise and Kaga, where you can experience the world of the samurai, geisha and ninja.

If you're interested in ninja,  you'll want to see the Ninja Museum page, which has lots of information and demonstrations. Then plan your visit to Iga-Ueno, the ninja city, where the museum is located - an easy day trip if you're staying in the ancient capital of Nara.. 

The Kyoto Costume Museum has a fabulous website, packed with illustrations, and historical information.

This link gives you a comprehensive list of The Museums of Japan, but if you want a shorter list of recommendations try The Museum of Japanese History, Kyoto National Museum, or The Tokugawa Art Museum.  If you want to stay closer to home (UK) have a look at what's on in the Japanese Galleries of   The British Museum.

Alternatively search through Nagasaki University Library's fabulous on-line collection of old photographs

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