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This article is about the civilization in Age of Empires. For the other appearances of the faction in the series, see Japanese.
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Take command of sturdy fleets and large cavalry armies as you vie to unify your hardworking people and forge the Empire of the Rising Sun.

The Yamato are one of the four playable East Asian civilizations in Age of Empires. Their successor civilization, the Japanese, also appear in Age of Empires II, Age of Empires III, and Age of Empires IV.


Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonus[]

Stables and Archery Ranges cost -33% wood.

Missing technologies[]

Fortified Wall, Guard Tower, Tower Shield, Conscription, Urbanization, Astrology, Mysticism, Monotheism, Fanaticism, Zealotry, Medicine

Missing units[]

Broad Swordsman, Chariot Archer, Elephant Archer, Chariot, Camel Rider, War Elephant, Catapult, Ballista, Fire Galley


The Yamato have excellent Cavalry and Horse Archer lines, as they get full upgrades and train them at a discount, while also constructing their training sites at a lower cost. Their other options at the Stable are entirely lacking except the Scout. In the Archery Range, their other options are the Bowman and the Improved Bowman line.

Their swordsman line is ineffective due to lacking even Broad Sword, but they have access to the Centurion, which only lacks Tower Shield. Both their Temple and Siege Workshop lack most options and technologies. Their navy is excellent, missing only Fire Galleys.

They have access to all economic technologies and in the Government Center only lack Conscription and Urbanization. Their defenses miss all Iron Age upgrades. Their only direct economic bonus is faster-working Fishing Boats, which can leave them lagging behind their opponents on a land map, and have to rely on their cheaper cavalry to deal early damage to even the playing field.


ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires[]

  • Cavalry units and Horse Archers cost -25%.
  • Fishing Ships have +33% hit points, other ships have +30% hit points.
  • Villagers have +36% speed (though 40% is stated).

RomeIcon The Rise of Rome[]

  • Villagers have +18% speed (though 30% is stated).

Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition[]

  • With update 9, Cavalry units and Horse Archers cost -20%. With update 38862, they cost -15%.
  • All ships have +25% hit points. With update 38862, ships have +20% hit points instead.
  • Villager have +10% speed.

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

  • Team bonus added.
  • Fishing Boats work 20% faster.
  • Stable and Archery Range upgrades cost -30%.
  • Villagers no longer move 10% faster.
  • With update 99311, ships have +10%/+15%/+20%/+25% hit points in the Stone/Tool/Bronze/Iron Age.

Campaign appearances[]

The Yamato make appearances as AI players in:

NuRoR priest idle Voices of Babylon[]

Yamato, Empire of the Rising Sun[]

This campaign is played as the Yamato.

Imperium Romanum[]

AI player names[]

When playing a random map game against the computer, the player may encounter any of the following Yamato AI characters.

  • Nintoku (仁徳天皇) – 16th Emperor of Japan; reigned 313–399
  • Sei – Possibly short for Seimu (成務天皇, 13th Emperor of Japan; reigned 131–191), Seinei (清寧天皇, 22nd Emperor of Japan; reigned 480–484) or Seiwa (清和天皇, 56th Emperor of Japan; reigned 858–876)
  • Jimmu Tenno (神武天皇) – First (legendary) Emperor of Japan, reigned 660–585 BC
  • Himiko (卑弥呼) – Queen of Yamatai, reigned 189–248
  • Shotoku Taishi (聖徳太子) – Prince and regent for Empress Suiko; lived 572–622
  • Kammu (桓武天皇) – 50th Emperor of Japan, reigned 781–806
  • Jingo (神功皇后/神功天皇) – A Japanese empress consort/regnant, technically the 15th sovereign of Japan; reigned 201–269
  • Keiko (景行天皇) – 12th Emperor of Japan; reigned 71–130
  • Temmu (天武天皇) – 40th Emperor of Japan; reigned 672–686

The following AI players are only present before the Definitive Edition:

  • Sei II – Did not exist in Japan
  • Nintoku II – Did not exist in Japan
  • Sei III – Did not exist in Japan
  • Nintoku III – Did not exist in Japan
  • Sei IV – Did not exist in Japan


Main article: /History
300 to 800 AD

The Yamato period of Japanese culture is also called the age of the great tombs because of the appearance in these centuries of great tombs and tomb clusters, presumably for the burial of rulers and other elites. The name Yamato comes from the region of Japan that was the home of the first clan to consolidate rule over most of the islands. During the Yamato period, Japan accelerated its advance in technology by adopting the cultivation of rice, improving its pottery, developing iron working, building social hierarchies, and accomplishing a political, economic, and cultural consolidation of the islands.
—excerpt from the Age of Empires manual

Yamato is the name of a Japanese dynasty incl. Yamatai (circa 184 AD~250 AD?) and Later Yamatai (circa 250 AD~689 AD), that was located in Ancient Japan with the capital city probably in the Yamato Province. The Yamato are the ancestors of modern Japanese people and were the first people to conquer and unify all of Japan.


  • The civilization's icon introduced in Return of Rome is based on one of many earthenware funerary objects, called "Haniwa", found in tombs of the Kofun period in Japan.
  • The user interface image in Return of Rome depicts the Temple Hōryū-ji. The temple was founded by Prince Shōtoku in 607 AD.
  • Historical or legendary figures (except Himiko), represented by Yamato AI players, supposedly belong to the Imperial House of Japan, who hailed from southeastern Kyushu, according to Kojiki & Nihon Shoki. Meanwhile, Queen Himiko likely belonged to another dynasty who ruled Yamatai (often identified with Yamato province, now in Nara, Honshu; though other historians proposed that Yamataikoku was located in northern Kyushu instead), which then did not exert its authority over all early Japanese polities: as Sanguozhi mentioned Himiko's conflict against king Himikoko of Kuna, also in southeastern Kyushu; and both the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki avoided mentioning Himiko at all.
  • Before Return of Rome, they had extra speed on villagers which was the same bonus as the Assyrians, since the expansion's release it has been removed from the Yamato.
  • The Yamato strengths closely resemble the ones of the Berbers of Age of Empires II (cheaper cavalry, improved navy stats and extra villager speed).
  • Including the Yamato civilization, the Japanese civilization appears in all the Age of Empires series games except in Age of Mythology.



Civilizations in Age of Empires categorised by architecture set
East Asian architectureChoson AoE Choson · Lac Viet AoE Lac Viet · Shang AoE Shang · Yamato AoE Yamato
Egyptian architectureAssyrians AoE Assyrians · Egyptians AoE Egyptians · Hittites AoE Hittites
Greek architectureGreeks AoE Greeks · Minoans AoE Minoans · Phoenicians AoE Phoenicians
Mesopotamian architectureBabylonians AoE Babylonians · Persians AoE Persians · Sumerians AoE Sumerians
Roman architectureCarthaginians AoE Carthaginians · Macedonians AoE Macedonians · Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans · Romans AoE Romans