AoE 3 - Any good Japanese build orders & tips for a beginner?

I’m new to the game and just started playing online.

Out of all the factions, I like Japan the most

Do you have any good tips for a Japanese player? Any good build order? And special tips or skills of Japan that I should know about? Any tips for the economy or booming?

When playing Japan, I usually go for an Ashigaru + Naginata combo.

With Asigaru being good vs mele infantry & cavalry while Naginata is good against both types of infantry.

But they don’t seem to be very good against artillery or ranged cavalry. Should I use a better combo?

When starting the game, I usually build consulate first and go Portugese for that buildings discount and later when the fight is getting serious turn to isolationism for that +7% damage and being able to train 10 instead of 5 units at once.

When it comes to age up. I start with Toshogu Shrine for more resoureces & population room, while spamming houses for more villager room and resources. The 2nd is the The Shogunate for cheaper military units. The 3rd is the Golden Pavilion for more damage to the military. And 3rd is the Torii Gates for more XP.

But what about the home city cards. What cards should I use? What cards are essential to the Japanese?


Japan is a great civ with a LOT of options!

Ashi + nagi is a pretty effective combo for age 2, but against the classic age 3 skirm + ranged cavalry composition you’ll want to lean more heavily into a Yumi-Nagi composition. Yumi are especially strong against light cav (while being slightly worse than the average skirm vs muskets), they pick of the goons so your nagi can clear up skirms and artillery. Yabusame are good to mix in (not too many, theyre expensive) to add some ranged anti-cavalry and anti-artillery.

For wonders, the general kinda boomy build order you’ll go for the tushogu shrine first, then the golden pavillion, then the shogunate to age 4. the 9 yumi from the pavilion ageup to fortress really helps you stay safe when youve just aged.

Consulate has a few options. there are existing build orders to use the dutch option to get a bank early, but those are usually pretty dedicated build orders. Otherwise the ports into japan you described is pretty typical.

Apart from 600w and the 2 cherry orchards age 2 honestly japan is so flexible its hard to call much else a “must have” card. A standard deck for a boomy playstyle is gonna be something like

  1. heavenly kami

  2. 4v - 600w- 600c- 5 ashi - 5 yumi - ashi attack- yumi attack - 2 orchards - daymio

  3. 1000w- 1000c - 9 yumi - 8 ashi - 5 nagi - 2 flaming arrows - nagi hp - close combat - way of the bow - (something else)

  4. 14 ashi - tokugawa - (whatever else)

this leaves a few blanks for whatever floats your boat


For artillery I would use flaming arrows vs falconets. In age 3 they do not have a multiplier vs artillery so you need 3 shots to kill a falconet when a falconet only needs 2 shots to kill a flaming arrow. Since they have +2 range and 3 speed compared to a falconet, even if you only have 2 you can move them back between shots to win. With the age 4 upgrade they get an artillery multiplier so they can 2 shot falcs in age 4.

If your opponent makes culverins I would recommend making some yabusames since flaming arrows generally can’t get close enough to do enough damage without losing a lot of them in age 3.

Ashigaru are very good at range vs melee infantry but it’s worth noting they have very low base melee damage so they lose to most melee infantry in melee. With no upgrades they even lose to standard muskets in melee despite having 20 more hp.

Naginata is mainly good vs skirmisher units since they have a negative multiplier to Heavy Infantry which amounts to them doing their base damage to heavy infantry. Against HI they are slightly worse then hussars with their base stats having 20 less melee hp and 2 less damage to HI. They are very tanky at range though.

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Are there any japanese cavalry units that can deal with artillery well so I don’t have to do flaming arrows? or my own artillery that could beat the enemy artillery?

Would an Ashigaru + Yabusame be better at covering all the flanks? or even an Ashigaru + Flaming Arrow to deal with the artillery?

ashi flames is meta age 4

in age 3 a mix of nagi and yabusame to compliment your infantry is generally fine. yabusame have a massive multi vs artillery.

don’t mix pure ashi and yabusame, they both lose to skirms so its not rounded out

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Yabusame archers are very good at killing artillery one issue is that they are very expensive and skirmishers can typically kill a couple when you go in to kill artillery so you can generally get better trades vs falcs with flaming arrows. That said Yumi/yabusabe can be a pretty fun unit comp. Ashigaru/Flaming arrows are a good unit comp too yeah.

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Well standard is age 1 consulate with ports and send heavenly kami and spam shrines until you reach max pop, unit comp depends on the opponent but ashi, yumi and nagi are all great. As for age ups toshogu shrine then golden pavilion and then shogunate is probably standard though if I do a FF then I’ll age up to fortress with the shogunate to get a daimyo without wasting a card. There’s also a rush with the daimyo but I won’t go into that because it’s annoying af.

I’m also a fan of tori gates in age 1, the extra xp for everything can be better than the toshugo shrine because that only boosts base rates of shrines so it’s nothing crazy, if you used the extra shipments from tori gates to send 4v twice for example that would be far greater benefit than you get from toshogu. The samurai is also great for sieging a house or forward rax. That being send the toshugo is good for the export because it’ll allow you to call those portuguese xbow from the consulate which can help defend.

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I see everyone said
Age 2 → Torii Gates
Age 3 → Golden Pavilion
Age 4 → Shogunate

I was making Age 3 Shogunate and Age 4 Golden Pavilion for the reduced cost of land military units. Sure, the Golden Pavilion gives you more damage, but with the Shogunate you can spam more of them in a time when resources are limited. Also the Age 3 Shogun can be very useful. So what is the reasoning behind Golden Pavilion before Shogunate?

Read this sacred text !

U’ll be enlightened! Its for legacy, but it still most holds.

Actually, the more accurate is this:

Age 2 → Torii gates
Age 3 → Shrine wonder
Age 4 → Golden Pavilion
Age 5 → ???

This is because the combination of torii gates and shrine wonder will yield a lot of resources with the proper deck, so many that you will hardly feel the need for the shogunate if you macro properly. The only other notable shogunate bonus, the daimyo, can be obtained via cards. In fact, in most games i skip age 3 completely and build the golden pavilion back to back with the shrine wonder.


Golden pavillion gives you the passive buff which is good because you can swap it to speed when moving your units or raiding with ashi then swap it to ranged damage when you fight plus if you have a lot of ashi there’s a couple of good techs to boost their stats.

I typically go with shogunate age 3 when I FF that way you can send heavenly kami age 1 then 600 gold twice and you’ll be age 3 with a daimyo for a forward shipment point/mobile barracks without wasting a shipment on it and you can then ship flaming arrows twice right to your daimyo.

It’s hard to give advice because Japan is too easy.

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