The Ashikaga shogunate (1336-1573) was a feudal military dictatorship ruled by the shoguns of the Ashikaga family.
This period is also known as the Muromachi period and gets its name from the Muromachi area of Kyōto where the third shogun Yoshimitsu established his residence.
In part because the founder of the Ashikaga shogunate, Ashikaga Takauji, did so by siding with the Emperor against the previous Kamakura shogunate, the Ashikagas shared more of the governmental authority with the Imperial government than the Kamakura had. Thus, it was the weakest shogunate among Kamakura shogunate and Tokugawa shogunate. However, most of the regional power still remained with the provincial daimyo, and the military power of the shogunate depended largely on their loyalty to the Ashikaga. As the daimyo increasingly feuded among themselves in the pursuit of power, that loyalty grew increasingly strained, until it erupted into open warfare in the late Muromachi period, also known as the Sengoku Period.
The Ashikaga shogunate was destroyed in 1573 when Oda Nobunaga drove the 15th and last Ashikaga shogun Yoshiaki out of Kyoto. Afterwards, Yoshiaki sought and received protection from the Mori clan in western Japan and later was requested by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to accept him as an adopted son and 16th Ashikaga Shogun but Yoshiaki refused. The Ashikaga family still survive to this day.