Though the head of the Oda clan, Nobuhide never fully united Owari province but was involved in open warfare as he was fronted to the north by Saito Dousan, daimyo of Mino province, and to the east by Imagawa Yoshimoto, the daimyo of Mikawa, Suruga, and Totomi provinces. In 1549, Nobuhide made peace with Saito Dousan by arranging a political marriage between son Nobunaga and Saito's daughter. However, confrontation between the Imagawa and the Oda continued.
Nobuhide suddenly died in 1551 and designated young Nobunaga to succeed him in becoming head of the Oda clan and small domain. Nobunaga, who hardly even knew his father and already had a bad reputation as a deliquent, arrived inappropriately dressed at Nobuhide's funeral and threw incense at the altar of the temple as he cursed his fate. Almost all support of Nobunaga that would have been had from Nobuhide's retainers went to younger brother Oda Nobuyuki, leaving Nobunaga with Hirate Masahide and his father-in-law Saito Dousan, whom he had never met before. From that point forward, it would take a long 7 years for Nobunaga to consolidate his power within the clan and finally unite Owari province.