Ryozen Museum of History
  • Museum Hours : 9:00 - 17:30
  • Closed : December 31, 2019, January 1, January 14, 2020
    *See calendar after January 27, 2020
  • Admissions
    Adults : 900 yen
    High School / University student : 500 yen
    Elementary and Junior High School student : 300 yen
    Group discount more than 20 people 100 yen discount for each
  • Museum Hours : 9:00 - 17:00
  • Closed : December 31, 2019, January 1, January 14, 2020
    *See calendar after January 27, 2020
  • Admissions
    Adults : 900 yen
    High School / University student : 500 yen
    Elementary and Junior High School student : 300 yen
    Group discount more than 20 people 100 yen discount for each

About the Ryozen Museum of History

Overview of the Ryozen Museum of History

The Ryozen Museum of History was opened in Kyoto in 1970. It was the first specialized museum in Japan to comprehensively research the Bakumatsu period and the Meiji Restoration.
During the Bakumatsu period, Kyoto was a political center of Japan. The museum collects, investigates, researches, and holds public exhibitions of calligraphy, artifacts, letters, and various materials and literature from notable people active in this period. They include patriots, feudal lords, the Emperor, and court nobles, as well as writers and painters.

Along with belongings left by Sakamoto Ryoma, Nakaoka Shintaro, Saigo Takamori, Kido Takayoshi, and Takasugi Shinsaku, who were against the shogunate, there are also numerous materials from people who supported the shogunate, such as the Shinsen-gumi, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, and Matsudaira Katamori. The museum, located in a place where both pro- and anti-shogunate forces were active, offers visitors insight into the Bakumatsu period and the Meiji Restoration from the viewpoints of both sides.
The exhibit includes about 100 items selected from a collection of over 5,000 items.
The museum is operated as the main activity of Ryozen Foundation (now a public interest incorporated foundation), which was established in 1968, the Meiji centennial year.

Our Philosophy

About 150 years ago, Amidst strong pressure from overseas and confusion within Japan, the Meiji Restoration took place, bringing reforms that widely encompassed politics, culture, and industry in just half a century. Most of the people who accomplished this mighty task, laying the foundations for modern Japan, were young, in their 20s and 30s. Risking their lives, they took courageous action for the sake of the country, with high aspirations for the creation of a better society.
The aim of the museum is to give the public a window into the ambitions and achievements of the leading figures of the Bakumatsu period and the Meiji Restoration. We strive to convey the thoughts and actions of these people as accurately as possible, regardless of whether they were supporters or opponents of the Tokugawa shogunate.
We hope that you will be informed and inspired by viewing material left behind by those who enabled the Bakumatsu period to give way to the Meiji Restoration.

Current Exhibition: 120 Years Since the Death of Katsu Kaishu
“The People Around Sakamoto Ryoma and Katsu Kaishu”

In 2019, the 120th anniversary of the death of Katsu Kaishu is being remembered.
The exhibit features materials relating to Katsu Kaishu, who promoted the establishment of a modern Japanese Navy; Sakamoto Ryoma, who exerted himself to work for Katsu; and the people around them, as well as the Shinsengumi. They provide a real picture of the end of the Edo period.
October 2, 2019 to January 26, 2020

* Upcoming: Special Spring Exhibition

“Tokugawa Shogunate and the Shinsengumi” (tentative title), January 29, 2020 to May 10, 2020

The Ryozen Foundation

Ryozen, a sacred place where the spirits of the patriots of the Bakumatsu period and the Meiji Restoration were revered, was left in ruins after the Second World War. Volunteers living in Kyoto who were deeply concerned by this, asked for assistance from business leaders in the Kansai region such as Konosuke Matsushita, then chairman of Matsushita Electric Industrial. The Ryozen Foundation, which aimed for the restoration of Ryozen, was established in 1968, the Meiji centennial year. The organization became a foundation in 1975, and was then established as a public interest incorporated foundation on April 1, 2012, with the approval of Japan’s Cabinet Office. Ryozen Foundation is working daily to achieve its mission and purpose of promoting traditional Japanese spiritual culture and preserving its benefits for the 21st century. As part of its activities, it operates the Ryozen Museum of History, which serves as a collection and research center for the Bakumatsu period and the Meiji Restoration. In addition, Ryozen Foundation seeks understanding and support for its mission in various fields, and many companies have joined as special members.