Ryoma Sakamoto, a Japanese samurai in the late Edo period, was a key figure in bringing about the Meiji Restoration of 1868. He was first brought to Tomonoura as a result of the Irohamaru incident and stayed for few days, hiding his identity.
It was said to be about 7 months before Ryoma was assassinated in Kyoto by forces loyal to the Shogun.
Let’s follow in the historical footsteps Ryoma left in Tomonoura.
May Luck be with you! Tomo-Ryoma’s Welcome to Visitors
Tomotaka Ōnishi, a leader in Tomo-Ryoma Omotenashi-tai (The Hospitality Squad of Tomo-Ryoma), suggests using this route to learn about Ryoma’s history in Tomonoura. He welcomes visitors as a volunteer while dressed up as Ryoma Sakamoto.
Mr.Ōnishi became a member of Tomo-Ryoma Omotenashi-tai by applying to the open-call of Fukuyama City when the NHK Taiga drama (a Japanese year-long historical TV drama series) Ryomaden was broadcast. He usually guides tours of the Masuyaseiemon-house on the weekends and holidays. Let’s go on a journey to visit the places related to Ryoma with the guide of Tomo-Ryoma, a cosplaying Ryoma admirer.
First stop: visit the museum to learn about Irohamaru incident ― Irohamaru Tenjikan
In 1867, the Irohamaru, a ship of Kaientai (a trading and shipping company and private navy), which samurai hero Ryoma Sakamoto was a passenger on, and the Meikoumaru, a warship of the Kisyū domain, collided off the shores of Tomo. The Irohamaru sank with its cargo.
The museum displays studies about the accident using illustrations and photos, in addition to the remains which were salvaged during five underwater investigations. A diorama reproducing the sinking of the Irohamaru is also displayed.
Irohamaru Tenjikan (Iroha Maru Exhibition Hall)
Address/ 843-1 Tomo, Tomo-cho, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima
Ryoma Sakamoto’s hiding room in the attic ― Masuyaseiemon-house
The Irohamaru incident brought Ryoma Sakamoto and the ship’s crew to Tomonoura.Masuyaseiemon-house was a shipping agency and merchant house where Ryoma Sakamoto stayed. You can visit the hidden room in the attic where Ryoma hid using the false name of Umetarou Saidani to avoid being targeted by assassins.
There are many places in Japan related to Ryoma’s history, such as Kochi, Kyoto, and Nagasaki, but this is the only place throughout the country that has preserved the room as it was. You may recall the feelings Ryoma felt in the small attic.
Address/ 422 Tomo, Tomo-cho, Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima
Ryoma Sakamoto’ desperate negotiation site ― Ryoma Koushou-ato (Onfunayado Iroha)
Ryoma Sakamoto used this location for negotiations with the captain of the Kisyū domain warship over the damages to the sunken Irohamaru. Today, the site is used for a restaurant.
Ryoma Koushou-ato (Onfunayado Iroha)
Address/ 670 Tomo, Tomo-cho, Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima
Enjoy the beautiful scenery that Ryoma admired ― Fukuzen-ji Taichou-rou
Fukuzen-ji Taichou-rou is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Tomonoura. This is another location where Kaientai, the owner of the Irohamaru, and Ryoma Sakamoto negotiated with the Kisyū domain over damages. Please browse the exhibits about the Irohamaru incident and enjoy the wonderful view that Ryoma might have seen.
Address/ 2 Tomo, Tomo-cho, Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima
Accommodation of the Kisyū domain representatives ― Enpuku-ji (Taigashima-jou-ato)
Enpuku-ji was used as an accommodation for the Kisyū domain members who were aboard the Meikoumaru, the ship that caused the sinking of the Irohamaru. Although it’s not open to the public, the view from the room at Enpuku-ji is exceptional. You can enjoy the view from behind the main hall.
Address/ 10 Tomo, Tomo-cho, Fukuyama, Hiroshima
Please check out our other routes for visiting cafes and general stores, experiencing the current trends of Tomonoura, and learning more about the history of Tomonoura.