Welcome to The Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum

This museum is located on the grounds of the Urado Castle Park in Katsurahama, from where you can have a sweeping view of the pacific Ocean. In 1985 a campaign was organized to build a memorial museum in memory of the 150th anniversary of Ryoma’s birth. Six years later in 1991, the museum was opened on November 15. This date marks both his birth and his death.
While you learn about the many qualities and contributions of Sakamoto Ryoma, we would be pleased if you would interpret this museum as “an entrance to Ryoma’s world.”

Second Floor 2F

[Permanent Exhibition]

At the last exhibit called “Blank”, we would be pleased if you tried to imagine Ryoma, full of ambition to go abroad and learn about the world, while looking out over the view of the Pacific Ocean.

[Temporary Exhibition]

We have periodic exhibitions here on Ryoma’s achievements and the people related to him in order to foster a deeper understanding of the man and his life.

Library B1F

We have over 2000 books here on Ryoma, the Meiji Restoration and other themes from the period, ready for free access. Also, videos on Ryoma are played here.
Ryoma quizzes are also available at our personal computer facilities.

Permanent Exhibition B2F

[Permanent Exhibition]

This floor displays such materials as letters written by Ryoma, correspondence and scrolls from his contemporaries, and a replica of the blood-stained folding screen from his assassination. These materials are a window onto the human being that was Ryoma.

Main Exhibits

A model pistol, “Smith & Wesson, Ⅱ-32”

A pistol of the same model was given to Ryoma as a souvenier from Shanghai by Takasugi Shinsaku. Ryoma used it to threaten the enemy samurai and was able to survivie an attack in the Teradaya, an inn in Kyoto.

The endorsement of the Satsuma-Choshu alliance(replica)
Property of the lmperial Household Agency

On January 21* ,1866, representatives of the Satsuma and Choshu clans reached an agreement to form an alliance in the presence of Ryoma. The Choshu representative, Katsura Kogoro, known as a very deliberate man, wrote down the six provisions of the alliance and asked Ryoma to endorse it. He did so in red ink and delivered it to Katsura later.

The folding screen and the hanging scroll with blood on them (replica)
Property of the Kyoto National Museum

On November 15 1867, Sakamoto Ryoma was assassinated in Kyoto, along with Nakaoka Shintaro, at a soy sauce dealership called Omiya. Their blood was scattered over a folding screen and a hanging scroll in the room in which they were killed.

A letter by Sakamoto Ryoma
November 13*, 1867, addressed to Mutsu Munemitsu

Thie letter is believed to have been written two days before his death in Kyoto. The letter is a discussion of swords.

A hanging scroll of the alphabet written by John (Nakahama) Manjiro (replica)

A returned castaway, Nakahama Manjiro came back to his home clan Tosa for the first time in eleven years in 1852. He presented Kawada Shoryo with a copy of the alphabet that he had written. Later on in 1854, Kwada’s information about the West enlightened a young Ryoma, then only twenty years old.

“Hyoryuki”: John Manjiro’s Adventure

This document is the official statement given by Manjiro and Denzo. Denzo was a boatman who, along with John Nakahama Manjiro, was saved by an American whaling ship while adrift on the seas. Their statement was recorded during the Satsuma clan’s investigation and details their experiences throughout their eleven years in the United States.

A portrait of Sakamoto Ryoma (oil painting) by Kunisawa Shinkuro (original)

Kunisawa was once a captain of the Yugao of the Tosa Navy. Later, he went to England and studied Western painting. This portrait was completed in 1875. The school of Kunisawa produced many painters who led the field of Western art in Japan.

Japanese – English Consonant Shift Manual

Published to be used by the Kaientai, the Naval Auxilary Force, as an English textbook.


830 Urado-shiroyama, Kochi City, Kochi 781-0262 Japan TEL 088(841)0001  FAX 088(841)0015

Open all year.
Entrance Fee
Adult (18 or older) : 500
Group(20 people or more) : 400
Student(excluding university students) : Free
A surcharge for special exhibits may apply.
Take the Kenkotsu bus(orange)
bound for Katsurahama.
Bus stop : Ryoma Kinenkan Mae
(one before the end of the line at Katsurahama)


Ryoma Sakamoto

Sakamoto Ryoma, born in Kochi in 1835, made a great contribution to Japan’s rapid modernization which marked the end of 700 years of feudal government. The modernized nation he pictured had laws, a parliamentary system and a diplomatic office. The impact he had on the country was such that the people fondly refer to him only by his first name, Ryoma. Henceforth, we will refer to him as such in this brochure.
In his time, it was not permitted to leave one’s home clan without official permission. Japan’s central government, called the bakufu, was losing its power in ruling all the clans. Instead, some clans were getting stronger than others and trying to overthrow the shogunate. Ryoma fled Tosa, the old name for Kochi, without official Tosa travel permission at the age of 28. Ryoma, as a man outside the control of his home fief authorities, worked energetically all over Japan to reform the national political and economic system.
Real national unity, Ryoma thought, would require the cooperation of the two strongest anti-bakufu clans at the time, the Satsuma and Choshu clans, which are now parts of Kagoshima and Yamaguchi prefectures. In 1866, he succeeded in forming an alliance between these two traditional enemies. In 1867, he formulated an “Eight-Point Program” for the modernization of Japan, a political guideline for the new government and cabinet. In October* of this year, with the help of other Tosa youths like Goto Shojiro, Fukuoka Takachika and Nagaoka Kenkichi, he finally realized “Taiseihokan” (returning power to the throne). The bakufu turned over its power to the emperor. It was a bloodless revolution.
Only one month later, in November 15*, 1867, Ryoma was assassinated in Kyoto at the age of 33. He had lived long enough to see only one month of Japan’s drastic change. “The Meiji Restoration” was near at hand, but he never saw the modern Japan he had struggled to build.
This museum was built in order to pass on Ryoma’s life and ideas to the following generations.
*All historical dates in this brochure have been calculated using the lunar calendar system. The lunar calendar was used in those days.

Sakamoto Ryoma Chronological Table
Year Age Respect
1835 1 ・Novembar 15* born in central Tosa (Kochi) as the second son of Sakamoto Hachihei Naotari, a goshi (low ranked samurai).
1846 12 ・Started his formal studies, but quit shortly after.
1848 14 ・Started training in swordsmanship at a neighborhood exercise hall (dojo).
1853 19 ・Completed swordsmanship training and received his certificate (license).
・Moved to Edo (Tokyo) for further training in swordsmanship at the Chiba exercise hall.
・Saw the black ships of U.S. Admiral Perry’s visit to Japan, demanding that Japan’s markets be opened to trade.
1854 20 ・Completed his Edo swordsmanship training and returned to Tosa.
・Enlightened by Kawada Shoryo, who was in possession of considerably accurate information about the West.
1858 24 ・Returned to Edo to receive his license of swordsmanship at the Chiba exercise hall.
1861 27 ・Joined the Tosa Loyalist Party (led by Takechi Zuizan) in order to overthrow the shogunate.
1862 28 ・Fled Tosa to Edo to work with loyalists all over the nation.
・Met Katsu Kaishu, the bakufu’s naval commissioner, and became a follower of Katsu.
1863 29 ・Katsu secured a pardon for Ryoma for fleeing frorn Tosa.
・Organized in Kobe a private institution for Naval Training with Katsu and was put in charge of it.
・Didn’t comply with Tosa’s order to return. Status returned to that of fugitive/deserter.
・Was introduced by Katsu, to Yokoi Shonan, a Fukui clan loyalist leader. Learned about how Yokoi envisioned the future of Japan.
1864 30 ・ Katsu introduced Ryoma to Saigo Takamori, a Satsuma loyalist leader.
1865 31 ・Established the Kameyama-shachu in Nagasaki, Japan’s first trading company, with the help of Saigo.
・Met Katsura Kogoro, a Choshu loyalist leader, to ascertain the possibility of an alliance with the Satsuma clan.
1866 32 ・Satsuma-Choshu alliance worked out in secret. Ryoma helped bring it about as a mediator between Saigo (Satsuma) and Katsura (Choshu).
・One night after the alliance was forged, survived an attack in the Teradaya, an inn in Kyoto, threatening the enemy samurai using his pistol.
・Took a trip to the Satsuma clan with his wife, Oryo, at Saigo’s invitation.
・The Kameyama-shachu’s ship, the Wairu’uefu (the Wild Wave) sank in a storm. Twelve officers died on board.
1867 33 ・Met Goto Shojiro, the Tosa clan undersecretary, and found a kindred spirit in him about the future of Japan.
・Received second Tosa pardon for fleeing the area.
・Reorganized the Kameyama-shachu into the Tosa-Kaientai,
the Naval Auxilary Force. Ryoma appointed head of the Kaientai.
・The lroha of the Kaientai collided with a ship of the Kishu clan and sank.
・Formulated and announced, aboard the Tosa clan’s ship, the Yugaomaru, the Eight-Point Program, a political guideline for the new government and cabinet.
・The Kaientai was suspected of murder of British sailors. Ryoma and his collegues solved the problem.
・Came back to Tosa in order to sell rifles to the Tosa clan and saw his own family for the first time in five yaers.
・A written memorial of returning power to the throne, based on Ryoma’s Eight-Point Program, was passed on to the bakufu by Goto Shojiro and Fukuoka Takachika.
・Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the shogun, petitioned the court to accept the return of political power.
・November 15*: assassinated together with Nakaoka Shintaro at the Omiya, the place they were staying in Kyoto.
・December 5*: ”restoration” announced.
1868 ・”Charter Oath” restated principal features of Ryoma’s Eight-Point Program.

Ryoma Sakamoto’s book written in English is introduced.

1.Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai / Romulus Hillsborough
2.Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration / Marius B. Jansen