Opened in 1970, the Ryozen Museum of History in Kyoto is the first museum in Japan dedicated to comprehensive research of the Bakumatsu period and the Meiji Restoration.
During the Bakumatsu period, Kyoto became a political center. The museum’s collection features calligraphy, artifacts, letters, and other materials associated with notable figures of this period. These include emperors, samurai, aristocrats, and courtiers, as well as writers and painters.
The museum presents the power struggles of this period from both perspectives: that of the imperial loyalists as well as that of the supporters of the shogun, many of whom were active in and around Higashiyama. Alongside items belonging to reformers like Sakamoto Ryoma, Nakaoka Shintaro, Saigo Takamori, Kido Takayoshi, and Takasugi Shinsaku, one will find materials associated the Tokugawa shogunate and its supporters, including Shogun Yoshinobu, Matsudaira Katamori, the Shinsengumi, and others.
About 100 items are on display at the museum, from a collection of over 5,000 items.
The museum is operated by the Ryozen Foundation, a public interest foundation established in 1968, the centennial of the Meiji Restoration.