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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Kameyama Shachu Memorial Museum

亀山社中記念館

The Kameyama Shachu Memorial Museum in Nagasaki is a restoration of the building that housed a shipping company begun by Sakamoto Ryoma (1835-1867), a prominent activist in the struggles to overthrow the Tokugawa regime in the 1850's and 1860's. Historians see the Kameyama Shachu (aka Kaientai 海援隊), Japan's first trading company, as a forerunner of the Japanese navy.

Kameyama Shachu Memorial Museum, Nagasaki.

Money for the venture was provided by a wealthy Nagasaki businessman, Kosone Kendo and the powerful Satsuma han (present-day Kagoshima Prefecture). The shipping company was meant to circumvent the Shogunate's trade blockade against its enemy Choshu (present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture) and its main activity seemed to be running guns and ammunition into Japan.

Although the Japanese style house and garden is a very small space, just 10-, 8- and 3-mat tatami rooms, it attracts a large number of keen Ryoma fans who make the pilgrimage uphill to the museum every day.

Kameyama Shachu Memorial Museum, Nagasaki.


On display are a number of the great man's personal effects including his haori - a traditional kimono jacket which his family crest (mon) on the chest. There is also a secret mezzanine floor reached through the ceiling if the occupants needed to hide from any shogunal spies.

The Kameyama Shachu Memorial Museum is a 15-20 minute walk from the Kokaido-mae tram stop close to Kokufuji Temple. The walk up to the museum has a number of plaques detailing the lives of the men who were active during the Meiji Restoration period when the Tokugawa Bakufu was eventually overthrown and replaced by the Meiji government.

Kameyama Shachu Memorial Museum
2-7-24 Irabayashi, Nagasaki 850-0802
Hours: 9am-5pm daily
Admission: 300 yen

Kameyama Shachu Memorial Museum, Nagasaki.


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