The word “Honjin” refers to a facility used during the Edo Period by people of high-status such as feudal lords for overnight accommodation and breaks. As this Honjin is located in Hino City, it is called Hino-shuku Honjin. On the grounds of Hino-shuku Honjin there was formerly a kenjutsu dojo where those who would later become central figures in the Shinsengumi such as Kondo Isami, Hijikata Toshizo, and Okita Soji etc. took part in training. In other words, it is in this place that the story of the Shinsengumi began.
The video below gives an easy-to-understand introduction to the functions of each of the rooms in Hino-shuku Honjin, as well as the activities of the Shinsengumi. Tour around the museum as you watch the video, and learn about the history of the Shinsengumi in even more depth!
Hino-shuku Honjin Guidance Video
Hino-shuku Honjin Full Map
By tapping one of the ● displayed in each of the rooms, you can watch a video introducing that room
The Reception Room
The Entrance (Foyer)
A Modern Room with a Raised Floor
The Living Room～The Buddhist Altar Room～The Cha-no-Ma (Japanese Tea Room)
Full Video Introduction of the History of the Shinsengumi and Hino City
This 17-minute original video introduces the history of the Shinsengumi and Hino City.
What was the Shinsengumi?
An organization formed in Kyoto in the mid-19th Century with the goal of guarding the Shogun and maintaining law and order. At its height, it is said to have been made up of 200 or more young people, many of whom were samurai. After the fall of the Edo Shogunate, they fought as the forces of the former Shogunate side against the new government centered upon the Emperor. (For more details, please watch the full version of the video above) Not only is Hino City the hometown of the Hijikata Toshizo and Inoue Genzaburo, but it is also the place where central figures such as Kondo Isami and Okita Soji first met, hence why it is now known as the birthplace of the Shinsengumi.
What kind of era was the Edo Period?
The Edo period comprises approx. 250 years from 1603 to 1867, a period during which the Tokugawa clan of Shoguns, given power over the political sphere by the Imperial Court (and the Emperor), governed Japan. The government of this period was called the Edo Shogunate. The Edo Shogunate carried out a closed-country policy, prohibiting foreign travel, limiting trade partners to the Netherlands and China, and restricting trade to the port of Nagasaki.
What is the historical background to the end of the Edo Period?
In 1853, an envoy from America arrived leading a fleet of warships, urging that Japan open itself to interaction with the outside world. Japan complied the following year, going further in 1858 and affirming trade with America and four other countries, thereby ending Japan’s closed-country period. However, dissatisfaction with the Shogunate was building within Japan for reasons such as the Shogunate having not asked the Imperial Court for permission to open the country, and the treaties signed with the other countries being unequal etc. As a result of this “Son’o” or the theory of revering the Emperor, and “Joi” or the theory of expelling the barbarians were both chanted, and soon a force had gathered in Kyoto to create a new political system in place of the Shogunate, based on the ideas of Son’o Joi, revering the Emperor and expelling the barbarian. The Shinsengumi carried out the twin functions of clamping down on resistance to the Shogunate in Kyoto, and maintaining law and order. However, it became difficult to maintain political power, and with the Shogunate’s act of returning power to the hands of the Imperial Court the Edo Period ended, and the Shinsengumi lost their political mission.
What was Tennen Rishin Ryu?
Tennen Rishin Ryu was a school of swordfighting founded between 1789-1801 by the Late Edo Period swordmaster Kondo Kuranosuke. Originally it was a comprehensive martial art using jujutsu, bojutsu, kiaijutsu as well as kenjutsu (swordfighting) to defeat the enemy, but only kenjutsu was passed down to Isami Kondo’s generation. During training, to ensure their strength would not falter when it came time for a real swordfight, students undertook training such as building up their arm muscles by using a heavy wooden sword, and individual students would take on multiple opponents at once etc., leading to the school’s reputation as “a martial art which focuses on strength in actual battle.” After entering the Tennen Rishin Ryu school, the famous samurai of Hino City, Sato Hikogoro, opened a Tennen Rishin Ryu dojo in his own house. Some years later, Kondo Isami, Hijikata Toshizo and Okita Soji, who would go on to form the Shinsengumi, visited Sato’s dojo for training, cementing the link between Hino City and the Shinsengumi.
What was Aizu Domain?
Aizu Domain refers to both the area centered around the western part of modern Fukushima Prefecture which was controlled by the Matsudaira family of feudal lords, as well as the organizational entity of that control.
The feudal lord during the period in which the Shinsengumi were active was Matsudaira Katamori. Due to Aizu Domain’s close ties to the Tokugawa clan of Shoguns, it took on the role of protecting law and order in Kyoto, which was worsening due to the force (the Son’o Joi movement) forming to create a new political structure centered around the Emperor to drive off the foreign countries. As a unit under the control of Aizu Domain, the Shinsengumi acted to clamp down on the Son’o Joi movement and maintain law and order in Kyoto.
What does Shinsengumi mean in Japanese?
The kanji characters mean “newly selected unit”. While it is considered to have originated as the name of a unit in Aizu Domain, the details are unknown.
What kind of person was Kondo Isami?
He was born in 1834. He worked as Director General and brought the Shinsengumi together. He was not originally a samurai, but was born as a peasant farmer, but he studied the kenjutsu of the Tennen Rishin Ryu school. When he learned that the Shogunate was recruiting members of the Roshigumi (an organization which gathered samurai under the pretext of protecting the Shogun), he joined along with Hijikata Toshizo and Okita Soji. Later, he formed the Shinsengumi with Serizawa Kamo and was put in charge of maintaining law and order in Kyoto as Director General. At the age of 35, he was captured by the enemy and ended his life.
What kind of person was Hijikata Toshizo?
He was born in 1835. While born to a wealthy farming family, he longed to become a samurai and studied the kenjutsu of the Tennen Rishin Ryu school, becoming the deputy commander (second-in-command, next to the Director General) of the Shinsengumi. He joined the members of the Roshigumi (the organization which gathered samurai under the pretext of protecting the Shogun) alongside Kondo Isami, later becoming active as part of the Shinsengumi. He was known within the Shinsengumi as the “Demon Deputy Commander”, and supposedly set strict rules and cracked down on lapses in discipline. After fighting in the struggle (the Boshin War) between the former Shogunate and the new government centered on the Emperor, he ended his life at the age of 34 after receiving gunshot at the Battle of Hakodate in Hokkaido.
What kind of person was Okita Soji?
He was born in 1842. He studied the kenjutsu of the Tennen Rishin Ryu school from the age of 9, and brought his exceptional skill with the sword to the Shinsengumi, working as the captain of the first unit of the Shinsengumi. His signature technique was the Sandanzuki, an attack which hit the enemy three times in succession at lightning speed. Due to his spectacular ability in swordsmanship, he was known as the Tensai Kenshi (genius swordsman). Ultimately his health deteriorated due to his chronic tuberculosis and he lost his life at the age of 27.
What kind of person was Inoue Genzaburo?
He was born in 1829. He worked as captain of the sixth unit of the Shinsengumi. He was said to have a serious personality, and was sure and steady in fulfilling his duties in the Shinsengumi. He was an extremely gregarious person, and was known to be popular amongst the younger members of the Shinsengumi. He lost his life at the age of 38 as he fought on the front lines to save his fleeing comrades during the struggle (the Boshin War) between the old Shogunate and the new government centered on the Emperor.
What kind of person was Serizawa Kamo?
He was born in 1826. An important individual who created the opportunity to form the Shinsengumi together with Kondo Isami, he is said to have been exceptionally talented with a sword. However, he is said to have struggled with alcoholism and been possessed of a violent temper. He was assassinated at the age of 37 as a result of both political conflict and his poor conduct due to his personality. It is understood that Hijigata Toshizo and Okita Soji were the ones to carry out the assassination.
Is it possible to take photos inside the building?
Yes, photography is allowed.
About how long does it take to go through the building?
It takes approx. 30 minutes while watching the guidance video to fully enjoy the building.
AddressHinohonmachi 2-15-9, Hino City, TokyoTransportation12-minute walk from Hino StationEntry FeeAdults: 200 yen, Children: 50 yenOpening Hours9:30-17:00 (entry until 16:30)ClosedEvery Monday
*If the Monday is a public holiday then closed the following day, End-of-Year and New Year’s (incl. Other temporary days off)
Born into an affluent farming family, Hijikata studied swordmanship and Tennen Rishin-ryu (a style of martial art) while dreaming of becoming a samurai.
Inoue was Isami Kondo's senior and the captain of the Shinsengumi's sixth unit.
Kondo studied swordmanship and Tennen Rishin-ryu (a style of martial art), going on to be become the commander of the Shinsengumi despite being born a peasant.
He studied the Tennen Rishin-ryu school of swordsmanship from 9 years of age and utilized his amazing skills as captain of the Shinsegumi's first unit.
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As the person who opened the dojo in the grounds of Hinojuku Honjin to teach Tennen Rishin-ryu to those who would go on to become members of the Shinsengumi, Sato played a very important role.
Yamanami was the General Secretary of the Shinsengumi and was a prodigy in Hokushin Itto-ryu swordmanship.
In addition to sword techniques, this comprehensive martial art also utilizes jujitsu, rods, and spears to defeat enemies.
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The 246-year period between 1603 and 1867, when Japan was governed by the Tokugawa Shogunate, is known as the Edo era.
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As part of IDEA FACTORY's female-oriented game brand OTOMATE, Hakuōki is a romantic adventure game series which features characters from the Shinsengumi.