About About National Historic Site,
The Former Retreat of Tomomi Iwakura
Tomomi Iwakura was a prominent politician of the late nineteenth century who worked hard in support of restoring Japan’s monarchy during the Meiji Restoration.
He was born in 1825 as the second son of Yasuchika Horikawa, a low-ranking courtier, but was adopted by leading court noble Tomoyasu Iwakura in 1838. In 1854, he became chamberlain to Emperor Komei, and gradually rose to a position of influence in the imperial court.
To strengthen Japan, he supported allying the shogunate, Japan’s warrior-led government, to the imperial court by marrying Emperor Komei’s younger sister Princess Kazu-no-miya to Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi. As a result, he was labeled a shogunate supporter by advocates of imperial rule, some of whom plotted against Iwakura’s life.
In 1862, he was forced to resign from the imperial court and go into hiding in northern Kyoto’s Iwakura Village until 1867.
In 1864, Tomomi Iwakura bought a house (currently the annex) from a carpenter named Tokichi, and added a main house and connecting corridor to it, thus forming the current residence.
This historic site is surrounded by walls and consists of a thatched roof main house (approx. 60m2), a tiled roof annex (approx. 67m2), and a connecting corridor (approx. 9m2). The earth wall on the property’s south side also has a front gate that leads to a middle gate, a pond garden, and an annex where the retreat’s original toilet is located. Starting from 2008, thoroughgoing repairs were performed over four years with national funding.
On the property’s east side is the management office and the nationally registered Taigoku Bunko, which has an exhibit space and storage room.
Designated as a Place of Historic Value: March 25, 1932