Museum General Information

Kaiyo Maru – the Last Battleship of the Tokugawa Shogunate

Esashi Twon, Hokkaido
Shop Cafe / Restaurant Impediment removal Support in English Support in Chinese Support in Korean

* Pamphlets are available in English, Chinese and Korean.
* Wheelchairs are allowed.

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Facility Outline:
A recreation of the Tokugawa shogunate’s last large-scale battleship

Kaiyo MaruThe Kaiyo Maru was a battleship in the days of the Tokugawa Shogunate at the end of Edo period (1603 – 1868). It was built in the Netherlands in 1866 and arrived in Japan in April 1867. Armed with a high-performance Krupp cannon, this was the most sophisticated battleship in the world at the time. However, when the Tokugawa Shogunate lost control of the country and the Emperor took over its political situation, the Kaiyo Maru was handed over to the new government’s army. Tokugawa retainer Takeaki Enomoto took the vessel and headed to Hokkaido during the Boshin War (a civil conflict between the former Tokugawa Shogunate and the new government), but the resistance efforts did not last long; the Kaiyo Maru was wrecked in a storm off the coast of Esashi on December 28, 1868. All its crew members managed to reach Esashi, and several days later Toshizo Hijikata (a member of the former shogunate forces) and Takeaki Enomoto watched the ship completely sink into the sea.

Kaiyo MaruA full 122 years after the ship sank, the Kaiyo Maru – the Last Battleship of the Tokugawa Shogunate (Esashi Umi-no Eki) was built in 1990. This full-size replica based on the ship’s original blue prints from the Netherlands today serves as a history museum. An unprecedented underwater excavation research project started in 1975 has resulted in the retrieval of 30,000 historical artifacts from the sea area where the vessel sank. Wax figures and a range of important documents and mementos from the ship are exhibited, telling the stories of 14 individuals who greatly contributed to Japan’s modernization and studied in the Netherlands, including Takeaki Enomoto. This is an important museum and a must-see for history enthusiasts.


Permanent Exhibition:
An experience highlighting on-board crew life with hammocks

hammocksThe Kaiyo Maru – the Last Battleship of the Tokugawa Shogunate (Esashi Umi-no Eki) is a recreation of a huge vessel capable of carrying 350 – 500 crew members. It is 72.8 meters long and 13.04 meters at its widest part, and its main mast is 45 meters high. Various historical artifacts are displayed on board the vessel.

The 30,000 exhibits with related commentary on the recovery process and preservation methods make a truly impressive collection, which includes a variety of interesting items such as cannons, pistols, medical supplies, everyday tools and concealed purses used by crew members to hide money. In a hands-on area, visitors can hear a canon being fired, experience a game-like ship-handling simulation, learn about historical artifact preservation processes and try out hammocks like those used by the original crew members.

There is also a local specialty sales area and an eat-in space for light meals, providing visitors with opportunities to shop for gifts and souvenirs after learning about the ship’s history.


Recommended Activities:
Aoi Mon (hollyhock crest) salvaged from the sea bed

This Tokugawa family crest, known as Aoi Mon (hollyhock crest), was sent to the Netherlands by the Edo shogunate for attachment to the hull of the Kaiyo Maru. Today it is stored at the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam with a note identifying it as the crest of the overlord. The salvaged crest is slightly different from the original design due to a misconception; the hollyhock of the Dutch version is heart-shaped, as was popular in Europe at the time. The crest has a design similar to the form of a three-leaf clover.

Aoi Mon (hollyhock crest)

Aoi Mon (hollyhock crest)

Aoi Mon (hollyhock crest) created in the Netherlands

Aoi Mon (hollyhock crest) created in the Netherlands

Exhibitions Information

No information now.

Basic Information

Facility nameKaiyo Maru – the Last Battleship of the Tokugawa Shogunate (Esashi Umi-no Eki)
AddressUbagami-cho 1-10, Esashi-cho aza, Hiyama-gun
Hours9:00 – 17:00 (admission tickets on sale until 16:30)
ClosedApril – October: open daily
November 1 – December 30: closed on Mondays and the day after national holidays (If a national holiday falls on a Monday, the facility is open on the Monday and closed on the Tuesday and Wednesday.)
December 31 – March 31: winter closure
Admission feeAdults: 500 yen; elementary, junior and senior high school students: 250 yen
Access1 hour 50 minutes on the Hakodate Bus from JR Hakodate Station Bus Terminal. Get off at Ubagami-cho Ferry Mae bus stop. The facility is a three-minute walk from the bus stop.
Display the Kaiyo Maru – the Last Battleship of the Tokugawa Shogunate on an enlarged map.
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