Author: Richard Perkins
Photos/Videos Taken: 2020/12/30
Address: 263 Minamihamacho, Fushimi-ku,
寺田屋 (teradaya) is a Japanese-style inn in the Fushimi ward of Kyoto city, Kyoto prefecture. This is a Japanese-style inn that dates back to the Edo period (1603-1868) and doesn’t differ much from other Japanese-style inns built at that time. However, what makes this Japanese-inn different is that it is known for two incidents, both known as the "Teradaya Incident", that took place there.
The first Teradaya Incident is the 薩摩藩志士粛清事件 (satsumahan shishukusei jiken), also referred to as the "Teradaya Disturbance". This took place on April 23rd, 1862.
This incident was a purge between the leader of the Satsuma domain (Kagoshima prefecture) Hisamitsu Shimazu and Shinshichi Arima of the Seichu group (an organization inside the Satsuma domain). Shinshichi Arima mistakenly thought that Hisamitsu Shimazu was going to lead a thousand people to take part in 尊皇攘夷 (sonnō jōi), an act to revere the emperor, forbid Christianity from Japan, and get rid of the foreigners in the country. To get a better understanding of what was going to take place, these two had a consultation with one another. This consultation didn’t go so well and ended up with them drawing their swords and fighting.
The second Teradaya Incident is the 坂本龍馬襲撃事件 (sakamoto ryōma shūgeki jiken). This is an incident that took place four years after the Teradaya Disturbance. As the name of this incident implies, this incident involved Sakamoto Ryōma, a well-known Japanese man who lived in the 幕末 (bakumatsu), the end of the Tokugawa government (the end of the Edo period).
Sakamoto Ryōma was a skilled swordsman who throughout his life helped to bring the Chōshū domain (Yamaguchi prefecture) and the Satsuma domain to make reconciliations with one another. On top of that, Sakamoto Ryōma helped to create 亀山社中 (kame-yama shachū) in Nagasaki prefecture, which is said to be the first trading company in Japan. Sakamoto Ryōma was a Japanese person who accomplished a lot and made many substantial contributions to Japan throughout his life.
Going back to the sakamoto ryōma shūgeki jiken, this was an incident that took place on January 1st, 1866, when Sakamoto Ryōma was staying at Teradaya. On this evening, Hayashi Tadakata, a magistrate (a civil officer who administers the law) dispatched thirty constables (a person whose job it was to catch criminals) that ended up surrounding Teradaya. Sakamoto Ryōma’s wife O-Ryō was taking a bath when the constables surrounded Teredaya and for whatever reason realized that the place was surrounded. She then got out of the bath and went upstairs completely naked (presumably not to waste any time getting dressed) to alert Ryōma of the situation.
Sakamoto Ryōma was then attacked by these constables. He fought back but became unable to fight after obtaining an injury to his hand. Miyoshi Shinzō, a clansman of the Chōshū domain, was staying that night at Teradaya too as Sakamoto Ryōma’s bodyguard. Seeing as Sakamoto Ryōma was unable to fight, Miyoshi Shinzō fought back in his place. Because of this, Sakamoto Ryōma was able to escape from Teradaya.
It was these two incidents that made Teradaya the famous Japanese-style inn it is today. Unfortunately, Teradaya was burned to the ground by a fire in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi in 1868. The Teradaya Japanese-style inn that stands now is a reconstruction but is built in the same setup as the original Teradaya. For ¥400 you can get inside this building and have a look at it as you please. Also, it is possible to spend the night here.
This is the bath that Sakamoto Ryōma's wife was bathing in when the constables surrounded Teredaya.