Located across the street from Itabashi Station in Kita ward is a memorial for Isami Kondo, the Japanese swordsman who is known as the commander of the Shinsengumi (a special police force organized by the military government – Bakufu).
The Shinensumi was established by the Tokugawa regume but in 1867, when Tokugawa. Yoshinobu withdrew from Kyoto and a new emperor was named as the head of a new government, this meant the end of centuries of military rule by the shoguns. This led to the Shinsengumi participating in Battle of Toba-Fushimi where Kondo suffered a gunshot wound. He would be captured in Nagareyama.
Kondo was accused for the murder of Sakamoto Ryoma, a prominent figure who had a movement to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate in bakumatsu Japan, and Kondo was beheaded in Itabashi in May 17, 1868.
His decapitated head was displayed for people to see and his torso was left elsewhere
Despite a confession made by ex-Mimawarigumi (another pro-shogun group) member Imai Nobu two years later for the murder, it was probably the case to find something to pin on Kondo, as he was considered a major threat to the Imperial Court.
In respect of Kondo, a tombstone was built in cooperation with Shinsengumi captain (of the 2nd troop) Nagakura Shinpachi at the location across the street from Itabashi Station and is maintained by the “Tomb Preservation Society of Kondo Isamu and Shinsengumi”. The location was designated a cultural asset for Kita ward on December 10, 2003.
NOTE: While across the street from Itabashi Station (which is in Itabashi ward), one you cross the street, that area is Kita ward.
Every April 25th or the Sunday before, a grave festival is held.
It’s important for me to mention that this location is very small. As you can see from my photos, it’s probably going to take you less than 15 minutes to look at everything.
But because it was part of my Tokyo-ward challenge of visiting as many locations in each ward, I saw this location often being mentioned near Itabashi Station but located in Kita ward.
But for the Japanese history buff and for those who have interest in the Shinsengumi, the tomb of Kondo Isami is worth visiting!