Menu from Banquet at the Revere House Hotel

On August 2, 1872, the Japanese embassy arrived at the Revere House Hotel in Bowdoin Square, Boston. The group was greeted with a banquet dinner, hosted by members of the Boston Board of Trade. Menus for the affair were printed stylishly in both Japanese and English. The following day, local newspapers commented on the tasteful […]

World’s Peace Jubilee

On June 18, 1872, the delegation arrived in Boston and visited the World’s Peace Jubilee and International Music Festival. The momentous summer event was organized to celebrate world peace, following the end of both the American Civil War in 1865 and the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. The music festival included concerts by thousands of musicians […]

Social Customs

On August 6, 1872, the delegation sailed out of Boston harbor amid cheers and applause from gathered crowds on the shore. The farewell was not the first time the group had been warmly received by the public, and as the boat moved further out to sea Kunitake Kume reflected on the kindness he had experienced […]

Department of the Treasury

While in Washington D.C the delegates visited the Department of the Treasury, where the nation’s currency was printed. The group was drawn to the intricate process of printing paper money, a method that required efficient collaboration between machines and manual laborers. The delegates were especially impressed by how meticulous the printing presses were, as each […]

Streets of Washington D.C.

On February 6, 1872, the delegation headed to the United States Capitol building. They arrived via Pennsylvania Avenue, marveling at the immaculate roads surrounded by beautiful winter trees and flora. The group commented that the streets were laid out like a Go board, with the four large avenues – Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey […]

Patent Office

During the afternoon of April 2, 1872, the delegates made a trip to the U.S Patent Office. The group was impressed by the thousands of inventions listed and on display – everything from toys to steamship designs. Kume Kunitake, the avid diarist of the journey, translated the name of the building to, “the Institution for […]


Broadway was a beautifully chaotic boulevard in 1872, and the Iwakura delegation were in awe of the multitude of New Yorkers commuting by carriage, bus, and on foot. Kunitake Kume wrote that the density of the city was unmatched by anything they had experienced before. It seemed as if all roads led back to New […]

Christian Organizations

While in New York City, the Iwakura Mission visited the American Bible Society and the YMCA. The Bible Society was an organization that advocated the translation and distribution of the Christian Bible, and presented the delegation with Bibles written in Chinese. Kunitake Kume made note of the popularity of Christianty in America, especially as a […]

Establishment of the Consulate General of Japan in New York

This document, is a report regarding the establishment of the Consulate General of Japan in New York, sent from the Chargé d’Affaires Arinori Mori. It was sent on November 26, 1872, just over three months after the Iwakura Mission left the United States.

Erie Canal

The Iwakura Mission traveled north to Syracuse and Niagara Falls on a track that ran beside the Erie Canal. Kume wrote it was, “one of the best-known canals in the world,” and that its “gently flowing waters” were a “vital waterway” in the nation. Completed in 1825, the Canal connected the Hudson River with the […]