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Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin (released in Japan in February 2014) is a spin-off game set at the end of the Edo period of Japanese history (known as the Bakumatsu period), a period when the Tokugawa Shogunate came to an end and imperial rule was restored (Meiji Restoration).

Sakamoto Ryoma is living undercover, with a false identity, as "Saito Hajime" in Kyoto. One year earlier, on the eve of the coup d'├ętat of Tosa, Ryoma's foster father, the man who raised him, was murdered before his eyes. The only lead he had to discover who the killer was is that he used the Tennen Rishin style of fighting. This is a style used by the Shinsengumi, so Ryoma infiltrates their ranks, becoming captain of the 3rd Shinsengumi unit, in attempt to find the killer.

Big thanks to Kevin Debrabandere for creating a PDF for the entire Ishin guide. You can download the PDF version of the guide here. Please be advised that the PDF is outdated now, but still contains information for the whole game.

This guide is for the original (2014) release of Ishin. The information contained within may not necessarily be accurate for the 2023 "Like a Dragon: Ishin" remake.

The game kicks off on December 10th, 1867 (the day Ryoma was killed in real life). After starting a raid and taking out some guys on the ground floor, Hijikata says to the camera "We'll take care of things down here; you go on ahead" and Okita mentions that Sakamoto Ryoma is upstairs. There are two men standing around outside the building (Saigo Kichinosuke, also known as "Saigo Takamori" - Army commander of the Satsuma domain - and Niibori Matsusuke, who used that name when working against the Shogun, but his real name was "Kido Takayoshi" - a warrior from the Choshu domain). Niibori says "It has begun". A man is attacked upstairs, saying "Who are you?" just before he falls and dies. Afterwards, a man sat out of view (Sasaki Tadasaburo - a warrior of the Kyoto Mimawarigumi, a group similar to the Shinsengumi; their job was to maintain order in Kyoto during the Bakumatsu period) says "It's a strange tale... The man who was supposed to change the times is killed by an old-fashioned man. What's more, he was killed by his other self, who shouldn't even exist... Isn't that right, Sakamoto Ryoma?". The camera pans to the warrior who killed the man, revealing him to be the protagonist, Sakamoto Ryoma, a warrior from Tosa who is living undercover in Kyoto with the name "Saito Hajime". He is the captain of the Third Shinsengumi unit.

The screen then fades to black and the narration (done by Sakamoto Ryoma/Saito Hajime himself) explains that just a few years prior to Ryoma's assassination, the country had been ruled by the Tokugawa Shogunate for 300 years. But it all starting coming to an end when the black ships (the name given to ships arriving in Japan from western countries) showed up and the Shogunate did not have the means to fight such a powerful civilisation. He says the samurai aren't supposed to sit around quietly when a leader is weak, so this led to the country once again being in a state of civil war. After he finishes, the credits begin and we see Sakamoto Ryoma returning to Tosa on a boat.

Ryoma gets off and says to himself "It's been about a year since I was last here...". He then says he should take a look around and see what's happening around town.

A message then appears on the screen telling you about the "Tips" system - the game with give an indicator at times and when you press TRIANGLE while the indicator is on screen, it will display useful information. You can also view the tips again from the main menu.

You will automatically get the "Welcome to Tosa!" trophy when you have control.


Head to this area to trigger a cutscene. After the cutscene, Ryoma notices a young girl in pain on the streets, in her mother's arms. She asks for a doctor and then one appears and takes a look at her. He says she probably has appendicitis - inflammation of the appendix - and that only a western doctor (or, more specifically, a doctor who uses western medical techniques) can cure it. He says they need to hurry her to a doctor who can cure her and calls out for someone to help carry her there. Unfortunately, at this exact moment a couple of samurai of high social class (Joshi) pass through. Tosa in these times had a strict social hierarchy, whereby people of lower class (such as "Goshi" - low ranking samurai. Ryoma is a Goshi) had to stop and bow down to the higher ranking people until they pass. However, the mother picks up her daughter and tries to run past the samurai, who stop her in her tracks. She tries to convince them to let her past saying her daughter needs treatment. The samurai, unmoved by her pleas, knock her to the ground. She then dares to talk back against them - "Are Joshi really so important?". The Joshi, of course, are not happy about this insolence and they draw their swords - "Nobody defies us and gets away with it!". Just as one of the Joshi is about to strike her down, Ryoma steps in and stops them - "Tosa really pisses me off". He tells the woman to hurry and take the child to get some treatment. He tosses the sword he's holding to the ground, saying the Joshi might get revenge on the town if he accidentally kills them. Ryoma then fights them, starting the Hand-to-Hand Fighting Style tutorial.

Hand-to-Hand Fighting Style Tutorial #1

It explains that the Hand-to-Hand style is the only style that can pick up objects lying around in the battle area. You can also use the "Counter-Attack War Cry" Special Ability. You cannot defend against bladed weapons (such as swords) with this style.

The first thing it asks you to do is perform a SQUARE combo attack 3 times.

Next it will ask you to perform a strong attack (TRIANGLE) two times. You perform this attack by pressing TRIANGLE during a SQUARE combo attack.

It then asks you to evade (X BUTTON) or parry an enemy attack [L1] 3 times. You can do either one, or a combination of both.

Then it will ask you to defeat the enemies.

After defeating the Joshi, some police arrive to arrest Ryoma and take him to Kochi castle. A prison guard asks Ryoma why a low ranking Samurai like himself would go up against Joshi right after getting back from Edo and reminds him that in Tosa, social class is more important than life. He then tells him that the death penalty awaits him. "Doesn't it bother you?" Ryoma asks, telling him that he too is a Goshi himself and so he has to conform to the rules of having to bow down to those "idiot Joshi" as well. He then tells Ryoma "I am a Shirafuda Goshi" - Shirafuda Goshi is a samurai social rank in between the low ranking Goshi and the high ranking Joshi, so they aren't on the same level at all. He tells Ryoma that no one would care if a Goshi like him were gone and is about to strike him down, but is stopped by Yoshida Toyo - a leading member of the government of the Tosa region, but he is also Ryoma's foster father. After he sends away the Shirafuda Goshi, he speaks to Ryoma alone, telling him to get out of there and get to the "hideout", where he'll explain what's going on in detail. Ryoma doesn't remember where the hideout is, so Toyo says he should ask some guys on the streets, saying "If you ask about 'Kengoshi Academy', they'll know what you mean". When Ryoma gets out of the prison, he says he should look for somewhere to eat before he goes to the hideout.


When you head near this area, Ryoma will see a man looking in a pot for "something useful". You can now examine pots to find items you can use. For pot locations, please visit the map section of the site. Even after you take an item from a pot once, more items can appear again in the future so it's worth checking pots every time you pass them (you can tell when a new item is in one, because the lid will be back on).


When you get close to this area, Ryoma will talk to a woman looking at a well. She says she found something in the water and gives it to Ryoma (she gives you Scrap Metal). You can now examine wells to find items. Just like the pots, you can keep coming back to examine a well for more items after doing it once already. You also get water from the well, which you can use to restore health.


Now go to Hama Tea House and eat. The game will tell you about how you can get advantages in battle by eating at restaurants. For more information about the battle enhancements you get when eating at restaurants, please visit the battle system page. What enhancement you get is indicated on the food. The red icon indicates the "Endurance" enhancement, blue icon indicates the "Concentration" enhancement and yellow indicates the "Strength" enhancement. As you leave the Tea House, a couple of guys speak out to Ryoma saying "aren't you that guy who went against the Joshi?" and go on to say if Ryoma wants to change things, he should join the Tosa Loyalist Party (who supported the Emperor, rather than the Shogunate). After that, Ryoma says he should head for the hideout.


When you go to this area, Ryoma gets stopped by some samurai, saying they aren't gonna let someone who put their hands on a Joshi just freely walk around the streets. This starts another battle tutorial.

Hand-to-Hand Fighting Style Tutorial #2

It first asks you to grab an enemy (CIRCLE) and then either throw them (CIRCLE) or attack (SQUARE) 2 times.

It next asks you to perform a heat action. Grab an enemy, take them near a wall and press TRIANGLE.

Finally, defeat the enemies.

Next you get an explanation on the level up system. There are two types of "souls" (the things you spend to upgrade your abilities in the sphere grid level up system) - you get white souls from leveling up Ryoma and they can be spent on any style and you also get coloured souls for each style (Red = Hand-to-Hand. Blue = Sword. Orange = Pistol. Green = Wild Dance) which you gain by leveling up the fighting style and they can only be spent in their own sphere grid (for example - coloured souls gained from leveling up the Sword fighting style can only be spent in the Sword sphere grid). Go to the start menu and select the third option to get to the level up system. The first option is for the Hand-to-Hand sphere grid, the second is for the Sword, the third is for the Pistol and the last one is for the Wild Dance style. For more information on abilities, including a full list of the ones in the game, please visit the abilities section.


Talk to the guy wandering around this area. He might not be exactly where the indicator is on the map above, but he's the only guy in the area with a speech thing above his head besides the storekeepers. If he's not there just wander around the street until you find him. Ryoma mentions the "Kengoshi Academy" to him and the man tells him it's behind the store "Chitoseya". Head down the gap to the left of Chitoseya on the map to get to the building.


Enter the building and you'll find Yoshida Toyo sat in there. We learn that Ryoma has been in Edo sword training for the past year. We also learn that Ryoma's family was killed by Joshi and that Toyo created a secret academy to help the children whose lives have been ruined by the social system in Tosa (Ryoma being one of those children) with the hope of raising people who can bring about change in Tosa (because Toyo himself also hates the social class system there). Toyo mentions it was 15 years ago when Joshi burned down Ryoma's house and killed his family. Ryoma, confused, asks why Toyo keeps working for the government if he hates the system here, after all as a leading government member here he is expected to enforce the social system. Toyo says acting like that is just his public face, but his real focus is on creating change. He asks Ryoma if he's seen Takechi since he's been back (as in "Takechi Hanpeita", also known as "Takechi Zuizan" - leader of the Tosa Loyalist Party), but Ryoma says he hasn't yet. He explains about the Tosa Loyalist Party, saying they support the Emperor, but also they are aiming to bring down the social system in Tosa. He says he wants both Takechi Hanpeita and Sakamoto Ryoma's help if they are to succeed in their plan. After, he tells Ryoma to go and meet Hanpeita, who will explain things in more detail, and to join the Loyalist Party. Toyo heads back to Kochi castle. When he leaves the building, Ryoma says he should ask around for Hanpeita's whereabouts.


Talk the man wandering in this area. Like before, the person you're looking for might not be exactly at this location on the map above. Ryoma asks about Hanpeita and the man tells him about the Takechi Dojo at the north-east of the map, but they're training at the moment and outsiders can't get in.


Speak to the gatekeeper and Ryoma asks if he can go in to see Hanpeita, saying that he's Sakamoto Ryoma. The guy says Hanpeita's busy training at the moment and that Ryoma has no proof that he actually is Ryoma. Ryoma then says to himself he has to go and look around town for a way to get into the dojo.


When you get here, Ryoma spots some guys pretending to be members of the Tosa Loyalist Party and trying to extort money out of a shopkeeper. Ryoma takes them on, beginning the Sword Fighting Style tutorial.

Sword Fighting Style Tutorial

With this style, you can charge up attacks by holding the TRIANGLE button during a SQUARE combo (works the same way as Saejima's charged attacks in Yakuza 4 and 5). You cannot pick up objects with this style, so the CIRCLE button becomes the "Early Summer Rain Break" Special Ability which breaks an enemies guard.

You will be asked to perform a SQUARE combo 3 times.

Next, you will be asked to perform a strong attack (TRIANGLE during a SQUARE combo) 2 times

Next, you will be asked to perform a charged strong attack (HOLD DOWN TRIANGLE during a SQUARE combo) 1 time

Finally, defeat all the enemies

After Ryoma beats them, a man from the Tosa Loyalist Party (Shimada Yahei) recognises him as Sakamoto Ryoma and compliments him on his skill. Apparently there have been quite a lot of samurai lately going around saying they're with the Tosa Loyalist Party. Yahei then tells Ryoma Hanpeita has been looking for him.


Head back to the gatekeeper and he tells Ryoma Hanpeita is waiting for him inside. Inside, we see members of the Loyalist Party doing some shooting practice. "So you've finally returned, Ryoma..." Hanpeita says to him. Ryoma tells Hanpeita that he talked with Toyo at the Kengoshi Academy. Hanpeita then makes an announcement to his men that Ryoma is now second in command in the Tosa Loyalist Party. The members aren't too pleased with this news - "How can he just suddenly show up and be second in command!?"

While Hanpeita and Ryoma are chatting, Ryoma notices the burn mark on Hanpeita's back. "Does your back still hurt?" he asks him. Hanpeita says it doesn't; it's just a scar now. Ryoma apologises for it (which he seems to do all the time); it turns out Hanpeita was the one who saved Ryoma from the fire which killed his family 15 years ago. Hanpeita now talks about his and Toyo's plan to change Tosa and says he wants Ryoma's help, saying they plan to raid Kochi castle. Though he says it's a "raid" he's hoping it can end without violence; Toyo will attempt to force the older members in control into retirement. But if they refuse, then it will be necessary to force them out. Members of the Tosa Loyalist Party can then take the empty seats (which the old members used to have) and gain majority power. Hanpeita talks about wanting to create a world of equality and gives Ryoma a pistol and asks Ryoma again to join him in his mission to do so. Ryoma agrees to help. Hanpeita tells Ryoma to go out and kill some time before they meet up with Toyo at Kochi castle, as he has preparations to make. When Ryoma leaves, he now has the "Model 2" Pistol and Flaming Bullets. He says he should go and have a drink to kill some time.


Go here and have a drink. Afterwards, Ryoma says it's about time to return to the Takechi Dojo (that was quick...). However, some guys show up and confront Ryoma, which begins the Pistol and Wild Dance tutorials.

Pistol Fighting Style Tutorial

With the Pistol style you can use special bullet types (such as Flaming Bullets, which you've already received). You can also use the "Roaring Shot" Special Ability to attack multiple enemies.

First you will be asked to attack with the Pistol 3 times (SQUARE)

Next you will be asked to use the "Roaring Shot" Special Ability 2 times (press TRIANGLE during a SQUARE combo)

Next will be be asked to shoot using a special bullet type once (TRIANGLE)

Now press the UP DIRECTIONAL BUTTON to switch to the Wild Dance fighting style. See the battle system page for information on the fighting style and how to switch to different ones.

Wild Dance Fighting Style Tutorial

Wild Dance has fast attacks in waves of both pistol fire and sword attacks. Using the "Leaving a Shadow" Special Ability, you can chain up attacks quickly against multiple opponents.

You will first be asked to attack with your sword 3 times (SQUARE)

Next you will be asked to attack 3 times with your gun (TRIANGLE)

Next you will be asked to use the "Fenghuang Formation" Special Ability - press CIRCLE up to 3 times

Now use the "Leaving a Shadow" Special Ability - press X during a combo attack and then press SQUARE

Finally, defeat the enemies


Head here to trigger a cutscene. Ryoma is confronted by a group of men, led by Okada Izo. These men are members of the Tosa Loyalist Party. It turns out some members of the party went and got this Okada guy, telling him about how Takechi made him second in command. They believe Okada is better suited to be second in command, not Ryoma. This leads to a fight against Okada and his men.

After the fight, Ryoma tells Okada "Tell everyone in the loyalist party that if anyone has a problem with me, I'll take them on any time". Hanpeita saw the whole thing, saying Ryoma has become stronger since last year.

After talking with Hanpeita about the future of Tosa (again...), talk to Hanpeita (who is standing by the Dojo entrance) and select the TOP OPTION.


Follow Hanpeita to this location on the map (Kochi castle). There's a long series of fights here, so pick up some healing items if you need to before you go inside.

When they get inside, they meet with Toyo. He goes over the plan again, about how they'll force the old governors of Tosa out and reform Tosa - abolishing the social rank system currently in place. He says they'll do it tomorrow. Ryoma thinks it's a bit sudden to do it, but Toyo says they've just been waiting around for Ryoma to come back, so everything is ready now. He says 500 men of the Tosa Loyalist Party will keep things under their control around the castle and that he'll take care of things inside the castle. However, there is one thing that's bothering him - He asks if it's true Ryoma is second in command and if Hanpeita was the one who gave him that rank. "Is that a problem?" asks Hanpeita. He reminds them that they are going to force the old members out and gain a lot of political power in Tosa and he doesn't believe Ryoma is suited to being second in command. Hanpeita is confused, "But you said the three of us would be the ones to change Tosa!". Ryoma says if he's not suited to being second in command, he'll stand down, but Hanpeita isn't happy - "What is the meaning of this, Toyo!?". Just as Toyo is about to explain things, a masked man suddenly enters the room and cuts down Toyo. Ryoma tries to seize the man, but is forced to the ground. The masked man attacks Toyo once again before fleeing. Hanpeita tells Ryoma to take care of Toyo and then he chases after the man. Toyo tells Ryoma to run away, because people will think he's the one who killed Toyo. Before dieing, he tells Ryoma he entrusts the future of Tosa to him. After his death, some men storm the room and, of course, accuse Ryoma of killing him. This begins the long fight sequence in the castle.

Yellow dots indicate items you can pick up (such as healing items).

After defeating the enemies, leave the room and head down the stairs at the top left of the map (don't forget to pick up the Tamahagane at the bottom left of the map first!).

Beat the guys and then bash down the obstacle directly ahead.


Head to this area, defeat the guy here and then walk past to trigger an event and progress to the next part. Don't forget to grab the "All-Purpose Pill" on your way.

Head through the door in the room you start in and beat the enemies. There are quite a few items in this area (as indicated on the map above), so pick them up before heading through the door on the bottom right hand side of the room.


Make your way to this room and defeat the mini-boss here. He drops the "Senbon Spear" weapon (though you can't use it until you get the Sojutsu Knowledge ability). Then proceed through the door to the north and up the stairs.

Defeat the guys you bump into after you get upstairs. Then bash down the door (pick up the Crystal in this area first!). There are two All-Purpose Pills in this next area.


Go through the door to trigger a cutscene. Ryoma finds Hanpeita injured. He says that masked man killed everyone here. Hanpeita says the man uses a style of fighting he's never seen before. This starts the boss fight for chapter 1 against the masked man. There is another All-Purpose Pill in this battle area if you need it. After you deal a certain amount of damage, a quick-time event is triggered. After completing this, the battle ends.

The masked man knocks down Ryoma and strikes Hanpeita, who tried to help Ryoma. He then flees. Hanpeita asks what happened to Toyo and Ryoma tells him he died. "Did someone find out about our plan?" wonders Ryoma, thinking that masked man was sent to stop them. Ryoma says he's going to hunt down this man - after all, he can't stay around here because everyone thinks he killed Toyo.

The two of them leave the castle and try to get to refuge, but Hanpeita collapses, saying he can't go on anymore. He tells Ryoma to go on without him. He says "One of us has to survive to go on and lead the Tosa Loyalist Party". However, Ryoma picks up Hanpeita and helps him into a building. He tells Hanpeita that Tosa needs him; he can't die now. He leaves Hanpeita in the building, telling him no one knows he's there, so he can recover and tells him it's up to him to fulfil Toyo's dying wish of creating a new future for Tosa. It turns out they were followed by some guys, Ryoma handles it alone, insisting Hanpeita stay out of sight.

Ryoma tells the guys he didn't kill Toyo, but he doubts they'll believe him, so he'll leave Tosa. He says he intends to hunt down the real killer and then he leaps off the side of the cliff.

Go to Chapter 2