Mount Iimori [飯盛山]

Entrance to Mount Iimori
Entrance to Mount Iimori
Photo by Fukushima Prefecture

Scenery to Tsurugajo from Mt.Iimori
Scenery to Tsurugajo from Mt.Iimori
Photo by Fukushima Prefecture

Mount Iimori ("Iimoriyama" in Japanese) is a mountain located 2.5 km east of Aizu-Wakamatsu station, and is at the east end of the central area of the city.

Its altitude is 314 meters.
But the alititude of Aizu-Wakamatsu is about 220 meters, so the mountain is like a hill of less than 100 meters height.

It is famous as the place that the members of Byakkotai killed themselves.

On the mountainside, there are the place where they committed suicide and their grave.
And there are some shrines and museums related to the Byakkotai.

Grave of Byakkotai (白虎隊士墓)

Grave of Byakkotai
Grave of Byakkotai
Photo by Fukushima Prefecture

19 gravestones of Byakkotai
19 gravestones of Byakkotai

Grave of Byakkotai is located on the mountainside of Mount Iimori.
To visit there, you go up the stairs for about 100 meters from the foot of the mountain.

The 20 boys of Byakkotai pushed to the edge by the government army decided to commit suicide here in August of 1868.
Because they saw a flame that Tsurugajo was burning in the direction from here. So they despaired and had elected death.

The 19 boys had died upon their own sword near the current grave, but only one boy escaped death.
He told the day's incident in his final years, so it is said that the details of Byakkotai became clearer.

Statue donated from Rome city
Statue donated from Rome city
Photo by Railstation.net

The place that the boys committed suicide
The place that the boys committed suicide
Photo by Fukushima Prefecture

Near the grave, there are a statue donated from Rome city in 1928 and a monument donated from a German embassy in 1935.

Especially, the statue from Rome was sent by Mussolini (1883-1945), the Prime Minister of Italy.
Because, he said that Byakkotai was similar to National Fascist Party which was an Italian political party expressing fascism.

The place that the boys committed suicide is about dozens of meters far from the graves.

Sazaedo temple (栄螺堂)

Sazaedo
Sazaedo
Photo by Railstation.net

Entrance of Sazaedo
Entrance of Sazaedo
Photo by Railstation.net

Sazaedo is a unique Buddhist temple located on the lower place of grave of Byakkotai.

"Sazae" means "turban shell".
As the name suggests, the structure of the building is a little similar to spiral shell.

It has a shape of regular hexagon and seems like a three-storied building.
The height is 16.5 meters.
And, the building has internally two spiral slopes.

One is clockwise and another is counterclockwise.
The visitors climb by one slope and go down by another slope.

Originally, 33 Buddha statues had been enshrined along the slopes.
But they had been moved to other place in late 19th century.

Slope to the top of Sazaedo
Slope to the top
Photo by Railstation.net

Down slope of Sazaedo
Down slope
Photo by Railstation.net

This temple was built in 1796.

The unique structure is similar to the double-spiral staircase in Château de Chambord located in Loire Valley in France.
It is said that the staircase was designed by Leonardo da Vinci.

Therefore, some say that a designer of this temple found the structure in a foreign book introducing the staircase by da Vinci.

How to get here

By sightseeing route bus "Akabee", about 5 minutes from Aizu-Wakamatsu station.

Hotels in Aizu-Wakamatsu city

Hotels in Aizu-Wakamatsu

Other Tourist Attractions in Aizu-Wakamatsu city

Tsurugajo castle Oyakuen Aizu Samurai Residence Higashiyama hot spring resort Nisshinkan school

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