Mount Iimoriyama, Aizuwakamatsu

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AIZUWAKAMATSU | Mount Iimoriyama is located at the eastern end of Aizuwakamatsu, and is most famous for being the location of the mass suicide (seppuku) in 1868 of a Byakkotai unit of 20 teenagers. The reason for the suicide was that Tsuruga Castle was being attacked by Meiji government forces (the samurai were battling the new government during the Boshin War) and saw the castle engulfed in flames. Thinking that the castle had fallen, the Byakkotai committed suicide to retain their honour.

On the top of Mount Iimoriyama is a small shrine dedicated to the Byakkotai. Also here are the 19 tombs for the Byakkotai soldiers (one of the soliders, Iinuma Sadakichi, was not successful in his suicide attempt). Also here, are two monuments given to Japan by its fascist allies during World War II. A plaque from Pompeii, gifted by Benito Mussolini, and a German language memorial plaque, given by Hasso von Etzdorf, a German diplomat.

Those interested in learning more about the Byakkotai will find two museums at the base of Mount Iimoriyama, and should be sure to visit Aizu Hanko Nisshin-kan, the former Byakkotai school located just outside of Aizuwakamatsu.

Close by on the hill is the Sazaedo (officially “Old Shoshuji Entsu Sansodo”), a Pagoda notable for its double helix staircase, which means that people going up the pagodo never cross paths with those coming down. It was completed in 1796, and is one of the few remaining pagodas of its type in Japan. Sazaedo is only 16 meters tall, and those who reach the top are considered to have completed the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage to 33 Buddhist temples.

Mount Iimoriyama

Takizawa-155
Ikkimachi Ōaza Yahata
Aizuwakamatsu
Fukushima Prefecture 965-0003
Japan

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