Mt. Iimoriyama

Mt. Iimoriyama

Located less than 4km from Tsurugajo Castle in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima, Mt. Iimoriyama has had a difficult and somewhat dark past. But despite it’s history, the natural beauty of the place remains untarnished. There are many local food stalls set up near the base of the hill, so it’s a good idea to have a snack before you begin the ascent up the stone steps. Also at the bottom is the Byakkotai Memorial Hall; it’s located next to the path up the mountain so it’s easy to find. Inside, guests can observe various artifacts of war and learn about some of Aizu's history.

Visitors have two choices to get to the top of the hill: hike up the 183 steps to the summit for free; or pay 250 yen to ride the escalator up (150 yen for children). At the summit stand the nineteen graves of the Byakkotai, White Tiger Corps. The story of these young teenage samurai-in-the-making is legendary in Aizu-Wakamatsu City, and all around this prefecture. The Byakkotai boys were part of the defence against the military forces sweeping through the country during the 1868 civil war. They remained loyal to the leader of their domain and Shogun.

On an autumn day during the one-month-long siege on their city, the boys had retreated to Mt. Iimoriyama. From the top of this hill, they caught sight of what they assumed to be Tsurugajo Castle set on fire - a sure sign that the war was lost. In response, they did what they had been taught was the honourable course of action, and took their own lives. In fact, the castle had not been set on fire, and the war was not yet lost. One boy was unsuccessful in his attempt, and was saved by a local woman traversing the hills. His life was saved and his story has become the history we know today. Visitors to Mt. Iimoriyama can stand in the same spot as the boys looking out over the city, or pay respects at the various memorials.

The gravesite at the top of Mt. Iimoriyama was built in remembrance of those nineteen boys. Their story resonated with the leaders of the Axis Powers of World War II; near the gravesite are two historic landmarks donated by Nazi Germany and Italy. Down the northern side of the mountain are Uga-shindo, a shrine built in the late seventeenth century which deified a white snake as a god of abundance and fertility. There is also a lovely temple shaped like a turban shell, Sazaedo Temple, that visitors can actually go inside.

Venue Details

Venue Details
Websitehttp://samurai-city.jp/en/sightseeing/1079
Contact

Aizu-Wakamatsu City Tourism Bureau

(+81) 242-23-8000

Best SeasonAll Year
ParkingAvailable
Entrance FeeFree
Access Details
AccessBentenshita 7, Yahata, Ikki-machi, Aizu-Wakamatsu City, Fukushima Pref. 965-0003
View directions
Getting there

By Car: 15 min drive from the Aizuwakamatsu I.C. exit (Ban-etsu Expressway)

By Bus: 5 min on foot from the Haikara-san / Akabe Loop Bus "Iimoriyama-shita" Bus Stop 

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Nearby

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Enzoji Temple

A symbolic temple of Aizu, Enzoji was built about 1,300 years ago in 807. Fukuman Kokuzo Enzoji Temple (Enzoji Temple for short) was built by Tokuichi Daishi, a noted priest from the Aizu region. The main hall of the temple rises high above a huge crag. From here, the Tadami River can be viewed flowing magnificently through the town. You can also see the various views of each season, with cherry blossoms in spring, mist over the river in summer, red maples in autumn, and snow in winter. The temple has many highlights, such as a treasure house and monuments in memory of poets, inscribed with their poems and haiku. The temple is dedicated to Fukuman Kokuzo Bosatsu (the Bodhisattva of wisdom). There are many legends associated with the temple. For example, one legend tells of how when Kobo Daishi threw wood shavings from the statue of Kokuzo Bosatsu into the Tadami River, they immediately turned into countless Japanese dace fish. Another story is about how a red cow helped with the difficult construction of the temple - a story which led to the widespread acceptance of the "akabeko" red cow as an important symbol of Fukushima. One more story is that of Nanokado Hadaka Mairi ("Naked Man Festival" at Nanukado Temple). The legends are many and varied.

The World Glassware Hall
Nature & Scenery

Natural Sparkling Water in Kaneyama Town

Kaneyama Town is a scenic, rural town surrounded by woods. One of the most famous things about Kaneyama Town is its well of naturally carbonated water. Such water is rarely found in Japan. Small bubbles are infused into the water, giving it a gentle and smooth taste. Locals and visitors take empty bottles to the well to fill and take back home. There is a pot at the well that can be used to collect water from the base of the well. Pulling up water from the bottom with a rope definitely makes for a fun and unique experience! Why don’t you try this natural sparkling water while enjoying the beautiful scenery in Kaneyama?

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Hot Springs

Ashinomaki Onsen

This hot spring resort town is well-known for its beautiful vallies, and the high quality of the abundant hot water that gushes from the town's natural hot springs. Ashinomaki Onsen is a convenient place to stay overnight for those visiting sightseeing spots such as Ouchi-juku, To-no-hetsuri, and Aizu-Wakamatsu City, as the town is located in between these key places. After enjoying a full day of sightseeing in Aizu, visitors can relax and lose track of time while bathing in a hot spring bath at a resort hotel or quaint ryokan.

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Tsurugajo Castle allows visitors the opportunity to experience history, nature, and tradition with all five senses. Despite being mostly reconstructed, the surrounding park's stone walls remain in their original state. In 2010, for the first time since it was refurbished in 1965, the castle underwent a cosmetic restoration. Following completion in 2011, the same red-tile roofs seen by the Byakkotai (during the Boshin War and finals days of the Tokugawa shogunate) are now displayed for all to see. This castle is one of the final strongholds of samurai that remained loyal to the shogunate and today stands as a symbol of courage and faithfulness. Within the castle tower's museum, the swords and armor of the castle’s successive lords are on display. Visitors can watch a CG-enhanced theatrical video reflecting on the great history of Aizu. In addition to the historical atmosphere surrounding Tsurugajo, visitors can sense the changes that have occurred throughout history, thanks to the engaging and informative museum within the castle walls. It’s fun to gaze across Aizu from the fifth floor, like a feudal lord admiring his domain—the viewing platform up here provides panoramic views taking in Mt. Bandai and Mt. Iimoriyama. The castle is also a must-see in the springtime when approximately 1,000 cherry trees offer a magnificent display within the castle's grounds. When you’re in the mood for a rest, visit the Rinkaku Tea Rooms for some freshly-prepared matcha green tea. This tea house on the grounds of Tsurugajo was vital in the spread of this traditional art—and had it been destroyed during the Meiji Restoration, tea ceremony as it is known in Japan might have vanished. Tsurugajo Castle is truly a place where the modern visitor can slip into the past and become immersed in history.

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