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After the fall of the shogunate in 1867, forces still loyal to the shogun were concentrated in the northern Tohoku region. They attempted to resist the new government, but suffered a decisive defeat at Tsuruga Castle in 1868. Looking out from Iimoriyama Hill, a group of young Aizu soldiers in a unit called the Byakkotai (White Tiger Corps) saw their castle engulfed in flames and committed seppuku.

The twenty boys, aged 14 to 16, had made a grave error. The castle had not actually been taken; the flames they had seen were from outside the castle walls. Nevertheless, the story of their loyalty and devotion has become well known, and numerous movie and manga adaptations have been made of their tale.

Iimoriyama (ѐR), the site of the boys' suicide, has become a popular tourist attraction. Among the souvenir shops around the base of the hill are two museums devoted to the Byakkotai. The Byakkotai Memorial Hall is the larger and is located beside the main path up the hill. The second, the Byakkotai Folklore and Historical Museum, is much smaller and can be found a bit off the main path.

Further up the mountain, accessible by stairs or a paid escalator (250 yen), are several monuments including the 19 tombs for the Byakkotai soldiers. Though there were 20 of them on the hill, one of the boys was not successful in his suicide attempt. At a point on the hill that looks onto Tsuruga Castle is a statue of a Byakkotai soldier peering off into the distance.

There are also two monuments which visitors may find surprising. From Japan's fascist allies during the war, there is a column from Italy and a plaque from Germany. The column has a statue of an eagle on its top and was taken from Pompeii, while the plaque was given by a diplomat in 1935.

Down the northern side of the hill are a few other buildings of interest, such as a shrine and the unique Sazaedo Pagoda. The pagoda is particularly interesting because visitors can enter inside, and a ramp spirals up to the top of the pagoda and back down again.

Getting there and around

The Aizu Loop Bus stops at "Iimoriyama-shita" bus stop at the foot of the mountain. The ride from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station takes 5 minutes in the clockwise direction or 45 minutes in the counter-clockwise direction.

How to get to and around Aizu

Hours and Fees

Byakkotai Memorial Hall

Hours

8:00 to 17:00 (April to October)
9:00 to 16:00 (November to March)

Closed

Tuesdays

Admission

400 yen

Byakkotai Folklore and Historical Museum

Hours

8:30 to 17:00 (April to November)
9:00 to 16:30 (December to March)

Closed

No closing days

Admission

300 yen

Sazaedo Pagoda

Hours

8:15 to Sunset (April to December)
9:00 to 16:00 (January to March)

Closed

No closing days

Admission

400 yen

Hotels around Aizu

Top rated in Aizu
Budget:
    • Tagoto
      Mid-range
      Tagoto features a hot public bath, Japanese-style and Western rooms and Japanese cuisine, a 5-minute drive from Aizu Wakamatsu Station. It offers free Wi-Fi throughout the property, and a free shuttle service is available to/from the station. Free parking is on-site. Japanese-style rooms have a tatami (woven-straw) floor and traditional futon bedding, while Western rooms come with beds and an en suite bathroom. All rooms are air-conditioned and fitted with an LCD TV and a fridge. The restaurant offers local specialities, including the regionfs signature meppameshi rice dish and an Aizu Kaiseki multi-course dinner. Tagoto is a 7-minute drive from Tsuruga Castle and a 10-minute drive from Mount Iimori. The Noguchi Hideyo Memorial Museum is a 30-minute drive.
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    • Kutsurogijyuku Chiyotaki
      Mid-range
      Boasting hot spring baths with mountain views, Kutsurogijyuku Chiyotaki is a 15-minute bus ride from JR Aizuwakamatsu Station. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant and unwind in a private hot spring bath with views that was open in July 2017. Free WiFi is available in all rooms. All guest rooms have a flat-screen TV and an electric kettle. Slippers and a hairdryer are provided for guest's comfort. An on-site restaurant offers Japanese local cuisine and sake. There is a Japanese sake bar available on site from the evenings. You will find a shared lounge fitted with various books and complimentary tee and coffee. Guests can unwind in an open-air hot spring baths with mountain views on the top floor, and they can enjoy free access to hot spring baths at the sister property in the vicinity. Aizu Higashiyama Onsen is 100 metres from Kutsurogijyuku Chiyotaki, while Mount Iimori is 2.8 km from the property.
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    • Shosuke-no-Yado Takinoyu
      Luxury
      Featuring a restaurant, free bikes, garden and free WiFi, Shosuke-no-Yado Takinoyu is set in Aizuwakamatsu, 3.5 km from Mount Iimori and 3.4 km from Aizuwakamatsu Castle. Boasting family rooms, this property also provides guests with a children's playground. The property features a hot spring bath, evening entertainment and a 24-hour front desk. The units at the ryokan come with a seating area. At Shosuke-no-Yado Takinoyu every room includes a desk, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. The accommodation offers a buffet or Asian breakfast. Yasgoshima Onsen Sato no Yu is 32 km from Shosuke-no-Yado Takinoyu, while Aizu Higashiyama Onsen is 300 metres away. The nearest airport is Fukushima Airport, 50 km from the ryokan.
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    • Marumine
      Luxury
      Located in Ashinomaki Onsen, Marumine provides air-conditioned rooms with private open-air hot spring bath. The property is situated 16 km from central Aizuwakamatsu and Aizuwakamatsu Castle is 14 km from Marumine. Ouchijuku, featuring traditional buildings is 14 km from the property. The ryokan features a public hot spring bath, open-air hot spring bath and sauna. Free shuttle service to Ashinomaki Station is available. Luggage storage is available for guest's convenience. The rooms in the ryokan are fitted with a flat-screen TV. Marumine offers certain units that feature a balcony, and every room comes with an electric kettle. All units will provide guests with a fridge. Certain rooms feature Simmons mattresses. A traditional kaiseki (multi-course) dinner is served at the dining area. A buffet breakfast or Japanese-style breakfast is served each morning at the property.
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    • Onyado Toho
      Luxury
      Set in Aizuwakamatsu, 500 metres from Aizu Higashiyama Onsen, Onyado Toho features free WiFi access and free private parking. Free shuttle service is available from Aizuwakamatsu Station to the hotel on a first-come, first-served basis. You will find a kettle in the room. All rooms are equipped with a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find slippers, free toiletries and a hairdryer. You will find shops at the property. Mount Iimori is 2.4 km from Onyado Toho, while Aizuwakamatsu Castle is 2.6 km away.
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    • Hotel New Palace
      Mid-range
      Situated in Aizuwakamatsu, 3.7 km from Mount Iimori, Hotel New Palace offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. Popular points of interest around the property include Aizuwakamatsu Castle. Aizu Higashiyama Onsen is 5 km away. All guest rooms in the japanese-style business hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Rooms have a private bathroom with free toiletries and a hair dryer. All units will provide guests with a fridge. Hotel New Palace can conveniently provide information at the reception to help guests to get around the area. The nearest airport is Niigata Airport, 115 km from the accommodation.
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    • Aizuwakamatsu Washington Hotel
      Mid-range
      A 5-minute walk from JR Aizuwakamatsu Train Station, Aizuwakamatsu Washington Hotel offers accommodations with free Wi-Fi. Massages can be requested for an extra cost and guests can enjoy refreshments at the hotelfs cafe. The air-conditioned rooms feature a flat-screen satellite TV, a fridge and an electric kettle with green tea bags. Japanese Yukata robes and toothbrush sets are provided for all guests. The en suite bathroom comes with a hairdryer. Luggage storage is provided at the front desk. Free parking is available and photocopying services are provided for an extra cost. Washington Hotel Aizuwakamatsu is a 10-minute drive from Tsuruga Castle and a 5-minute drive from Sazaedo Shrine. The foot of Mount Iimori is a 25-minute walk away.
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    • Hotel Route-Inn Aizuwakamatsu
      Mid-range
      Only a 5-minute drive from JR Aizuwakamatsu Train Station, Hotel Route-Inn Aizuwakamatsu features simple modern accommodations and a free-breakfast for all guests. Free wired internet is available in all rooms and you can refresh in the spacious public baths. Contemporary rooms are furnished with amenities from a flat-screen TV and a fridge, to nightwear and toiletries. An air humidifier and an extra pillow are available on request. Laptops can be rented at the front desk and a coin-operated launderette is on-site. Guests can relax in the massage chairs and use the free-use computers. The free breakfast buffet is available from 06:45-09:00 at the dining area. Hana-Hana-Tei serves Japanese favourites and sake from 18:00-22:00 (last order at 21:30, closed Sundays). Aizuwakamatsu Route-Inn Hotel is a 10-minute drive from Tsururga Castle and a 30-minute drive from Lake Inawashiro. Sazaedo is a 5-minute drive away.
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    • Niko Ryokan
      Budget-friendly
      Well located in the Higashiyama Onsen district of Aizuwakamatsu, Niko Ryokan is located 3.8 km from Mount Iimori, 3.7 km from Aizuwakamatsu Castle and 41 km from Yasgoshima Onsen Sato no Yu. With a shared lounge, the 2-star ryokan has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. At the ryokan each room has a desk and a TV. An Asian breakfast is available daily at Niko Ryokan. The accommodation offers 2-star accommodation with a hot spring bath. Niko Ryokan can conveniently provide information at the reception to help guests to get around the area. Aizu Higashiyama Onsen is 90 metres from the ryokan. The nearest airport is Fukushima Airport, 50 km from Niko Ryokan.
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    • Higashiyama Park Hotel Shinfugetsu
      Mid-range
      Situated in Aizuwakamatsu, within 3.5 km of Mount Iimori and 3.5 km of Aizuwakamatsu Castle, Higashiyama Park Hotel Shinfugetsu features accommodation with a shared lounge and free WiFi as well as free private parking for guests who drive. This 3-star ryokan offers luggage storage space. The property has a hot spring bath, karaoke and a 24-hour front desk. At the ryokan rooms have air conditioning and a TV. Guests at Higashiyama Park Hotel Shinfugetsu can enjoy a buffet breakfast. The accommodation offers 3-star accommodation with a sauna. You can play table tennis at Higashiyama Park Hotel Shinfugetsu. Yasgoshima Onsen Sato no Yu is 32 km from the ryokan, while Aizu Higashiyama Onsen is 200 metres from the property. The nearest airport is Fukushima Airport, 50 km from Higashiyama Park Hotel Shinfugetsu.
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