community-forum community-penpal community-userReports destinations-admission destinations-beenThere-solid destinations-bookmark-solid destinations-city_outline destinations-city_solid destinations-closedDays destinations-date destinations-getThere destinations-hotels destinations-hoursFees destinations-itineraries-3 destinations-nearbySpots destinations-pin-simple-outline destinations-pin-simple destinations-sortBy-dots destinations-tours destinations-town interests-agriculture interests-amusementParks interests-beaches interests-castles interests-city_solid interests-contemporaryArt interests-events interests-festivals interests-flowers interests-foodDrink interests-gardens interests-hiking interests-historicSites interests-industry interests-koyo-single interests-koyo interests-mangaAnime interests-museums interests-nature interests-onsen interests-parks interests-pottery interests-sakura-single interests-sakura interests-scenicRides interests-shopping interests-shrines interests-skiing interests-snow interests-sumo interests-temples interests-traditionalArts interests-traditionalTheater interests-viewpoints interests-volcanoes interests-wildlife interests-winterIlluminations news-section planning-tickets-2 planning-transportation-access planning-transportation-bicycle planning-transportation-boat planning-transportation-bus planning-transportation-car planning-transportation-plane planning-transportation-shinkansen planning-transportation-tickets planning-transportation-train planning-transportation-walk shapes-chevron-down shapes-circle shapes-star social-fb social-gplus social-instagram social-twitter social-youtube ui-alert-construction ui-alert-warning ui-calendar ui-confirmed-outline ui-confirmed-solid ui-date ui-globe ui-lightbulb ui-no_entry ui-ok ui-pencil ui-reverse ui-search ui-time ui-video-play ui-x user-avatar
View from Iimoriyama over Aizu and Tsuruga Castle

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.

Tombs of the Byakkotai soldiers
Statue of a Byakkotai soldier

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.

Sazaedo Pagoda

Access

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 & Fees

Byakkotai Memorial Hall

Hours

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

Closed

No closing days

Admission

400 yen

Byakkotai Folklore and Historical Museum

Hours

8:00 to 17:00 (April to November)
8:30 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
Page last updated: February 27, 2015