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The land of Aizu was ruled by a succession of historically famous warlords during the Sengoku (Warring States) period. Aizu was also where the last battles were fought between Tokugawa forces and the new Meiji Government forces in the Boshin War, which occurred at the end of the Edo period. The tragic story of the Byakkotai, a unit of Aizu samurai youths who committed ritual suicide when they saw their castle burning, is known by all Japanese.

Tsuruga-jo (also known as Aizu Wakamatsu-jo), a white castle that stands tall at the near center of Aizu Wakamatsu, serves as the city’s main tourist landmark. To the east and northeast of the castle are many sites of interest, including Iimoriyama, the Aizu Clan leaders’ gravesite, and Oyakuen. The city’s main commercial district lies to the northwest of the castle. There you can see traces of the city’s bygone eras when trade and commerce flourished. There are also various places to dine and shop for souvenirs.

  Oyakuen
 Oyakuen is located to the east of Tsuruga-jo castle, 15 minutes away on foot. Its name, which means “herb garden,” derives from the fact that medicinal herbs used to be grown there in the olden days. Oyakuen was designated a National Scenic Site in 1932 for being a prime example of a landscaped garden typically maintained by a daimyo lord in feudal Japan. At the center of the garden and overlooking a pond is a tea house, where you can have a cup of tea while enjoying the beautiful view.
Hour: 8:30〜17:00
Close: -
Admission:Adult310yen
TEL: 0242-27-2472
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  Aizu Samurai Residences

The residential complex of a top-ranking Aizu retainer in the Edo period is featured at this museum park. There is also a bailiff’s office that has been designated an Important Cultural Asset of Fukushima Prefecture, as well as a tea house, a rice mill, and other buildings of historical interest arranged on the grounds.

There is a shop carrying traditional Aizu craftwork and souvenir items in the building, as well as a restaurant serving local cuisine.

 

Hour: 8:30〜17:00
Close: -
Admission:Adult850yen
TEL: 0242-28-2525
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(Japanese)
  Gravesite of the Aizu Clan Leaders  

The gravesite lies on a hillside located near the entrance to Higashiyama Onsen resort. It contains the tombs of Aizu Matsudaira daimyo lords who ruled Aizu in the Edo period. The site is the largest and most impressive of daimyo burying grounds in all of Japan. The most spectacular sight is a row of gigantic stone slabs standing on enormous turtle-shaped bases. The names and achievements of individual lords are carved on the stone surfaces. The cemetery has recently become a popular destination as a mystic power spot.

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  Iimoriyama
Iimoriyama is a tall hill to the northeast of Aizu Wakamatsu’s central area. The hill was where the Byakkotai retreated to after losing the battle of Tonoguchi-hara in the Boshin War. Mistakenly thinking that Tsuruga-jo, their castle, was being destroyed in flames, 20 teenage members committed ritual suicide (with one failed attempt) at this place. Their graves are located midway down the hill and are visited by many people still today.
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