In Aizu-Wakamatsu, it is called Tsuruga-jo Castle. Outside the city, many call it Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle. The official name is Wakamatsu Castle. Lord Gamo Ujisato (from Shiga Prefecture) in 1593 built most of the castle and renamed it Tsurugajo. The castle tower was reconstructed in 1965 and serves as a castle history museum. In 2001, the Hoshii Yagura turret and the Minami Hashiri Nagaya corridor were also reconstructed.
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In 1868, a unit of teenage warriors called Byakkotai (White Tiger Battalion) fought against the Emperor-backed Imperial forces encroaching their domain of Aizu. The Byakkotai were outnumbered and forced to retreat. Twenty of them escaped to Iimoriyama Hill where they saw what looked liked a burning Tsurugajo Castle which actually had not fallen yet. In despair, the boys decided to kill themselves rather than die in the hands of the enemy. Their tombstones are on this hill near where they killed themselves. Their story has become legend.
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Native of Hino, Shiga Prefecture, Lord Gamo (Gamoh) Ujisato (1556-1595) is best known for building Aizu-Wakamatsu (Tsurugajo) Castle and founding Aizu-Wakamatsu. He suddenly died at age 40. One theory says that he was poisoned by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
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Hanamiyama Park is literally a Flower-Viewing Mountain Park famous for spring flowers especially cherry blossoms sprinkled on the mountainsides. A short bus ride from JR Fukushima Station. It started in 1935 when local flower growers began planting flowers all over the place. In April 1959, it became Hanamiyama Park.
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Held on the first Fri. and Sat. of Aug., the Fukushima Waraji Matsuri is mainly an evening parade of dancers. During Aug. 7-8, 2009, the 40th Fukushima Waraji Festival was held. I saw it on the second day. Waraji are straw sandals. Also see my YouTube video here.
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A huge, Hawaiian-themed water park and hot spring facility. Great place for families to play in large and small pools and hot springs. A Polynesian show with the famous hula girls is held twice a day. Restaurants, gift shops, rest areas, and outdoor hot spring baths make this a major attraction in Tohoku. The movie, "Hula Girl" in 2006 made it famous.
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The Miharu Takizakura (Waterfall cherry blossoms) cherry tree is one of Japan's most famous and grandest weeping cherry tree. It is over 1,000 years old and the mother of thousands of weeping cherry trees in Japan and even overseas. While in bloom, it is lit up in the evening. Accessible from JR Miharu Station on the Ban'etsu-to Line from Koriyama Station. A National Natural Monument.
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Nihonmatsu Castle, also popularly called Kasumigajo Castle, is in Kasumigajo Park on a low hill amid the flat plains of central Nihonmatsu. It is one of Japan's 100 Famous Castles as well as one of Japan's 100 Famous Cherry Blossom Sites. During the Edo Period, Nihonmatsu Castle was the residence of the Niwa clan who ruled Nihonmatsu. Although it lacks a central tower or donjon, Nihonmatsu Castle features impressive stone walls and gate (reconstructed), not to mention many cherry tees and pine trees.
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Besides Nihonmatsu Castle, Nihonmatsu has other sights like poet Takamura Chieko's birth home, Dairinji temple noted for the graves of the Nihonmatsu Shōnentai (二本松少年隊) or the Nihonmatsu Teenage Corps, Nihonmatsu Shrine, and the Nihonmatsu History Museum.
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