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Belly dancer at Fukushima Waraji Matsuri.1666 views
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Belly dancer at Fukushima Waraji Matsuri.1176 views
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Belly dancer at Fukushima Waraji Matsuri.1147 views
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My YouTube video featuring Diverse dance troupes on the streets of Fukushima in the evening at the annual Fukushima Waraji Matsuri. This is the evening parade (Dancing Soda Night) on Aug. 8, 2009.551 views
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JR Miharu Station on the Ban'etsu-to Line, two stops from JR Koriyama Station on the Tohoku shinkansen line.468 views
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My YouTube video featuring hula dancers in waraji straw sandals, hip-hop, belly dancers, and more during the 1st Waraji Day Dance Contest on Ekimae-dori near Fukushima Station on Aug. 8, 2009 at 12:30 pm. Also, giant waraji races.442 views
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Main entrance to Spa Resort Hawaiians, a huge water park and onsen hot spring amusement facility built in 1966. I visited for the first time shortly after they reopened on Feb. 8, 2012.425 views
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Bishamon-numa Pond, Fukushima Pref. Bandai-Asahi National Park 毘沙門沼381 views
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Colorful koi carp fish in Bishamon-numa Pond, Fukushima Pref. 毘沙門沼339 viewsBandai-Asahi National Park
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Benten-numa Pond, maximum depth 6 meters. 弁天沼333 viewsBandai-Asahi National Park
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Aizu-Wakamatsu (Tsuruga-jo) Castle, Fukushima Pref. The reconstructed castle tower (ferro-concrete) is based on the 5-story castle tower Kato Akinari built in 1639. "Wakamatsu" was named after a place in Hino, Shiga by Ujisato.298 views
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Monument from Rome, Italy, given in 1928 by Mussolini. The column is from the ruins of a palace in Pompeii.298 views
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View from Spa Resort Hawaiians.279 views
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Nihonmatsu Castle, also popularly called Kasumigajo Castle, is on a low hill amid the flat plains of central Nihonmatsu, Fukushima. It is one of Japan's 100 Famous Castles as well as one of Japan's 100 Famous Cherry Blossom Sites.272 views
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Stone marker for Tsurugajo Castle. Although the castle's official name is Wakamatsu Castle, it is popularly called Tsuruga-jo Castle within the city of Aizu-Wakamatsu. Outside Fukushima though, it is popularly called Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle.245 views
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Wakamatsu Castle, Fukushima. Totally modern on the inside (renovated in 2004), the castle tower is a history museum. It displays swords and portraits of the Byakkotai Battalion of teenagers who valiantly butneedlessly committed suicide on Iimoriyama Hill.239 views
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This is Maluhia Yukari, the leader of the hula girls. She was a pivotal in taking the lead following the 3/11 disasters and promoting Spa Resort Hawaiians on tour. She retired in June 2012. マルヒア由佳理231 views
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Byakkotai souvenirs230 views
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Sannomaru keep. 三の丸跡227 views
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Monument from a German, Hasso von Etzdorf (1900 - 1989).219 views
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Aonuma Pond 青沼213 views
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Monument message in Italian. After WWII, the US Occupation authorities wanted this monument removed. But all they did was remove the engraved message (later restored).196 views
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Entrance to Iimoriyama Hill, site of the Byakkotai "White Tiger" Battalion gravesite. In 1868, a unit of teenage warriors called Byakkotai (White Tiger Battalion) fought against the Emperor-backed Imperial forces encroaching their domain of Aizu195 views
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Family crests of all the warrior clans who occupied Wakamatsu Castle.194 views
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Back on the hilltop ridge. That's the Takizakura on the lower left.194 views
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The huge water park at Spa Resort Hawaiians. All the water is from a hot spring. The pool water is lukewarm.189 views
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The whole water park is heated to tropical temperatures even when it is freezing outside.188 views
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Fukushima Waraji Matsuri186 views
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JR Fukushima Station on the west side (Nishi-guchi).186 views
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The water slides cost extra money. 200 yen per slide.186 views
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Cherry blossom petals fall in the wind.186 views
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San-no-Maru entrance to Tsurugajo Castle 三の丸185 views
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About the Poetry monument for Takamura Chieko. 高村 智恵子183 views
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Poetry monument for poet Takamura Chieko (1886-1938). 高村 智恵子182 views
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Many of the dancers wore waraji-related things.181 views
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In 1591, Lord Gamo Ujisato (from Hino, Shiga) built a 7-story castle tower and renamed it Tsuruga-jo Castle. "Tsuru" means crane. A major earthquake in 1611 damaged the tower, so Lord Kato Akinari rebuilt the castle tower with 5 stories in 1639.177 views
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About the monument from Rome.177 views
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Rokabashi Bridge 廊下橋174 views
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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.172 views
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Marker and side road to Lord Gamo (Gamoh) Ujisato's gravesite. Near Aizu-Wakamatsu City Hall. Gamo Ujisato (1556-1595) was a feudal lord from Hino, Shiga Pref. He built Tsurugajo Castle and named the town Wakamatsu, after a place in his hometown.171 views
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The steps lead to Minowa Gate. 箕輪門169 views
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During April when the spring flowers are in bloom, a convenient shuttle bus runs from JR Fukushima Station to Hanamiyama Park. A short bus ride.169 views
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Great dancers and great show!168 views
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Aizu-Wakamatsu manhole167 views
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JR Nihonmatsu Station164 views
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Fukushima Waraji Matsuri163 views
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Graves of the 19 teenage Byakkotai warriors who killed themselves with their own swords.157 views
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Miharu Takizakura weeping cherry tree in Miharu, Fukushima Prefecture. Over 1,000 years old.157 views
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Tsuruga-jo Castle as seen from the rear.156 views
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Painting depicting Byakkotai suicide on Iimoriyama Hill156 views
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Miharu Takizakura weeping cherry tree in Miharu, Fukushima Prefecture.155 views
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This girl's homemade happi coat says "Waraji Matsuri."154 views
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Panorama of Nihonmatsu Castle's Honmaru.154 views
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My video of Spa Resort Hawaiians. Visit Fukushima, visit Spa Resort Hawaiians!153 views
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Fukushima Hanamiyama Park 153 views
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Byakkotai gravestones. Each one shows the name, age, and method of death called "jijin" (died with one's own sword 自刃).152 views
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Castle map. I recommend entering through the Kitaguchi entrance and exiting from the San-no-maru entrance or vice versa. Both entrances has a High-color bus stop nearby. The castle is too far to walk from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station, so take a bus.151 views
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One wing of Hotel Hawaiians was still undergoing repairs to cracks.151 views
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Miharu Takizakura weeping cherry tree in Miharu, Fukushima Prefecture. Over 1,000 years old.151 views
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Nihonmatsu Castle's Minowa Gate was reconstructed in Aug. 1982 at a cost of 200 million yen. 箕輪門151 views
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Another monument150 views
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Sazaedo150 views
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Nihonmatsu Castle's old stone wall originally built by Gamo Ujisato.150 views
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Escalator to go up Iimoriyama Hill. Their tombstones are on this hill near where they killed themselves. Their story has become legend.149 views
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Fukushima Hanamiyama Park spring flowers 149 views
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Marvelous views of cherry blossoms from Nihonmatsu Castle's Honmaru.148 views
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Nanohana rape blossoms. In the distance are gift shops.148 views
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Portrait of Lord Gamo Ujisato146 views
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Byakkotai Gravesite. It is on a flat area which also has several other Byakkotai monuments including those from other countries.146 views
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Fukushima manhole. I think it's waraji straw sandals.146 views
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Weeping cherry tree and Nihonmatsu Castle's Minowa Gate.146 views
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Otemon Gate to Kitade-maru 大手門. The castle was first built by Ashina Naomori in 1384 when he built a structure called Higashi Kurokawa Yakata.145 views
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From JR Yumoto Station, free shuttle buses run to Spa Resort Hawaiians.145 views
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Most next to Otemon Gate143 views
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Shortly after Joban Hawaiian Center opened in 1966, famous singer Aunty Genoa Keawe from Hawaii performed here.143 views
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Hanamiyama Park, Fukushima city.143 views
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Byakkotai statue outside the Byakkotai Memorial Museum142 views
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Otemon Gate stonework. The castle was occupied by a number of clans. But it was Gamo Ujisato, originally from Hino, Shiga Prefecture, who made the castle great and established the castle town of Aizu-Wakamatsu.141 views
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Approach to the Byakkotai gravesite.141 views
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Otemon Gate stonework with stairs, one unique feature of the castle. The castle was attacked by Imperial forces during the Boshin War in 1868. The castle was dismantled in 1874.140 views
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Slope where they committed seppuku (hara-kiri). 自刃の地139 views
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Ujisato was married to Oda Nobunaga's second daughter Fuyuhime. He died at age 40. One theory says that he was poisoned by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Entrance to Lord Gamo Ujisato's gravesite within Kotokuji temple in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima..138 views
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Wakamatsu Castle as seen from the rear.137 views
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Fukushima Hanamiyama Park spring flowers 137 views
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Kotokuji temple136 views
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Miharu Takizakura weeping cherry tree in Miharu, Fukushima Prefecture. Over 1,000 years old.136 views
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Sample rock foundation unearthed from the Niwa clan's residence.136 views
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Photo gallery136 views
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In despair, the boys decided to kill themselves rather than die in the hands of the enemy. Photo: Escalator to go up Iimoriyama Hill.135 views
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Fukushima Hanamiyama Park spring flowers 135 views
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Foilage on the slopes of Honmaru134 views
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On the left of the gravestones, there is a monument for a poem composed by Lord Matsudaira Katamori, the last Aizu lord and whom the Byakkotai died for. 幾人の 涙は石にそそぐとも その名は世々に 朽じとぞ思う134 views幾人の 涙は石にそそぐとも その名は世々に 朽じとぞ思う
Ikutari no namida wa ishi ni sosogu tomo sono na wa yoyo ni kuji to zo omou
"No matter how many people pour their tears on these stones, these names will never fade from the world."
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Grave of Iinuma Sadakichi (Sadao) (1854-1931). His grave was built here in 1957 for the 90th anniversary of the Byakkotai's demise. 飯沼貞吉134 views
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Miharu Takizakura weeping cherry tree in Miharu, Fukushima Prefecture. 134 views
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Honmaru Uzumimon Gate and tenshukaku castle tower.133 views
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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. Photo: Pay a small fee to take the escalator up the hill. Or climb up the steps for free.133 views
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On the right side are more gravestones. These are 31 Byakkotai members who died in battle. 戦死133 views
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Castle tower as seen from Honmaru Uzumimon Gate. In the lower right is the ticket office to enter the castle tower. Castle tower admission is 400 yen for adults. Or pay 500 yen to include the ticket to see the Rinkaku Tea House. Open 8:30 am to 5 pm.132 views
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Entrance doors to Lord Gamo Ujisato's gravesite within Kotokuji temple which is a Zen temple of the Rinzai Sect.132 views
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Lord Gamo Ujisato's grave. This is a secondary grave, where his hair is buried. His main grave is at a temple in Kyoto where he died at age 40.132 views
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Statue of a teenage samurai looking at Wakamatsu Castle.132 views
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Arrow points to Tsuruga-jo Castle.132 views
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Fukushima Hanamiyama Park spring flowers 132 views
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Taikomon Gate where there was a multi-story turret which had a taiko drum used to signal the coming of a lord or for emergencies. 太鼓門131 views
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Byakko Kannon statue131 views
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Inside the train going from JR Iwaki Station to Yumoto Station. Very nice and clean.131 views
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Statue of the Nihonmatsu Shōnentai (二本松少年隊) or the Nihonmatsu Teenage Corps at Nihonmatsu Castle, Fukushima.131 views
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Statue of the Nihonmatsu Shonentai Teenage Corps who fought and died in the Boshin War, in front of Nihonmatsu Station, Fukushima.131 views
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Nihonmatsu manhole, Fukushima Pref.131 views
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Miharu Takizakura weeping cherry tree in Miharu, Fukushima Prefecture.130 views
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Inside Rinkaku Tea Ceremony House129 views
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This has become a national shrine, almost as important as Sengakuji where the 47 masterless samurai are buried.129 views
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Site where they committed seppuku (hara-kiri). 自刃の地129 views
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Names of Byakkotai members, all 14 to 17 years old.128 views
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Sazaedo, a unique wooden, hexagonal structure which you will see when coming down from Iimoriyama.128 views
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Nihonmatsu manhole, Fukushima Pref.128 views
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Byakkotai statue at Aizu-Wakamatsu Station127 views
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Byakkotai Graves127 views
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Inside Hawaiian gift shop.127 views
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Free shuttle bus to Spa Resort Hawaiians departs in front of JR Yumoto Station.127 views
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Nihonmatsu Teenage Corps at Nihonmatsu Castle, Fukushima. They were age 12 to 17 who fought and died in the Boshin War.127 views
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Grounds of Lord Gamo Ujisato's gravesite within Kotokuji temple. Since Ujisato was a Christian lord, it is ironic that he be buried in a Buddhist temple in Kyoto and Aizu-Wakamatsu.126 views
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Byakkotai Graves126 views
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Nihonmatsu Castle's Sannomaru has these fantastic-looking pine trees and cherry trees.126 views
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Goshikinuma is a chain of five colorful volcanic ponds. Pleasant hiking trails lead to the ponds. Part of the Bandai-Asahi National Park. Bishamon-numa Pond is the largest of the five and it has rental rowboats. 毘沙門沼125 views
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The color of the water is stunningly beautiful.125 views
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A short walk away is the grave of Iinuma Sadakichi, the only Byakkotai survivor who had slit himself, but was rescued by a villager passing by when everyone else had killed themselves.125 views
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Sazaedo125 views
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The new Monolith Hotel opened on Feb. 8, 2012.125 views
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Layout of Spa Resort Hawaiians.125 views
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Ganbappe Fukushima! 125 views
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These stairs on the castle's stone walls are called Musha-bashiri. They enabled the warriors to run up to the turrets quickly during attacks. It is one distinguishing feature of the castle. 武者走り124 views
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Rinkaku Tea Ceremony House. Shoan, the son of tea master Sen Rikyu (who was ordered to committ seppuku by Hideyoshi), came here to practice tea in the late 16th century under the auspices of Lord Gamo Ujisato who himself was a tea expert. 茶室麟閣124 views
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Opened in 1956, the Byakkotai Memorial Museum has numerous artifacts related to the Byakkotai as well as the Shinsengumi. Photography inside is not allowed. Admission 400 yen.124 views
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Tourist map of Yumoto Spa.124 views
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Yumoto Spa manhole, Iwaki, Fukushima.123 views
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Nihonmatsu Castle's Sannomaru has these fantastic-looking pine trees and cherry trees.123 views
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Monument for teenage samurai who died in battle.122 views
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Inside the Hashiri Nagaya corridor is a gift shop. This is connected directly to the castle tower and also connects to the reconstructed Hoshii Turret.. 走長屋121 views
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About Iinuma Sadakichi (later changed his first name to Sadao)121 views
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Sazaedo121 views
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Awards ceremony. The festival ended at about 9:30 pm.121 views
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Kitade-maru 北出丸120 views
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Hawaiian gift shops.120 views
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Monument for the Nihonmatsu Shōnentai120 views
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Tombs of those Byakkotai who died in action.119 views
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Nature trail to other Goshikinuma ponds.118 views
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Inawashiro Station 猪苗代駅118 views
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Clear view of Mt. Shinobuyama 信夫山118 views
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Gift shop118 views
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Rokabashi Bridge 廊下橋117 views
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Aizu-Wakamatsu Station 会津若松駅116 views
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About Hanamiyama Park.116 views
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The 5th and top floor of castle tower has a nice lookout deck all.115 views
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Grave of Iinuma Sadakichi, the only Byakkotai warrior who survived and told the story of this valiant teenage group.115 views
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Monument on Kitade-maru 北出丸114 views
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Tsubakizaka Slope which is a bridge to the castle tower. 椿坂114 views
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Hand-painted candles114 views
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Their names, age, and "senshi" 戦死 (died in battle) are engraved on the stones.114 views
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Statue faces Tsuruga-jo Castle which can be seen in the distance.114 views
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Uga Shrine 宇賀神社114 views
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Byakkotai enshrined in Uga Shrine113 views
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Spa Garden Pareo has outdoor pools and a sauna. In winter, the air is freezing cold.113 views
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Eateries. This one is named Lau Lau, but no lau lau is served.113 views
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Foilage on Kitade-maru 北出丸112 views
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Benten-numa Pond. 弁天沼111 views
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Tsubakizaka Slope which is lined with cherry trees. 椿坂111 views
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A warrior dummy shows how stones can be dropped through the stone hole on the floor.111 views
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Rokabashi Bridge 廊下橋111 views
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After completing earthquake repairs, the water park re-opened on Feb. 8, 2012. Admission was half price.111 views
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Foilage and stone gate110 views
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On the west side is this Kurogane-mon Gate with steel doors. This is another way into the the main Honmaru grounds. During the Boshin War, the castle lord directed his troops from here. 鉄門110 views
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Also see my YouTube video here.110 views
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Also see my YouTube video here.110 views
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Spring Park, a lukewarm hot spring pool.110 views
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Inside castle tower. This scene depicts a storage room for salt. Unfortunately, photography is not permitted inside the castle tower's museum area.109 views
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Wading pool.109 views
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Right beyond the Taikomon Gate is a tourist info office, cafe, restrooms, and benches.108 views
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Castle tower as seen from Honmaru Uzumimon Gate108 views
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Tombs of those Byakkotai who died in action.108 views
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Besides the pools, there are real hot spring baths where you have to go in naked. Cameras not allowed though.108 views
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The gift shop also has a gallery of local crafts such as lacquerware.107 views
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Explanation of the kanji characters on the tombstone. From top to bottom, the characters are for "Sky, wind, fire, water, and earth."107 views
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A recent addition is this statue of a teenage samurai looking at Wakamatsu Castle.107 views
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The water slides cost extra money. 200 yen per slide or a day pass for 2,200 yen.107 views
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Wading pool.107 views
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Many cherry trees in front of the Monument for the Nihonmatsu Shōnentai.107 views
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Map of Hanamiyama Park. It's kind of hard to figure out.107 views
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Taikomon Gate stonework106 views
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Castle tower as seen from the west side full of cherry trees. Tsuruga-jo Castle Park is one of Japan's 100 Best Cherry Blossom Spots.106 views
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Wakamatsu Castle tower, called tenshukaku. In 1590, Gamo Ujisato became the castle lord and he built a 7-story castle tower completed in 1593. He renamed the castle Tsuruga-jo and renamed the town from Kurokawa to Wakamatsu.105 views
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Notice anything unusual about these hula dancers?105 views
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Hula lesson for kids at the Beach Theater in the Water Park.105 views
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Map of the area around the Miharu Takizakura weeping cherry tree in Miharu, Fukushima Prefecture. 105 views
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Inside the reconstructed Minami Hashiri Nagaya Longhouse. It is a long corridor with a few small storage rooms. 南走長屋103 views
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Tsurugajo Castle. The castle tower entrance can be seen.102 views
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Also see my YouTube video here.102 views
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Look at their footwear. They are wearing a pair of waraji straw sandals.102 views
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Fire knife dancers are the highlight and crowd pleasers. They are Japanese, but well-trained and highly skilled with the fire.102 views
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