Aizu-Wakamatsu has a rich samurai focus and can be the center of any Fukushima Photo Tour. At the center of Nanoka Machi’s rich history is one man, Hajime Saito. Once the shogunate ended, the Boshin Civil War started and the Shinsengumi or the special police force created of samurai and other classes to protect the shogunate representatives. The leader of the 3rd battalion was Hajime Saito. He fought valiantly in many battles, and his final resting place is at Amida Temple.
The temple grounds are worthy of a samurai’s final resting place. An ornate samurai crest decorates many of the temple buildings’ eaves and glitter gold. Each building is a new architectural photo op on your Fukushima Photo Tour. An enormous bell also occupies the grounds and is sounded for special occasions. The decoration of the bell and the surrounding towers make for a breathtaking photo as you explore the temple grounds. If you have the good fortune of exploring the grounds during the autumn, you can see the beautiful maple leaves near the temple’s main entrance.
As a result of the many campaigns that both Saito and his fellow samurai fought in, the casualties were in the tens of thousands. Many of the samurai who fought side by side by with Saito who fell in the Aizu region are laid to rest near Saito their fearless leader. Nearly 1,300 hundred soldiers have markers and grave stones in the Amidaji Temple grounds. Your Fukushima Photo Tour Leader recommends that you spend at least a little time capturing some of the markers inscribed within the natural landscape that surrounds the temple.
One last amazing feature you can only photograph in Nanoka-machi is the Osanagi. Formerly housed on the Aizu Wakamatsu castle grounds, this three-story wooden edifice has a lot of folklore associated with its history. The building carries the famous golden emblem that many of the other buildings on the temple grounds, yet the atmosphere of this particular wooden structure belies its use as either a watchtower or perhaps a secret meeting place where strategies were considered and discussed.
Wherever you go on Nanoka-machi, the history of the samurai follows closely behind.