updated: May 12, 2008
This is my favourite castle to visit so far in Japan.
The castle is beautiful and well maintained. There is a good display inside and the view from the top is excellent in every direction. The gardens are also very beautiful, especially the walk around the top of the moat. There is also a little teahouse in the grounds.
I guess the most famous thing about Tsurugajo is a samurai troop called "The White Tigers". They were made up of 16 and 17 year olds. As near as I can tell they were a division in training but were largely massacred in a brave defence of their castle. The most famous part was 20 of them who were on top of a hill looking down and thought they saw the castle overrun and on fire so they all committed suicide. It turns out they were wrong and the castle wasn't overrun or on fire. Their suicide success rate was 95%!
Next door there is a museum. The museum is dedicated to the history of the area going right back to early human development. There is a good printed guide in English.
More Aizuwakamatsu Photos
update: this is also a very good place to visit in winter and especially spring for cherry blossom. In 2008 the blossom was at its best on the weekend of Apr 19th, 1 week after Nasushiobara and 3 weeks after Tokyo.
photo location to be cleaned up soon. Sorry for the mess!