A “Double Helix” Temple Born of Faith in the Goddess of Mercy
On the flanks of Mount Iimori near Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, where the last of the idealistic young warriors of the famed Byakkotai White Tiger Brigade committed mass suicide on August 23, 1868, after being defeated in their struggle to preserve the Tokugawa shogunate against the advancing armies on the side of restoring imperial rule, you will find a butsudō Buddhist sanctum unlike any other in Japan, and perhaps unlike any other building anywhere the world. This is the mysterious three-story wooden tower known as the Aizu Sazaedō, erected in 1796 on what once were the grounds of the now vanished Shōsōji Temple. Formally named the Entsū Sansōdō, the Aizu Sazaedō is a 16.5-meter tall structure said to have been the brainchild of Ikudō, the remarkable head priest of Shōsōji.

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