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Sazaedo: Astounding Architecture and a Buddhist Pilgrimage

Posted on February 4, 2021

Is it really possible to complete a Buddhist pilgrimage in less than 5 minutes? Sazaedo, one of Japan’s unique cultural landmarks, contains all 33 statues of Kannon (the Buddhist goddess of mercy) that are on the western Japan pilgrimage route. On Mount Iimori in Aizu-wakamatsu, Sazaedo is not only a Buddhist pilgrimage route, but an architectural oddity and wonder.  

Sazaedo Tickets

The temple was built in 1796 and the original structure remains intact but the 33 statues are replicas.

Though there are many structures around the world which mimic the molecular structure of DNA, Sazaedo is uniquely wooden. Two ramps revolve around the center column containing the statues so that each visitor may walk without passing anyone going the other direction. The journey is awe inspiring as you pass so near to visitors going the other direction but never actually encounter them. Sazaedo side profile

Stairs to Sazaedo

By @ __. hitomin .__

The temple has a Michelin guide star and truly lives up to it in every season. In the fall, the breathtaking foliage of Japanese maple trees compliment the earthen tones of the Buddhist pagoda.

Sazaedo side profile in snow

By @imstephzhao

In the winter, the spiraling structure becomes a dynamic geometrical art-piece, especially when viewed from above.

Sazaedo from above

Along with Sazaedo, Fukushima has endless opportunity for exploration. From spectacular onsen to the preserved quarters of the highest ranking samurai at Aizu Bukeyashiki, Fukushima will continue to amaze you. All of this just three hours away from Tokyo by train.


Sazaedo entrance roof

By @mikitoichikawa

Sazaedo roof

By @ yanken_photos

As you ascend to the top of Sazaedo, where you will cross the ‘taikobashi’, you may notice the hundreds of stickers affixed to every conceivable surface. These have been left by visitors as prayer and proof of their pilgrimage.

Sazaedo entrance

By @jamie_vlog  (Jameson Hirano)

Please visit this wonder and take your time to admire the intricate wood carvings or powerful curve of the portico.

Aizu Sazaedo Interior

By @kyoko1903

Tickets are just 400 yen for adults, 300 yen for high school age, and 200 yen for children.


Access: Takizawa-155 Itsukimachi Oaza Yahata, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima 965-0003

Google maps link