Sazae-do is an old wooden tower in Aizu Wakamatsu, with a rare architectural style and built for an unusual purpose. Erected in 1796, the tower is made with a double-helix staircase, an architectural element imported from Europe and very rare in Japan. The two spirals are never in contact, so by going up and down the stairs the visitor will experience a single route, without meeting people going in the opposite direction.
The original purpose of the building was to reproduce at scale a complex of 33 temples dedicated to Kannon, a very popular pilgrimage in Japan, with the temples represented by 33 corresponding statues, but the statues were removed a century ago. Photographed here is the topmost part of the double-helix, with a bridge joining the two sides.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: