Sep 6, 2018
About 800 years ago in Okuetsu in Fukui, there was a temple called Heisenji. One of its monks was Tojinbo, who was known for always causing trouble because of his bad conduct. One day, the other monks came up with a plan to kill Tojinbo because they were already fed up with his bad behavior. They invited him to a drinking party on top of a cliff. They made him so drunk before pushing him off the cliff. A few years after his death, Tojinbo’s vengeful spirit would still go on a rampage by causing strong winds and rain around the area of cliffs on the same time annually. Decades later, a priest held a memorial service for Tojinbo. The storms ceased. Up to this day, Tojinbo’s death is believed to be the cause of rage in the sea waters of the cliffs.
This is the legend of Tojinbo Cliffs.
Japan is known to have a lot of suicide spots. Among these are Aokagihara Forest, a suicide forest located at the foot of Mount Fuji and the Tojinbo Cliffs area which is located in Fukui. So, other than the myth of Tojinbo, the area is also known as a jump off site among suicidal Japanese.
At present, it is reported that approximately twenty five people jump to their deaths here every year.
The inarguable negative stories about Tojinbo cliffs do not seem to deter the tourists from coming to this majestic place, though. In fact, the curiosity it gives to people is what makes it well-known not just in Japan but around the whole world.
Tojinbo is a one-kilometer stretch of a series of basaltic cliffs. The cliffs were formed due to wave erosion, creating a very unique geological formation. These kinds of cliffs can only be found in three places around the world: Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, Devil’s Postpile in California, U.S.A. and of course, here at the Tojinbo Cliffs in Fukui, Japan.
It may not seem obvious, but the cliffs are thirty-meters high. They are steep and one stepping mistake could result in a fall.
If you have a fear of heights, I don’t recommend you to go to the further areas of the cliffs. P.S.: The spot I was on is 800 kilometers away from North Korea.
The place gave me an eerie feeling. Maybe it was because I read the legend and the suicide news about the Tojinbo Cliffs beforehand? Certainly, the place was very calming and a bit sad, despite having tourists around.
Maybe it was just the cold but legend has it that the cliffs inflict curses of sudden discomfort, sickness and overwhelming sadness.
While entrance to the cliffs is free, a sightseeing tour of the area is offered. The tour allows you to enjoy the view of the cliffs from the sea while you are in the boat. Tours start from Tojinbo and go around Oshima Island. On the tour, you will be able to see more unusual-looking rocks like “Lion Rock”, “Battleship Rock”, “Candle Rock” and other interesting rocks. The sightseeing tour costs 1,470 JPY per person.
The street leading to the cliffs is lined with parking areas, restaurants and stores selling seafood, souvenirs and soft creams.
HOW TO GET TO SAKAI, FUKUI
By plane: There are daily direct flights from Tokyo to Komatsu via JAL, ANA and IBEX. Travel time is 1 hour. From Komatsu, taka a train to Mikuminato Station and a bus to Tojinbo.
By train: Take the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station and get down at Maibara Station. From Maibara Station, transfer to JR Line to Fukui Station. From Fukui Station, take a train to Mikuminato Station. From there, you can walk to Tojinbo for half an hour or take a bus.
By plane: There are daily connecting flights from Osaka to Komatsu via JAL, ANA and IBEX. Travel time is 1 hour. From Komatsu, taka a train to Mikuminato Station and a bus to Tojinbo. This travel means is not recommended since it takes longer than usual.
By train: Take the JR Thunderbird from Osaka Station and get down at Fukui Station. From Fukui Station, take a train to Mikuminato Station. From there, you can walk to Tojinbo for half an hour or take a bus.