崖 gake—cliff

Tojinbo (東尋坊) is the name of a spectacular seaside cliff feature in Fukui prefecture, on the Sea of Japan coast. It is composed of vertical columns reminiscent of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, formed by volcanic activity over 10 million years ago. We visited last weekend.

 

At Tojinbo, you can wander freely out onto the top of the rocks. From that vantage point, the danger isn’t fully apparent.

However, the next day, from the island of Oshima, we took this picture looking back towards Tojinbo (the horseshoe-shaped feature with the tiny people on top).

If you look over the edge, right beside where people are walking around and posing for photographs, you can see the completely unprotected vertical drop of around 25 metres all the way to the sea below.

Sadly, this is traditionally a very popular suicide spot. In fact, for many of my colleagues this was the first thing that came to mind when I said I was going to Tojinbo. It is said that around 20 people take their lives at this spot every year.

In response to this human tragedy, a retired policeman named Yukio Shige has taken to patrolling the cliffs and persuading people not to jump. He claims to have saved hundreds of lives in this way.

We stayed a safe distance from the edge and kept the dogs on the lead.

We made our way down to the base of the cliffs and paddled in the warm sea-water.

There is a horrendously tacky complex of souvenir shops right at the top of the cliffs. Quite a contrast from the Giant’s Causeway.

This is a view of the beautiful coastline extending around the bay towards Oshima island. You can see the red bridge to Oshima on the left of the picture.

This may have been a sea-cave, formed by the action of the waves, whose roof eventually collapsed. I love the colour pattern of the sandstone layers.

 

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