Tojinbo impressive cliffs are one of the Heisei 100 landscapes located in Fukui prefecture, on the Sea of Japan and definitely off the beaten path. They are a series of basaltic cliffs formed 12 to 13 million years ago during the Miocene period and eroded by the daily waves since then! A rare landscape – only to be seen in two other places on the planet – which is truly delightful during sunset. And Tojinbo is home of many legends…
The Heisei 100 landscapes list allows us to explore spots really different, from ancient temples and flowers fields, through Tokyo or natural sights famous in the national literature.
Tojinbo belongs to the last. Along a one kilometer-long coastline, many basaltic and geometrical sticks are forming high cliffs aiming at the sky.
The landscape is home of many legends, beginning with the one featuring the Buddhist priest/monk Tojinbo – from whom the name of the area is coming. According to the story, the man wasn’t really living a religious life, being in love with a local princess or being too rude to his fellow monk. Several versions are to be found, but the conclusion is always the same, with the unfortunate Tojinbo being pushed from the top of the cliff in the Sea of Japan.
Years of storms in the area then followed the murder. Until the day another monk – a begging one who had just arrived there – built a small shrine to worship Tojinbo’s memory.
Tojinbo’s cliff are also a good spot to enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Sea of Japan.
How to get there?
Unless renting a car from another area, one will need to travel to Fukui city before reaching Tojinbo’s cliff. The prefecture main city is 3h30 away from Tokyo by train (using successively a Hikari train on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line to Maibara, then a JR Shirasagi, 14000 yen) or 8h by Highway bus (from 5000 yen).
Then two options are available. Either with the Echizen network, by train from Fukui to Mikuniminato (50 minutes, 770 yen) and then by bus for a 5 minutes ride (190 yen, hourly). Or with JR using the local trains to Awara onsen (15 minutes from Fukui city) and a bus to finally reach Tojinbo (40 minutes, 750 yen one way or 1000 yen for a 2 days pass).