At the southern end of the Kii Peninsula is one of Japan’s most unusual natural wonders, located in Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture. The rocks of Hashigui-iwa [橋杭岩] are a group of pillars. This mysterious and natural work of art is a fantastic backdrop colored by the sunrise and is especially popular as a place to take beautiful pictures.
The Hashigui-iwa Rocks and their pillar-shaped formation actually resemble the pegs of an old bridge that connected Kii Oshima to the land, hence its name of Bridge Pillar Rocks.
There is a legend that Kukai and the Demon Amanojyaku competed at night to build a heavenly bridge, which was not completed, leaving only huge stones.
Late afternoon and night
How did the Hashigui-iwa rocks form?
About 14 million years ago, a major volcanic eruption sent hot magma out to sea near the coast of what is now Kushimoto. The magma settled in crevices in the underwater sedimentary rock, where it clotted. Eventually, tectonic activity caused the ocean floor to rise, hurling massive rocks hundreds of meters into the air. Over time, the wind and sea eroded the softer sedimentary rock, leaving behind the hard igneous rock. In this sense, the Hashigui-iwa were never the same, as the elements continue to form and shape them.
Legend: Koubou Daishi Kukai (弘法 大師 空) e Amanojyaku
According to a Japanese legend, the Hashigui-iwa rocks were formed long ago when the monk Kukai came to visit Kushimoto. He competed against the demon Amanojaku to build a bridge to connect Kii Oshima to the main island. Kukai set to work using his newfound strength to haul huge rocks out into the ocean, forming the base of his bridge. He worked so tirelessly that Amanojyaku realized he might lose.
So the devil cheated
Just before dawn, while it was still dark, Amanojyaku made the sound of a rooster crowing. Kukai heard the sound and thought his time was up. Thinking he had lost, Kukai stopped work leaving his bridge unfinished at sea.
Wakayama-ken Higashimuro-gun Kushimoto-chō kujinokawa