At the southern end of the Kii Peninsula is one of Japan's most unusual natural wonders, located in KushimotoAt 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 setting colored by sunrise and is especially popular as a place to take beautiful pictures.
The Hashigui-iwa Rocks and their pillar-shaped formation really resemble the stakes of an old bridge that connected Kii Oshima to the land, hence its name Pilar da Ponte rocks.
There is a legend that Kukai and the Demon Amanojyaku competed at night to build a celestial bridge, which was not completed, leaving only huge stones.
How did the rocks of Hashigui-iwa form?
About 14 million years ago, a large volcanic eruption sent hot magma into the sea, close to the coast of what it is today Kushimoto. The magma settled in cracks in the underwater sedimentary rock, where it coagulated. Eventually, tectonic activity caused an elevation of the ocean floor, launching massive rocks hundreds of meters high. Over time, the wind and the sea eroded the softer sedimentary rock, leaving the hard igneous rock behind. In this sense, the Hashigui-iwa were never the same again, as the elements continue to form and model them.
Legend: Koubou Daishi Kukai (弘法 大師 空) and Amanojyaku
According to a Japanese legend, 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 started to work using his new strength to transport huge rocks to the ocean, forming the base of his bridge. He worked so tirelessly that Amanojyaku realized that he could 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 working leaving his bridge unfinished at sea.
Wakayama-ken Higashimuro-gun Kushimoto-chō kujinokawa