洞山

Horayama


Useful Information

Location: Yamaga, Ashiya-machi, Onga-gun 807-0141 Fukuoka Prefecture.
(33.909176, 130.658420)
Open: no restrictions.
[2021]
Fee: free.
[2021]
Classification: KarstNatural Bridge
Light: n/a
Dimension: H=10 m, W=12 m, L=30 m.
Guided tours: self guided, D=10 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Horayama, Yamaga, Ashiya-machi, Onga-gun 807-0141 Fukuoka Prefecture.
Industrial Tourism DivisionAgriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Section, Tel: +81-93-223-3544, Fax: +81-93-223-3927.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

25-APR-1185 Battle of Dan-no-ura at Dan-no-ura, in the Shimonoseki Strait.
1897 an old woman applied for the construction of Enmei Jizo-do in Doyama.
01-APR-1978 designated tangible folk cultural property.

Description

The town Yamaga has a harbour with a spectacular natural bridge called 洞山 (Horayama). The harbour is located on the right side of the estuary of Onga River, separated from the river by a double sea stack. In the outermost sea stack, which consists of yellow and white sandstone the erosion of the waves created a natural bridge or a short through cave. It is possible to walk through the island from the riverside to the harbour side and back. It's quite easy to reach, as the riverside forms a huge dry plateau during low tide. The former islands are connected to the mainland by a concrete quay. The trail through the natural bridge is currently closed for construction, there was a rockfall, and it seems officials need some more years to find out how to finance the stabilization work. However, there is obviously no restriction on walking on the platform in front.

Alternatively it is possible to see the natural bridge from the other side of the harbour. There is a parking lot and a shrine called Awashima Shrine. You can see that there are two small islands, a bigger one closer to the land which is called 堂山 (Dozan) and has a shrine named 蛭子宮 (Hiruko Shrine). The second, smaller one is called 洞山 (Dongsan, Cave Mountain) with the natural bridge. Another translation of the names is Toyama and Doyama. Together they are called 洞山 (Horayama).

According to legend the cave was created by Empress Jingu. There is an old story that Empress Jingu, on her way to war, stopped at Ashiya and shot an arrow, which penetrated the island, and the hole became a cave.

It seems most people, which come to visit the site, actually come for the shrine on the first island. When an old woman wanted to donate a rock slab with an inscription, numerous rocks were discovered. They were excavated and collected in a shed, which is now part of the shrine. More than 300 limestone sculptures have been excavated, showing five-wheeled towers, itabi, stone Buddhas and other motives.

The stones are according to legend the gravestones of famous warriors which are part of a quite famous Japanese military story. After the 壇ノ浦の戦い (battle of Dan-no-ura) the rakugo (fallen warriors) were secretly enshrined in memory of the Heike clan. It is also possible they were built as memorials by the bereaved families of the Yamaga naval force who sacrificed many lives under Yamaga Hyoudouji Hidetou.