Originally forming almost thirteen million years ago during volcanic activity and later eroded by the ocean, the Tojinbo cliffs are twenty-one metres tall of jagged rock stretched across a kilometre. Although a popular tourist destination, the cliffs are also well-known for legends of corruption, suicide, and curses.
The name ‘Tojinbo’ is said to have derived from a strongly disliked priest of the Eheiji Temple in the Heisen era. Known for shirking his duties and causing general grievances with the temple and local population, Tojinbo was pushed from the cliff by a rival (a monk named Kakumen) who shared the same love interest of Princess Aya. It is said that as vengeance for being murdered, Tojinbo’s ghost haunted the cliffs and caused violent storms and destructive waves. Years later a memorial service was held in order to appease Tojinbo’s ghost. Although the storms and mayhem ceased, the priest’s ghost is still said to haunt the area.
In present day, it is said that at least twenty-five people jump to their deaths annually. While the majority of the bodies wash up along the shores or the nearby island of Oshima, a percentage remain unfound.
It is argued that the most haunted areas of the cliffs are inside and around the telephone boxes located nearby. Used as 'last-call booths’ (the final phone call to loved ones by people wishing to commit suicide), people have reported hearing disembodied voices.
The Tojinbo cliffs are also said to inflict curses of sudden sickness, discomfort, and overwhelming sadness. However, this does not seem to deter the daily crowds of tourists.