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Home Archives The Shinto God at Tojinbo Cliffs

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Witness: Shohei Arato
Location: Tojinbo, Fukui Prefecture, Japan
Date of Encounter: The week of July 7th, 2005

I am currently a student studying in Japan, and I was invited to my friend's house in the Fukui Prefecture, on the western coast of Japan, one of the most haunted prefectures in the nation. It has more graves than any other location in Japan and is home to the infamous Tojinbo Cliffs, a place were people commit suicide by jumping in to the ocean.

I was with my friend and several of his classmates, at around 2 AM in a family restaurant, when the subject of ghost pictures came up, and several of them said that they had taken pictures at the Tojinbo Cliff, and had seen the spirits that float around the area (my friend could even see them, a couple who jumped off together, standing on the edge of a cliff). I did not believe them, and I challenged them to accompany me up to the cliffs. There was 8 of us in all — about 5 of them refused to go, but the others managed to convince 3 of them. The other 2 that had refused to go had very bad experiences there. One of them was a victim's cousin, and the other took a picture, only to have the ghost cling to his shoulder, and was plagued with nightmares — he saw people throwing themselves off a cliff. The nightmares continued until he visited a shrine where he was blessed and a Buddhist priest preformed a ritual that would send the spirit away. (In Japan, we take the spirits of the past very seriously. On the 13, 14, and 15 of August, there is a National Holiday called Obon where we go to the family grave and light a fire of barley to lead them back to the family house so they can protect us. Many elderly Japanese pray in the morning, offering fruit, rice, sake [rice wine] to their family shrine… Anyway, please forgive me for the detour, I shall continue with my story.)

The Tojinbo cliffs can be separated in to 4 main parts. The cliffs itself, a red bridge where the bodies wash up, an island that the red bridge connect to the main land, and it is said to be the resting place of the spirits of the deceased, and a statue of a Shinto God in a tunnel, which is said to show displeasure in his face if something bad will happen. 

We arrived at the cliffs around 3 AM and went directly to the cliffs. There is a total of about 10 cliffs, and we stood at the end of the cliff and looked out. I saw nothing, as did several other people, but a member of our group seemed to be losing his strength in his legs, and we had to help him walk. Then we headed over to arguably the most haunted area of the cliffs — the telephone box where many suicide victims make their last calls to their loved ones. We took a video on one of the guys' cell phones. When we played it over, at the :19 second mark, we could hear a women screaming in the back round "Stop! Please Stop! Don't do this!" Needless to say, we left in a hurry after that.

We headed over to the bridge which legend has it that the hands of those who had died would reach up and cross the bridge. We did not linger, nor did we cross the bridge to the island. Rumors had always flown that people who went there would carry more than a single spirit.

We left and went to the tunnel. We drew straws to see who would go see the statue. I was third, and when I entered, I found to my immense pleasure, that the statue seemed to be smiling, like it was blessing me. However, the last member of our group was not so lucky. He came out and told us that the face showed displeasure, disgust, and hate.

I called my friend the other day to see how he and his family was doing. He immediately went in to the story of our friend who was the unlucky victim of the statue. He had suffered a major breakdown, quit school, lost his job, and broke up with his long-time girlfriend, then disappeared. They found him on the island, under a shrine, sobbing.

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