An island surrounded by The Ogre’s Washboard
Aoshima, which can be accessed on foot from the Nishinan coastline over Yayoi Bridge, is a small island with a circumference of 1.5km that can be traversed in 15 minutes. Geological strata that range from about 8 million to 10 million years old have evolved due to erosion to become these distinct formations which surround the island, and during low tide even at a distance of 100m offshore, a splendid sight can be observed. Due to these strange rock formations’ resemblance to a washboard, they have been given the name of The Ogre’s Washboard. Since they cannot be seen at high tide, it’s recommended that tourists adjust their schedule accordingly to fit low tide. On the island, Livistona palm trees and climbing shrubs over 300 years in age join many other subtropical plants which have been recognized by the nation as Special Natural Monuments.
Aoshima Shrine invites worship on the holy land of Aoshima
The entire island of Aoshima was originally considered to be a holy site so entry was restricted. Within the island, the beautiful vermilion Aoshima Shrine was established, and its vermilion torii gate along with The Ogre’s Washboard make for a spectacular sight. Since olden times, the shrine has been worshiped by people looking for love in marriage and the Shinto ritual of Wadatsumi Harai has been popular with tourists. In this ritual, a slip of paper on which a wish has been written is placed in the Tama-no-I Well which is bubbling with fresh water, and if the slip should dissolve, then the wish will be granted. The well is a power spot since it is said to be the meeting place of two figures from Japanese mythology, Yamasachihiko and Toyotama-hime. Also, to the right of the main shrine building is the Onarimichi (road for persons of high rank), another power spot which is a small road with many palm trees and an overflowing feeling of the South Seas where an ancient religious ritual known as the Motomiya was held. At the front of Yayoi Bridge which leads to Aoshima, there is the Aoshima Subtropical Botanical Garden which is free of admission. It has 2500 examples of subtropical flora of 429 different species including clusters of the Special Natural Monument of Livistona palm tree, and in the greenhouse, there are beautiful flowers blooming all year round so this is a place that is well worth visiting.