Legend has it that the rock walls of Oniga-jo (“Demon’s Castle”) was once the domain of the oni, or demons, because of the fierce formation shaped through geological erosion and weathering. This impressive cliff stretches about 1.2km around a small cape near Kumano-shi in Mie Prefecture, and is part of the area’s centuries old UNESCO-listed Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes in the Kii Mountain Range.
Many travellers along the Kumano Kodo come to Oniga-jo via the Matsumoto-toge Pass, past the ruins of a castle dating back to the Age of Civil Wars. Most tourists access Oniga-jo from the Oniga-jo Center, which is lined with restaurants and souvenir shops specialising in local goodies. A path from here leads to the headland, where you can follow the narrow, single-file route – aided by barriers and chains – around the Oniga-jo cliff all the way to the small Benten Shrine, located in Kumano-shi town. The path offers superb views out to sea, especially in the afternoon sunshine.
Address: 1835 Kinomotocho, Kumano, Mie 519-4323
Access: Approx. 5 minutes by Omataokubo-iki bus from Kumanoshi Station to Onigajyo Higashi-guchi
Website: Onigajo (kankomie.or.jp)