A Trip Around Susa Bay – Part 1 – The Susa Hornfels, Beautiful Black & White Striped Cliffs!


A spot of scenic beauty by the Sea of Japan in northeastern Yamaguchi prefecture, these precipitous cliffs of white, black and grey stripes are the Susa Hornfels!

This is the entrance to the road leading to the cliffs, one part of which is along Susa Bay. A parking area and rest house are nearby and the access is relatively easy.

An area known for its picturesque scenery, it has also been designated as one of Japan’s places of scenic beauty as well as a natural monument.



The trail to the cliffs is a gently descending slope.

As I walk enjoying the comfortable sea breeze, a view of the great deep ocean spreading far to the horizon opens up before my eyes.

The view from the midway point of the walking trail is quite the sight, as well!

The rough shoreline typical of the Sea of Japan continues on…



The last part of the trail, the precipitous cliffs of Susa Hornfels, become a slope over which you can walk!

It’s a bit scary, but safe if you walk carefully. (On days of strong rain and wind the cliffs are slippery and you need to be very careful.)



Finally I make it safely to the foot of the cliffs!

The slightly overhanging cliff wall has quite the impact!



Looking at the cliffs from below, you can see this kind of striped pattern!

By the way, these cliffs are officially known as Tatamiiwa.



Hornfels is one type of rock that was metamorphed due to continued contact with a high temperature heat source.

The white part is a layer of sandstone and the black part is a layer of mudstone over which magma once flowed and, because of the heat, caused the stone to metamorphose.

The name Susa Hornfels refers to this whole area that also includes the stripe-patterned Tatamiiwa.


This is an invaluable location where you can witness signs of the Earth’s dynamic volcanic activity with your own eyes!

As the cliffs face west, if you plan to visit, we recommend coming in the afternoon. The closer to evening it gets, the more the scenery becomes dramatic!

These are the Susa Hornfels in the evening!

Giving them a solemn atmosphere different to noontime, the setting sun colors the cliffs a golden yellow!



At the point of sunset, the light diminishes, so the best time for observing the cliffs is around an hour before sunset.

If you have the time, do feast your eyes on the Susa Hornfels in the evening sun!

You will need to climb a bit on your way back from the cliffs, so if you are tired after all the walking, it’s nice to eat ice cream to cool down! Conveniently, the most popular dish at Tsuwabuki no Kan, the rest house near the parking area, is squid ink ice cream from Susa Bay’s famed squid. 🙂

Susa Bay has plenty of other highlights to offer!

In Part 2 of my trip around Susa Bay, I will introduce another of its charms: Matsushima of the West!


Susa Hornfels (Tatamiiwa)
Location: Noriishi, Susa, Hagi city, Yamaguchi prefecture
Guide Homepage: http://www.web-gis.jp/GS_Kigan100/K100-052/Kigan100_052.html (Japanese)

Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Matsuoka


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Written by

Masafumi Fujimoto

Masafumi Fujimoto

Masafumi Fujimoto Hi there! My name is Masafumi Fujimoto. Until the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, I was engaged in editing production at an advertising company in Tokyo. However, the earthquake was a turning point in my life and I headed home to Yamaguchi. When I arrived, I was extremely energized and motivated to help revitalize the region, but I had a hard time adjusting to the motivation level of the local people. Around that time I met an elderly lady who said: "It doesn't matter if all the people move away from the island; that's just the nature of things. Someday people will come back again." Lessening the tension I’d been feeling, those few words relieved me hugely, and I was able to finally adjust. Since then, I've been involved in writing and editing magazines, and working in advertisement production, as well as doing a little bit of farming. I also spend time walking around Setouchi searching for the many, many voices out there.


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