Thousand piles of money 千貫門

May 04, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

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"The view worth a thousand piles of money" so a Samurai once said. 
This 30 metre high rock island is an ancient volcanic plug that formed on the sea floor hundreds of kilometres off the Eastern Coast of Japan, millions of years ago. The area known as Izu, is one of the few in the world where 3 different tectonic plates collide. Called a triple junction, Izu it is a hot spot for geological action, most well known of which is the stunning volcano, Mt Fuji. This triple junction causes the bottom of the pacific ocean to buckle as it collides with Japan, and volcanic rock and strata that were formed on the deep sea bottom have been forced up kilometers high into what is now modern day Izu Peninsula.

One of the best examples of this deep sea volcanism is this rock island, called Senganmon(千貫門). It is made of hard rock formed inside the dyke of a volcano, and remained when the rest of the volcano eroded away over millions of years.

Sen-Gan-Mon means "Thousand piles-of-money gate". A famous samurai warrior once commented upon seeing the island that it was the most amazing view nature had to offer, one which he thought was worth a thousand piles of money. Gates have special meaning in Japan, they symbolise the entrance to a sacred place like a shrine, and in ancient times the whole ocean was thought of as sacred.

I visited Izu last month and couldn't resist hunting down Senganmon to see the thousand piles of money view for myself. It was a full moon, Sirius was shining high in the sky and although the water was still cold, it wasn't too hard to get out to this rock. But that was as close as I could get to the giant gate.


Senganmon_9470 done DSSBJ Stars HankoSenganmon_9470 done DSSBJ Stars Hanko


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