Tanegashima Island has many tourist attractions, and you would probably visit those attractions in a tourist guide.
However, Tanegashima Island is home to a mysterious and wonderful place that can only be visited a few times a year: Arch Rock.
The Arch Rock is only accessible on foot when the tide is low, so you can only visit it a few times a year and only for about two hours.
It is a pity that only the locals go to Arch Rock, and that it is so seldom visited.
Arch Rock on Tanegashima Island is about a hidden place of interest
What is Arch Rock, a hidden place of interest on Tanegashima Island?
The manager of this site posts photos of Tanegashima on Instagram, and this is by far the number one DM inquiry.
As you can imagine by comparison with the people in the distance, the rock is quite large and looks like a naturally formed sky bridge.
The left side of the rock looks like coral sand, where you can have lunch or take a nap.
Fishing or shellfishing with children is also a good idea.
There are some trees on the bridge, and it looks like it might be climbable, but it would be very dangerous if it collapses, so don't try to climb it.
If you touch the rock, you will see that it is mostly sandstone, and it seems to be quite brittle.
Do not take a nap or eat under the arches, as there may be falling rocks.
Panoramic view of Arch Rock
This is a panoramic view of Arch Rock taken from far behind. You can see a hole in a part of the large rock.
It is difficult to climb this rock from any angle.
This photo was taken with a ZEISS Batis 2/25. Even though the tide was minus, we were knee-deep in the sea.
Inquiries on how to get to Arch Rock, hard to answer DMs
Of course, people on the island know about Arch Rock, but there is no information about it in the tourist guides of Tanegashima.
There is a reason for this. It was difficult to explain in a DM with limited characters on the installation that this rock is usually inaccessible and the reason why.
Most of the inquiries in the DMs are "Please tell me how to get to this rock! but since it is not possible to go there anytime, I could only give a simple answer like, 'I can only go there around mid-May.
We were very concerned about it, so that's why we were the first to address it on this site.
There are only a few days a year when you have a chance to get to Arch Rock safely on foot
You can walk to Arch Rock only when the tide level is negative at low tide on high tide days.
On days other than high tide days, the tide level does not go negative, so it is impossible to walk there because the tide current will catch your footing.
It is necessary to check the tide table of Tanegashima Island to decide when to go there.
In the case of 2022, the tidal range of Tanegashima Island will be negative at the following times.
- January 2-5 from midnight to 2:00 a.m. △ (not recommended at night)
- May 16-18 around 12:00-14:00 ◎←I recommend only this period (for the year 2022)
- Around 12:00-14:00 on June 14-16: 0
- Around 12:00-14:00 on July 13-15 △
- December 22-26 from midnight to 2:00 am △ (should not be at night)
In 2022, the only relatively safe chances to go were on 5/16, 5/17/, and 5/18, but usually the week after Golden Week is a negative tide at Tanegashima.
On these days, even children can walk on the beach without getting their shoes wet.
Tide charts used by people who work or play in the sea are posted on the JMA website.
The latest data from the JMA is posted on the website, so the "Data including Hourly Tide Levels" is convenient because you can find out how long you can stay at the beach.
Usually dangerous to go because of the fast tides
It is difficult for tourists to go to Arch Rock except on days when the tide is negative.
The tidal currents around this rock are so strong that they can blow holes in the rock, so if you go swimming, you may be swept out to sea.
Equip adequate footwear for the walk from the beach to Arch Rock
Although it is possible to reach Arch Rock on foot, the rocky terrain changes one after another, from slippery rocks to sandy terrain to thorny reefs, so you will need to overcome these rocky terrain to reach the rock.
We recommend that you wear athletic shoes or hiking boots and gloves, but boots with metal studs may slip on the slippery rocks, and bare feet are out of the question.
Also, be careful not to step on sea cucumbers and sea urchins, which are plentiful along the way.
If your shoes have thin and soft soles, such as flip-flops or marine shoes, sea urchin thorns may penetrate the sole of your shoe and stick into your foot.
Also, in the photo, you can see a tomboyish girl with a roof over her head on the island, but local children are used to this kind of thing. If you are here as a tourist, be sure to walk carefully with each step, because if you happen to fall on the reef, you can be seriously injured.
Arch Rock at night, the sea fog was terrible
I once went to Arch Rock in winter around midnight on a low tide day in January with a lot of photographic equipment, but I could not take any outstanding pictures.
I had to work very hard to take this picture, aiming at Arch Rock with a starry sky in the background, but the sea fog was so bad and the lights on the opposite shore were so bright that only a few stars could be captured even though I turned up the sensitivity considerably.
If you don't know the route well, you might fall down and break your equipment or submerge it in water.
If it is a tree, it is essential to bring lighting, such as LED floodlights.
Arch Rock on Tanegashima Island is about a hidden gem, about the location
Map of Arch Rock
The location of Arch Rock is similar to "Akou no Arch," a famous sightseeing spot on Tanegashima, but it is different.
It is located behind Senza no Iwaya, but the route to Arch Rock is a different route.
Specific Directions to Arch Rock
The locals go thumping along the rough road with light trucks to the breakwater on the beach, but the thickets protrude from both sides of the road, so the sides of passenger cars are covered with scratches.
It would be a bad idea to damage your rental car or private car, so we recommend that you take the following route.
Be sure to wait until the tide level becomes negative before walking.
- Park your car at the parking lot of Senza no Iwaya, a famous place on Tanegashima Island.
- Cross the small river bridge in front of the parking lot and turn left to go along the river.
- On the way, you will cross a small bridge, but it is a straight road, so walk to the sea (about 15 minutes).
- When you reach the beach, walk down the steps of the breakwater to the sea.
- Looking at the ocean side from the beach, walk along the beach to the left.
- You will climb over rocky surfaces, and walk along sandy and rugged rocky areas, being careful not to fall down.
- Consider your walking route while looking a little farther ahead.
- Turn around if you feel unsafe.
- When the rocky terrain becomes more rugged, you should be able to see the arch rock.
- There are many sea urchins and sea cucumbers on the rocks, so be careful not to step on them.
Stay at Arch Rock and retreat early if you feel the tide is rising
At Arch Rock, you can relax during the low tide period (about 2 hours), but as the tide begins to rise, the sea surface quickly widens and the path you came on becomes covered with sea water, making it difficult to walk.
Check the time on the tide table, and be sure to retreat as early as possible to give yourself enough time.
If you are stranded, it is best not to swim, but to call the fire department for help.
Summary about Arch Rock on Tanegashima Island, a hidden gem
I hope you were interested in my explanation of Arch Rock, which can only be reached for about two hours around noon in mid-May with a negative tide level.
I hope you were interested in it. If your timing is right, you can fish and take pictures in a very rare place.
Thank you for reading to the end.