A national natural monument, To-no-Hetsuri consists of tower-shaped cliffs overlooking a river.
Hetsuri is a word meaning "a cliff overlooking a river" or "a steep slope" in the local dialect. According to Genkai, the first modern Japanese dictionary, the verb "hetsuru", from which the noun "hetsuri" derives, means the same as "kezuru" (to sharpen) and there are examples in which "hetsuri" is interpreted as a steep road along a river.
These strange-shaped cliffs are thought to made of various types rocks formed around 28 million years ago and feature deep cracks along the vertical joints.
The alternating types of rocks that make up the cliffs also include relatively soft strata, which have been eroded by rain and wind, resulting in distinctive and eye-catching dips and curves in the rock face that resemble a forest of towers.
Each of these tower-like rocks has its own name: Eagle Tower, Hawk Tower, Lion Tower, House Tower, Turret Tower, Nine-Ring Tower, Elephant Tower, Goma (fire ritual) Tower, Eboshi (tall hat worn by male aristocrats in the Heian Period) Rock, Folding Screen Rock, Stage Rock, and Sumo Arena Rock.