Bewildering underwater city named Japanese Atlantis with hieroglyphs on walls

As legends go, few are more intriguing than the lost city of Atlantis.

But very few people know of its Japanese counterpart, a mysterious rock formation buried deep below the sea.

Yonaguni Monument was discovered by a local diver exploring Japan’s southern Ryukyu Islands for sharks back in 1986.

The diver is said to have spotted a series of almost perfectly-carved steps with straight edges 25 metres below the surface.

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The monument, which is rectangular and pyramid-like, is believed to be more than 10,000 years old but its origins remain unknown.

However, some people believe it to be the remains of a long-lost Pacific civilisation, possibly built by Japan’s prehistoric Jomon people dating back to as early as 12000 BC – hence why people refer to it as Japan’s Atlantis.

In addition to the straight lines, some of the rocks are said to have hieroglyphic markings carved on them, giving some more of an indication that this is a man-made structure.

Masaaki Kimura, a marine geologist at the University of the Ryukyus, has been diving at the site to measure and map its formations for almost two decades and he is convinced that this is the remains of the sunken city.

He also pointed out that small camps, pottery, stone tools and fireplaces have been discovered on the site.

Kimura told a scientific conference: “The largest structure looks like a complicated, monolithic, stepped pyramid that rises from a depth of 25 metres [82 feet].”

However, not everyone is as convinced as he is – with some conspiracy theorists instead believing that the answers behind the underwater city are a result of aliens.

Others have their own opinions on Yonaguni. Dr Robert Schoch believes that Yonaguni is a naturally-occurring phenomenon and has argued that if the city was manmade, it would have been before the Ice Age.

While Kimura has claimed to have identified ruins of a castle, arched entrances, five temples, at least one large stadium, and narrow passageways, Dr Schoch argues that the 'steps' of the pyramid are simply the result of erosion.

He said: “No part of the monument is constructed of separate blocks of rock that have been placed into position.

"At the surface, natural wave and tidal action is responsible for eroding and removing the sandstones in such a way that very regular step-like and terrace-like structures remain.”

He did however also add: “Possibly the choice between natural and human-made isn’t simply either/or.“

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