Kiyotsukyo Gorge Tunnel in Niigata!
The Kiyotsukyo Gorge in Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture is ranked as one of the Three Great Gorges of Japan, along with Kurobe Gorge and Osugi Valley, and has been designated a national natural monument. It is worth visiting year-round, but it is recommended to go during summer to see the refreshing greenery or autumn to see the autumn leaves along with the gorge.
It was winter when we went, but the snow scenery was spectacular and like a scene from an ink painting.
Kiyotsukyo Gorge Tunnel runs 750 meters and takes around one hour round trip through the long tunnel. There are four viewpoints to best view the majestic rocks of columnar joints and the clear stream and from which we could feel the powerful natural attraction of the gorge.
The scenery was a magnificent one which we felt we could see all day long without tiring.
The tunnel underwent renewal on April 28, 2018 as part of the 2018 Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale that began from July 2018. Contemporary art works in the tunnel and a newly established entrance facility are a must see.
The artwork is titled “Tunnel of Light” leading to four viewpoints created by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects, which renovated the entrance facility (new construction), tunnel facility, and other areas inside the tunnel.
As we walked through the tunnel, the walls were divided into different colored lights making us feel as if we had entered a strange “wonderland” place.
Other art installations included a wall covered in red convex mirrors.
The panorama station at the end of the tunnel was our favorite, since the reflection of the water made a great photogenic spot with a panoramic view of the gorge.
The wall was covered with stainless steel plates and water has been spread on the floor like a shallow pool, creating an illusion of a circle-like-cut of scenery of the reflected gorge inside the tunnel.
We walked around the edges of the water, posed in front of the tunnel and took pictures perfect for Instagram. We had to share it on SNS immediately!
“Tunnel of Light” opens from March or April when the snow starts to melt until December when the snow starts to fall.
(*to be open to the public even after 2020)
*It will be closed in the winter season, but the period depends on the snowfall.
Please see the website for more information.
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale
Kiyotsukyo Gorge Tunnel Time: 8:30 to 16:30
Kiyotsukyo Gorge Tunnel fee: Adult (high school students or above) 600 yen, Child (elementary and middle school students) 300 yen
*Discount is available for groups of 20 or more
Address: 2126 Koide, Tokamachi City, Niigara Prefecture, 949-8433
*Closed in winter