Old Nagano Tunnel
Now the main route connecting Iga to Kyoto, Highway Route 163 partially runs alongside the old Iga Highway – home to one of Mie's top-listed haunted locations: Old Nagano Tunnel.
While there are three tunnels formally listed as 'Nagano Tunnel' within the area, locals differentiate the tunnels based by era:
Former Nagano Tunnel
('Meiji Tunnel') built in 1885
Old Nagano Tunnel
('Showa Tunnel') built in 1939
New Nagano Tunnel
('Heisei Tunnel') built in 2008
Meiji Tunnel is located directly above Showa Tunnel, hidden amongst forest with only a steep path and decaying wooden steps linking the tunnel to the main road. Despite Meiji Tunnel being the eldest of the tunnels, Showa Tunnel is considered the most haunted.
Former Nagano Tunnel (Meiji Tunnel) is famous for its architectural beauty of arches and granite. It is said to be built using bare hands.
Originally closing due to a collapse, the Showa Tunnel was developed to replace the travel route of the Meiji Tunnel, but met a sudden closure after it was deemed unsafe for travel. Authorities were concerned the weak structure of Meiji Tunnel could impact the infrastructure of Showa Tunnel, leading to a cave in.
Locals were surprised to discover Showa Tunnel had been closed and sealed before the opening of Heisei Tunnel, creating significant hassle for commuters travelling between cities. Due to the suddenness of closure, speculations were made about something being further amiss about Showa Tunnel – particularly rumours of a staggeringly high number of car accidents which often listed unexplainable circumstances as the cause, such as:
- where red cloth was tied to mark the scene of an accident, vehicles would experience engine trouble and suddenly stop (particularly at night)
- commuters claiming white hands would emerge from the tunnel roof and walls to grab at cars (this is believed to be due to the collapse of Meiji Tunnel which was built using hands instead of machinery)
- figures wandering the inside and entrance of the tunnel, but caused no sound or evidence of impact after being hit
- shadows darting from one side of the tunnel to the other
Showa Tunnel is currently barricaded to prevent entering, and Meiji Tunnel is blocked with a gate and barbed wire.
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