One of Japan's top three gorges.

Kiyotsu Gorge and the Tunnel of Light

■Advance Reservation System during the Peak Season in 2024 
In order to alleviate congestion during the peak season, the following restrictions will apply only during the periods listed below. During this period, no tickets will be sold on-site, and only those who have purchased tickets in advance will be allowed to enter the mine.
Please purchase a ticket in advance to enter the mine during the applicable period.

[Applicable period]

・GW period (Saturday, April 27 – Sunday, May 7)
・All Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays during the period of “Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2024” (July 13 (Sat) – November 10 (Sun))
・Weekdays from 8/2, 8/13 to 8/16, and 10/21 to 11/8

For details, please check the Kiyotsukyo website.


Kiyotsukyo Gorge, known as one of Japan's three great gorges along with Kurobe Gorge and Osugi Valley, has huge rock walls that cut across the river to create a V-shaped gorge that is a national treasure, and is designated as a national scenic beauty and natural monument.

The magnificent columnar jointed rock surface and dynamic scenery of the Kiyotsu River are amazing and leave a deep impression on visitors. Furthermore, at the 2018 Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, the tunnel was renovated as an artwork by the Chinese architectural group Ma Yansong/MAD Architects, and in addition to significant renewal of the tunnel interior, entrance facilities were also installed. Using the "five elements" of nature (wood, earth, metal, fire, and water), the architectural space and artistic atmosphere were created to transform this historic tunnel.

Time required in the tunnel: about 40 minutes to 1 hour round trip (about 750 meters each way)

The entrance facility also offers a footbath, merchandise sales, and a café.

Please check the Kiyotsukyo website and X (formerly Twitter) for local conditions before visiting.

*New green leaves: early May
*Autumn leaves: from late October to early May
*Snow scenery: from late December to early April

***

History of Kiyotsu Gorge

Kiyotsu Gorge, through which the Kiyotsu River flows, stretches 12.5 kilometers from Tōkamachi to Yuzawa Yagisawa and is one of Japan’s largest gorges. The area is known for its visually striking igneous rock formations and a 750-meter-long art installation that was added to Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel in 2018. The gorge was designated a Natural Monument in April 1941 and was made a part of Jōshin’etsukōgen National Park in September 1949.

The rock formations, called “columnar jointing,” were created when magma cooled into the igneous rock (porphyrite) that makes up both sides of the gorge. As the magma cooled, the outer layer cooled faster than the inner layer, causing the rock to shear along right angles. This rock was then gradually pushed to the earth’s surface by tectonic activity and eroded by the Kiyotsu River. Unusually, both horizontal and vertical columnar jointing is visible along the gorge.
A path that followed the side of the gorge was closed to all visitors in 1988 for safety reasons, and for many years there was no access to the rock formations. In 1996, a 750-meter-long pedestrian tunnel was completed, from which visitors can safely admire the gorge at three lookout points.

In 2018, as part of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale festival, MAD Architects renovated the tunnel, and reopened it as “The Tunnel of Light.” The tunnel’s last lookout—the installation’s namesake—is covered with stainless steel panels, and its floor is flooded with spring water that reflects the gorge and the surrounding forest all throughout the room. Periscope, a café and souvenir shop situated near the mouth of the tunnel, was also designed by MAD Architects. The building’s second floor has a hot-spring footbath with a mirrored opening in the ceiling that reflects the surroundings below.

Movie

Information

Kiyotsu Gorge and the Tunnel of Light
AddressNiigataTokamachi-city2119-2 Koide
Access*By car: Take the national road 353 from the Shiozawa-Ishiuchi interchange on the Kan-etsu Expressway and proceed for about 25 minutes.
*By train: go to “Kiyotsu-kyo iriguchi” bus stop (approx. 30 minutes walk from the bus stop). There are 2 possible routes:
From JR-EAST “Echigo Yuzawa Station” take the express bus bound for “Mori-Miyanohara” and get off at “Kiyotsu-kyo iriguchi” bus stop
From “Echigo Tazawa Station” on the JR Iiyama line take the bus for about 20 minutes and get off at “Kiyotsu-kyo iriguchi”
Parking LotParking is free (45 cars in car park 1, 50 cars in car park 2 and 60 cars in car park 3).
*Nightly closure of car park 1
Kiyotsukyo Lot 1 is closed at night from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. the following morning.
Please take care if you arrive early in the morning. Please do not sleep in your car in the parking lot.
business hoursOpen dates Throughout the year (closed during winter depending on snow conditions)

[1 Mar- 30 Nov] 8:30-17:00 (last entry 16:30)
[1 Dec- 28 Feb] 9:00-16:00 (last entry 15:30)

*Advance reservations are required during peak season (GW, late July - Bon Festival, late October - early November).

*During peak seasons (GW, consecutive holidays, Bon Festival, and autumn foliage season), advance reservations are required through the official website of the Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel. However, this is not required for participants of the official Art Festival tours that include this work in the itinerary.
FeeAdult: ¥1,000, U15:¥400 (Group of 20: Adult:¥900, U15: ¥350)
Discounts are available with a passport to view artworks and common tickets depending on the period.
Payment Way
  • Cash
  • Credit card
  • QR payment
UD compatible
  • Wheelchair rental
  • Barrier-free
  • Multi-purpose toilet
Services and Facilities
  • Store
  • Wi-Fi
  • Pets allowed
Notes*Temporary closure may occur due to snowfall conditions, etc.
*Entrance facilities are closed in winter.
*The concept of the work is also to let visitors feel the coldness of the water. The depth of the water mirror at the panoramic station is shallow at both ends, and visitors can proceed to the back of the mirror by walking along the wall. If you go into the inner part of the water mirror, your feet may get very wet depending on your shoes. We recommend that you bring a towel.
*Entrance facilities (café, merchandise sales, footbath) will be closed during winter.
Contact
ContactKiyotsukyo Gorge Tunnel Management Office
TEL+81-025-763-4800
EmailSend an email
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