Amazing world of tunnels

Learn more about the tunnels that are indispensable to our lives!

Believe it or notTunnel Legends

In Japan, there are many myths and legends,
and it is the same in the world of tunnels.
Here are some of the conventional beliefs
that were born out of awe and reverence for the mountains.

More legends

Origin of the decorative wood

化粧木(けしょうぎ)The portal to the tunnel under construction is decorated with upswept wood called keshogi, derived from the wood used to decorate the roof of the main shrine at Ise Jingu (one of the most important Shinto shrines). The origin of this wood lies in the worship in the mountain goddesses and prayers for safety. It is made of a thick pine or cypress tree of about 1.2 m, cut horizontally, with both ends shaped like horns.
The root side (on the right) of the wood enshrines Sun Goddess Amaterasu, and the tip side (on the left) enshrines Ugayafukiaezu-no-mikoto (father of Emperor Jimmu).
At the portal of the tunnel, support is installed to prevent the rock bed from collapsing then sandbags and stones are placed to support the decorative wood. A Shinto priest recites prayer. Now the traditional ceremony is often simplified.
※ From Shinobuyama National Highway Branch Office, Fukushima Office of River and National Highway, Tohoku Regional Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

In tunnels overseas, a statue of St. Barbara , patron saint of miners, is enshrined.

No pouring of miso soup over rice

It resembles the collapse of a tunnel face due to a groundwater or a mountain collapsing with water, resulting in falling rocks and slabs.

No dogs in the tunnel

There is a saying that the mountain goddess is a female dog, so another dog entering her territory (the tunnel) makes her angry. She shakes the mountain to drive the dog away, causing rock falls and slabbing.
It is also said that since the mountain goddess doesn’t like dogs, if their cries echo in the tunnel, she will shake the ground and cause cave-ins.