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  • Alex Gillam

The Tunnel of Light, Panoramic Beauty Like No Other

Few countries reflect on the relationship between man and nature like Japan, and there is perhaps no finer example of this than the spellbinding Tunnel of Light, a dynamic art installation overlooking the picturesque Kiyotsu Gorge.

Made up of five distinct sections based on the five elements of nature, the art installation is meant to connect visitors with the majestic landscape of Japan’s snow country in a way like never before. The first installation, Periscope, sets the tone for your journey, and offers the opportunity to reflect on the beauty and warmth of wood while soaking in a foot bath; look up and you will find a circular opening in the roof that uses mirrors to reflect the surrounding splendor inwards.

From there, a stroll through an illuminated, newly revitalized underground passageway highlights the vibrancy and dynamism of Earth, while the subsequent ‘Invisible Bubble’ captures the cold solitude of metal, giving visitors the chance to enjoy intimate views of the gorge in a capsule-like setting.

Next up is ‘The Drop’, wherein the tunnel is adorned with fiery, portal-like reflective windows that offer a surreal look at the environment in a nearly alternate-reality setting.

The highlight of the visit, however, is saved for the last: in the ‘Light Cave’, the tunnel is lined with stainless steel and filled with a shallow pool of water for a truly unique and unparalleled sense of stillness. From the tunnel, you can look out at the jagged, mountainous peaks laid out before you while at the same time transcending what it means to be an observer – depending on where you stand and look, the gently rippling water at your feet casts seemingly infinite views of the way that art and nature can come together.

Whether you are an art aficionado or an active traveler looking to leave it all behind, The Tunnel of Light offers something memorable for everyone.

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