Kamenose Tunnel, located on the border between Osaka and Nara prefectures, is a historic site representing the region’s struggle against landslides. Although it is registered as a Japan Heritage, it is still an unexplored area few people know about.
With the start of projection mapping in 2023, this sightseeing spot is gradually attracting attention.
What is Kamenose Tunnel?
The Kamenose Tunnel is located in Kashiwara City, Osaka Prefecture, and connects Osaka and Nara Prefectures. Originally, the ground in this area has been soft, and the area has long been battling landslides. The carbon dating of wood chips found in the soil indicates that landslides had already occurred 40,000 years ago. The area is called “Fearful Slope (Osore no saka)” in the Manyoshu, Japan’s oldest anthology of poetry dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries, showing the long history of landslides.
Although the area is prone to landslides, this location has long been a key point that connects Osaka and Nara, two important political and commercial centers, and a route from Osaka to Nara was built.
It was 1889 when construction began in such a place. The construction was completed in 1892 but unfortunately collapsed due to a large landslide in 1932. And the tunnel was closed and remained unseen for a long time.
In November 2008, however, 80 years after the collapse, part of the tunnel was discovered in its original state while digging a tunnel to drain underground water to prevent a landslide. It is now registered as a part of the Japan Heritage as a valuable historic site.
#1 Meaning of Kamenose
“Kamenose” literally means “turtle river” in English. It is said that the name originated from a big rock like a turtle’s shell called “turtle rock” in the Yamato River that flows near this tunnel. According to a legend, a landslide will occur on the mountain next to the river when the turtle rock moves.
The landslide has calmed down due to one of the world’s largest prevention works using piles and a drainage and soil drainage system. The remains of the construction work, which took about half a century, have been hidden underground, and the area is now a beautiful natural landscape.
Projection-mapping in the Tunnel
From January 2023, projection mapping is being screened in the tunnel and offering a unique combination of a historical place where time stands still over 100 years and modern projection mapping technology, making it a very popular attraction.
Videos related to the tunnel, such as the neighborhood’s history, beautiful cherry blossom trees, a dragon in folklore, and a steam locomotive that once ran through the tunnel, will be projected for about 15 minutes, beautifully and fantastically decorating the walls.
*Reservations are required for the projection mapping (maximum of 40 people per showing).
How to make a reservation
You can make a reservation by filling out the online reservation form. (Currently, it is available only in Japanese.)
・Reservations for projection only
(approx. 15 minutes)
・Reservations for Japanese guided tours, including projection mapping
(approx. 60-90 minutes)
*Both tours are free of charge.
Projection-mapping menu & timetable
Reservations are required.
Bring your own beverages since few vending machines are available in the Kamenose area.
Projection-mapping viewing only
(1)10:00 (2)10:45 (3)11:30 (4)13:00 (5)13:45 (6)14:30 (7)15:15 (8)16:00
Sundays and holidays
(1)09:30 (2)10:30 (3)11:30 (4)13:30 (5)14:30 (6)15:30
*Maximum of 40 people for each viewing.
Guided tour (with projection -mapping)
Sundays and holidays
(1)10:15 (2)11:15 (3)13:15 (4)14:15
(Approx. 90 minutes tour)
(1)9:30 (2)10:45 (3)13:00 (4)14:15 (5)15:30
(Approx. 60 minutes tour)
*Maximum of 10 people for each tour.
*During the guided tour, volunteer guides will show you the tunnel, its archives building, and a drainage tunnel.
*The event will be held rain or shine but will be canceled if there is a weather warning (heavy rain, flood, wind storm, heavy snow, rain storm, or special warning) or a landslide warning issued for Kashiwara City at 7:00 am.
*The tour may be canceled due to natural disasters, equipment malfunctions, or other circumstances.
28-1, Touge, Kashiwara-shi, Osaka
20 minutes on foot from Kawachi-katakami Station on the JR Kansai Main Line (Yamato-ji Line)