The old Amagi Tunnel, located in the center of the Izu Peninsula, is 445 meters long, 4.1 meters wide and 4.2 meters high. This tunnel was completed in 1905 as Japan’s first all-stone tunnel. Kawabata Yasunari, a Novel Prize winner in Literature in 1968, and Matsumoto Seicho, a giant novelist in the world of mystery fiction, wrote well-known novels set in this tunnel. Hence the name of this tunnel is widely known across the country. Before this tunnel was built, the locals were obliged to walk a steep and rugged mountain road over the Amagi Pass, and some of them died of an accidental fall. This was a dangerous route.
A document in the middle of the 19th century, written by Townsend Harris who was the first consul general of the US, being dispatched to Shimoda on the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula, depicts how demanding this mountain road was. As the new Amagi Tunnel was completed in 1970, this old tunnel has come to be visited just by sightseers from time to time, but this is still working as an active one. This stout tunnel made up of more than 35,000 blocks of natural stone has survived repeated earthquakes since it’s completion.
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