It was made for me… and my car.

Our Japanese writer Haruka Takagi is no stranger to exploring claustrophobic spaces, but typically they’re not locations intended for cars to travel.

However, the Hayama 2nd Tunnel in Okayama Prefecture’s Takahashi City is just about as tight a squeeze as it can get while still remaining open for vehicles. Considering Okayama is known for its bad drivers, that makes it potentially even more terrifying.

As soon as Haruka heard about it, she had to check it out.

▼ About 15 minutes out from Takahashi City, she knew she was getting close when she saw this warning sign: “Up ahead, large vehicles CANNOT PASS.”

Haruka felt that the road was already a little narrow for any large vehicles anyway, so she had a hard time imagining things getting much worse.

Until five minutes later, when things got worse. 

▼ Wait… that’s a tunnel? It looks more like a cave!

The sign in front of the opening warns that it’s only 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) tall. Considering most cars are somewhere around just under two meters tall, and slightly-shorter overpasses don’t even allow cars at all, that doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room.

The tunnel was only 32 meters (105 feet) long, but it felt at least twice that long to Haruka. Probably because the inside was pitch black, and she was concentrating so hard on driving safely through it.

▼ It’s not any more spacious coming out the other end either.

▼ Thankful for the brightness, and to be out of the tunnel, she parked to take in the view.

While most tunnels are carved to have a square or circle shape, this one just felt like it was a crack through the limestone mountain. Just looking at it, Haruka felt like the whole thing could crumble down at any moment.

The whole thing was so bizarre, like something out of The Enigma of Amigara Fault by horror manga artist Junji Ito. In the story, a bunch of people find “tunnels” in a mountainside that are shaped like them and that they barely fit into, and they are compelled to walk through them. Just like how this tunnel barely fits the cars going through it.

Oddly enough, there were people drawn to this location too, though for a different reason. The tunnel is actually a popular rock climbing location, and there were plenty of people out having fun.

▼ Although watching people rock climb right above a regular prefectural road, and not far away in some remote location, definitely felt weird.

▼ There was also this totally not creepy map that showed the paths through the limestone caverns inside the mountain…

▼ …but going inside the cavern was so dark that Haruka couldn’t take more than a few steps. Let’s leave that place to the pros!

▼ While investigating the cavern, a few more cars drove past behind her, and she was always shocked at how little room they had to pass through.

According to Takahashi City Hall’s website, the tunnel’s construction began in 1914 and didn’t finish until 1928. It was all carved out by hand, using chisels and pickaxes, leaving behind marks that you can still see on the walls inside.

And because Haruka apparently hadn’t had her fill of creepy tunnels, she went a little bit further north to check out the “Hayama 1st Tunnel” too.

▼ It was a tad more spacious but potentially even more terrifying looking.

▼ …did we say potentially? We meant definitely more terrifying.
The inside is allegedly concrete, but it looks more like an alien intestine.

Well at least there were no boarded-up doors with signs saying “No Tresspassing” on them or anything. That would just be so cliched and ridiculous and—

▼ Oh. Would you look at that.
No, Haruka! Stop! Don’t go inside…!

▼ Too late. There was a canal behind it.
Water flowing into the darkness. Forever.

And now, we flow with it. Flowing to the same final destination as the night train.

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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