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Tunnel Tidings: Christmas tree exhibit lights up passage park in southwest Japan

Christmas trees are seen displayed and illuminated in a tunnel park in the town of Takamori, Kumamoto Prefecture, on Dec. 4, 2019. (Mainichi/Kimiya Tanabe)

TAKAMORI, Kumamoto -- A series of Christmas trees have gone on display with seasonal illuminations in a tunnel park here in southwestern Japan for an annual event taking place throughout December.

The venue, Takamori Yusui (spring water) Tunnel Park, was established in a tunnel that was originally excavated with the intention of being used for a railway, but works ended up being canceled midway through after a water breach. Consequently, a 550-meter section of the 2,055-meter space was converted into the park.

The about 2-meter-tall trees for this 17th edition of the "Christmas Fantasy" event were prepared by people from some 50 organizations, including kindergartens, elementary schools and companies based in and out of town.

Visitors can enjoy the event from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Dec. 31 The tunnel maintains a pleasant air temperature of 17 degrees Celsius, and a water one of 13 degrees C, thereby offering a relatively warm way to enjoy the Christmas season. Entry is 300 yen for visitors of junior high school student age and older, 100 yen for elementary school children and free for infants.

On Dec. 21 and 22, the venue is set to stay open until 6 p.m. for a Christmas tree contest, in which visitors will vote on their preferred arboreal arrangement.

(Japanese original by Kimiya Tanabe, Kyushu Photo Department)

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