The dam was built between 1956 and 1963 using ten million workers. It is built to store water in Kurobe Canyon, the deepest ravine in Japan. It was built to address the urgent energy requirements of a rapidly expanding economy in the Kansai area which centers around the city of Osaka. The most difficult part of the project was the Kanden (Ohmachi) Tunnel which is 6.1km long and passes through the border between Nagano and Toyama prefectures. The tunnel passed through a fracture zone which released water in conjunction with earth and sand and added an extra 7 months to resolve this and dig through this area.
A sculpture exists on site entitled 'The Six Figures' by Naoyuki Matsuda which commemorates the 171 workers who died while constructing the dam.
On October 13, 2012 Kuniko-san took two of us to see the dam. We parked the car and got on an electric bus that went through the tunnel marked where the fracture zone occurred (and is still very wet) as well as the boundaries between the two prefectures. Then it was a lot of walking stairs and walkways to observe various aspects of the dam. As well as being the deepest ravine, the lake also has the highest elevation of any lake in Japan. Its emerald green water is surrounded by beautiful mountains which were beginning to change colour beginning at the peaks. To my surprise the dam hosts hundreds of visitors and I am sure that the natural beauty of the surrounding environment rather than the dam is what attracts tourists,
Click on Kurobe Dam to see photographs on Picasa.