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Tōge (峠, also spelled touge) is a Japanese word literally meaning "pass". It refers to a mountain pass or any of the narrow, winding roads that can be found in and around the mountains of Japan and other geographically similar areas.
In order to decrease the incline of mountain roads, thereby making them easier for commercial trucks to pass, engineers place a series of S bends in steep roads that provide access to and from high mountain elevations. These passes have become popular with street racers and motorsport enthusiasts, because they provide a challenging – albeit dangerous – course.
Tōge racing's notoriety outside Japan may be largely attributed to entertainment media such as Ridge Racer (The name Ridge Racer can be roughly translated to Japanese as Tōge no Hashiriya) and Initial D.
Race Driver: Grid also features tōge. There is a touge event in which the driver must race twice, once up and once down the mountain, and there is also "Midnight Touge," which takes place during the night and only features one race, either up or down the mountain.
Best Motoring International first featured the Touge Showdown in Best Motoring International Vol. 2 New M3 Takes on JDM Super Sports released in 2001. This is arguably the first time the word touge was used in US media and not translated as "mountain pass" or another English word.
The 2006 racing game Need for Speed: Carbon has touge races known as Canyon Duels, that use the cat-and-mouse/sudden death format of touge racing on fictional mountain routes, such as Deadfall Junction and Eternity Pass.