Laser-based gene delivery is attractive as a new method for topical gene therapy because of the high spatial controllability of laser energy. Previously, we demonstrated that an exogenous gene can be transferred to cells both in vitro and in vivo by applying nanosecond pulsed laser-induced stress waves (LISWs) or photomechanical waves (PMWs). In this study, we investigated effects of laser parameters on the propagation characteristics of LISWs in soft tissue phantoms and depth-dependent properties of gene transfection. Temporal pressure profiles of LISWs were measured with a hydrophone, showing that with a larger laser spot diameter, LISWs can be propagated more efficiently in phantoms with keeping flat wavefront. Phantoms with various thicknesses were placed on the rat dorsal skin that had been injected with plasmid DNA coding for reporter gene, and LISWs were applied from the top of the phantom. Efficient gene expression was observed in the rat skin that had interacted with LISWs propagating through a 15-mm-thick phantom. These results would be useful to determine appropriate laser parameters for gene delivery to deep-located tissue by transcutaneous application of LISWs.