An Amazing Sight! - Day Trip from Tokyo - Waku Waku

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An Amazing Sight! - Day Trip from Tokyo

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An Amazing Sight! - Day Trip from Tokyo

Visit the building the keeps Tokyo from flooding every rainy season!

Stacy Mizuguchi

Stacy Mizuguchi

Published on 07 Sep, 12:00

This day trip is under an hour and a half train ride from Tokyo is Minami-Sakurai Station - From there, you get on a free shuttle bus that takes you on a 10 min drive out into the Saitama countryside. An inconspicuous brick building holds a big secret!!

Ok, so it's not really a secret. The Underground Discharge Channel (not a very glamorous name, but bare with me) was completed in 2006 and (according to wikipedia) is the world's largest underground flood water diversion facility!

Located in Kasukabe, Saitama, the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel was built to help divert flood waters from Tokyo and the local area. As the land is under sea level, it was prone to frequent flooding. The facility was built and is maintained by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. They open the area up to a small group of people a few days out of the month.

The tour begins in the RyuQkan, which is a museum dedicated to explaining how and why the facility was built. They allow you to look into the control room, where they monitor the facility and track any potential dangerous weather systems.

There are many models and displays showing how the facility works, some have English explanations. You can also see photos and autographs from the many TV shows and such that have used the Underground Discharge Channel for filming!

Once you see the Underground, you'll understand why it's in such high demand for TV, music videos and movies
How the facility works
How the facility works

Control Room
Control Room

After paying the entrance fee (500 yen) and hearing a short presentation about the facility, (unfortunately all in Japanese) we were counted and escorted to the entrance to the underground. At this time, they also had a quick look at everyone's footwear.

Due to safety reasons if you are wearing high heels or sandals you are not allowed in the facility

It was a very hot and humid day, but we were excited at the sign that posted the temperature of the underground, 19 degrees Celsius! After going through the doors we descended over 100 stairs and finally could see the facility. 59 eighteen meter tall pillars towered over us and the area was just… huge. It's really not done justice in photos, I recommend that you go see it yourself if you can!

18m high pillars
18m high pillars

An Amazing Sight! - Day Trip from Tokyo

The area we were allowed to explore was small compared to the whole underground area unfortunately. There were ropes on the floor marking the areas we weren't allowed to enter.

I didn't check my watch, but I felt we were given about 20 mins to look around and take photos. Many people came with cameras and weren't disappointed with the photo opp.

After the underground tour was finished we climbed back up the over 100 stairs and then were shown another area in a separate building. This part was nice but we had to line up one by one to see down in the large tunnel and the view was partially obscured. This being the last part of the tour, it felt very anti-climatic. I think they should have shown us this first!

We were then escorted back to the RyuQkan and given a survey to fill out. I’m very glad I was able to see this area and learn about the underground flood prevention plan that Japan has in place.

I highly recommend you go check it out if you are able. The size of the underground is incredible and needs to be seen to feel the real magnitude of the place!

To book a tour, please go to the official website. It's all in Japanese but offers some great photos of the area too, places we weren't able to visit!

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Stacy Mizuguchi

Stacy Mizuguchi

Canadian living in Japan. Came here for work over 5 years ago, got married and now I'm here for good! I'm having fun studying Japanese, youtubing and traveling!

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