Tokyo’s Unfathomably Big Tunnels

by Meenal Bhatia

Tokyo’s Unfathomably Big Tunnels

July 24, 2020

This isn’t the first time you would be reading about Japan’s mad lad deeds and its capital city Tokyo over here. Apart from making strides in the female gaming industry, the Asian island nation has one of the most awe-inspiring sewage systems globally. The whole system is an intricate connection of channels and pathways designed to control flash floods and torrential rains. But that’s not it. This drain is open for tourists, and people are flocking to it!

It’s pretty exciting to walk around in this big hole and look at it. Plus, I’m pretty much of a science fiction buff. For me it’s like Blade Runner. It reflected that dystopian future sci-fi in a sense.

- Christoffer Rudquist, Industrial Landscapes & Architecture Photographer

Vast Underground Sewage System

Officially called the ‘Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel’, the channel is a massive sink in the ground. Oh sure, the enormous cement labyrinth houses the gigantic machines that keep a vast swath of metropolitan Tokyo from flooding during a rainy period.

The intricate flood control system, nicknamed G-Cans, lies 165 feet below Kasukabe, a city about 28 miles north of Tokyo. Bureaucrats claim the network of five silos joined by over 6 kilometres of tunnels is the most protracted storm drainage set up in Asia. Each silo can store up to 13 million litres of water, and the entire system can empty up to 7,000 cubic feet of water every second.

Flow Capacity

From there, it flows through the sewages into a massive tank with a volume of 248,508 cubic feet. The top of the tank is supported by nearly five dozen 60-foot pillars cast from 500 tons of concrete. 4 turbines, each with 14,000HP, send the water into the Edo River, flowing into Tokyo Bay.

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The majestic photo captures the strange, vaguely dystopian vibe of the G-Cans, and makes you understand how someone might get so intrigued about a giant hole in the ground.

Tourist Spot

Visiting can be tedious, though, as the monument setting is all in Japanese. They require tourists to either speak Japanese or bring a Japanese-speaking local, but those who can secure a place to this exclusive underground exposition will be in for quite a feast for the eyes.

There are stringent rules to be followed while you are in the tunnels to top it all off. That means no flash photos, no plastics, and only pre-approved electronics are permitted. But it is all worth the trouble you go through to experiencing these surreal tunnels at the end of the day!

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