Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Ground in Tokyo’s Anti-Flood Tunnel

22.03.2019

WordsSolenn Cordroc'h

Courtesy of Edogawa River Office

Floods have been a frequent problem in the region of Saitama located roughly thirty kilometres north of Tokyo and caused a considerable amount of damage. To resolve this, a monumental structure started being built in 1993. Named the ‘Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel’, this underground structure was designed to remove the excess water from small and medium-sized rivers during periods of flooding. The water could therefore run into a central tunnel, bank and then pressure-adjusting underground space, before finally flowing out into Tokyo Bay via the Edo River.

The anti-flood tunnel, completed in 2006, is now open to visitors. The exhibition is free if booked in advance -it is now temporarily unavailable but will be resumed this Spring- and a guided tour is also available for those wishing to find out more about the strategies implemented by Japan to protect itself against natural disasters.

In the 18m-high main reservoir in this impressively large space, the visitor will discover a forest of 59 reinforced concrete pillars supporting the ceiling, all of which weigh at least 500 tonnes. This ‘room’ is nicknamed ‘The Temple’ and, unsurprisingly, has appeared in films and television programmes.

The Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel promises visitors a refreshing day underground, combined with a wave of new knowledge.

Courtesy of Edogawa River Office

Courtesy of Edogawa River Office

Courtesy of Edogawa River Office

Courtesy of Edogawa River Office