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Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel

You’ve seen the photos before: A massive underground chamber with tall, imposing supporting pillars, and concrete as far as you can see. Many visitors (and many locals) have always wanted to go and see Tokyo’s famed “underground temple” but never knew that they were allowed to, but it’s one of Tokyo’s more interesting hidden spots.

  • Metropolitan Area Outer Underground

    Metropolitan Area Outer Underground

    Officially called the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel, the facility is actually located in Saitama Prefecture, just outside of the Tokyo limits. In order to prevent flooding of the area, and further down into the metropolitan area, this incredible underground system was constructed to hold overflow water from the Edo River and then slowly let it back out again when it’s safe. Visits can be arranged through online reservations (in Japanese only), and of course during the more rainy seasons you’ll most likely not be allowed in for obvious reasons. The cavernous space feels like it’s straight out of an apocalyptic movie set in a future underground world, but it’s very real and very impressive.

    Metropolitan Area Outer Underground

    Metropolitan Area Outer Underground

    Aside from the advance reservation you’ll also have to make the trek out to Saitama (up to two hours depending on where you are) but the trip is well worth it. Before you enter the facility itself you’ll get a chance to see exhibits about how it’s constructed and how it all works in the RyuQkan, a rather nondescript suburban building that betrays what’s really happening down below. Most of this information is in Japanese, but it’s quite visual so you won’t have too much of a problem. After that, you’ll then walk with your guide down a path through a meadow to the main facility.

    Metropolitan Area Outer Underground

    Metropolitan Area Outer Underground

    Once inside you’ll do a bit of walking up and down stairs, so be prepared for that, but once you’re in the large water regulation chamber you’ll not only have an appreciation for modern engineering, but feel incredibly small. The chamber itself is 78 meters wide and 177 meters deep, with 59 supporting pillars holding it all together.

    Metropolitan Area Outer Underground

    Metropolitan Area Outer Underground

    Aside from the famed chamber room, if conditions permit you can also see the 70 meter deep vertical well that brings in the excess water to the main chamber. Again, photos don’t do this place justice, so you’ll just have to see for yourselves.

    Metropolitan Area Outer Underground

    Metropolitan Area Outer Underground

    If you want to make reservations, you’ll need to do it on the homepage of the facility, and all of that is in Japanese. They also require that someone in your group speaks Japanese due to safety concerns, so actually getting your plan together for the visit isn’t as easy as most places. However, if you get all of that in order your best bet is to get there via taxi from Minami Sakurai Station on the Tobu Noda line.

    http://www.ktr.mlit.go.jp/edogawa/gaikaku/

    Shutokengaikakuhosuiro
    Address
    Saitama Pref. Kasukabeshi Kamikanasaki Showa 720 pumping stations
    Phone
    0487470281
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