Ever wonder why Tokyo does not flood as much as other typhoon struck Asian cities? It is because of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area Underground Flood Control Discharge Area in Saitama. The Flood Control area, which is north of Tokyo, controls the floodwaters from five rivers before the water dumps into the Edo River. Three types of tours are offered in Japanese; Pit, Pump, and Underground Shrine. We took the underground shrine tour for 50 mins and 1,000 yen. The underground shrine tour is the most popular and offered the most frequently.
Details in English on all three tours below. Reservations are necessary. If you have a child six years or older, you can visit the Discharge Area. Plan to spend about two hours, which will allow time to view the museum, watch movies and also take the 50 min tour. Tours are not recommended for people with physical mobility challenges. If you are afraid of heights, you may also choose not to enter the second facility. Note: Sneakers are a must. The tours are conducted in Japanese, but much of the museum is in English, so you will understand what you are viewing on the tour regardless of Japanese ability.
What you will learn!
- Where all the water goes before it hits Tokyo
- How the water is managed once in the facility
- How the facility is cleaned
- How frequently the facility is used
What is the Tokyo Metropolitan Flood Control Center?
The Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel (首都圏外郭放水路 “hutoken gaikaku hōsuiro”) is a massive underground flood water strange and management center which is 6.4 KM long and consolidates the floodwaters form five rivers north of Tokyo. The facility was built from 1992 to 2006. As of 2020, it is the world’s largest underground flood control center, although there is one being built in Osaka, which will be larger. The facility is flooded approximately seven times a year, although, in 2019, it was flooded eight times. When we visited in January, there was no flood water. However, if you want to see with flood water, it is best to visit in June (rainy season) or October (typhoon season).
The Tokyo Metropolitan Flood Control Center consists of five concrete containment silos with heights of 65 m and diameters of 32 m, connected by 6.4 km of tunnels, 50 m beneath the surface, as well as a large water tank with a height of 25.4 m, with a length of 177m, with a width of 78m, and with 59 massive pillars. There is also a building above ground called the “Rukyukan” (Dragon Hall), which houses the main offices, the museum, and where your tour will begin.
To experience the center in the case of a flood, you can view on an app. Download here.
Google Play ダウンロードサイト[外部サイト]
Booking A Tour – Make reservations a few weeks in advance.
Three Tokyo Metropolitan Underground Flood Control Center Tours offered.
- Compelling! Pit experience course
- Exploring the deep! Pump fluent course
- Feel free to participate! Underground shrine course
Tokyo Metropolitan Area Underground Flood Control Discharge Area Details
Address: 720 city, Kamikanasaki, Kasukabe, Saitama 344-0111 (google map)
Business Hours: 9:30 – 16:30 (open most days, but check the calendar when making reservations)
Cost: 1,500 – 3,000 yen depending on tour
Website: http://www.ktr.mlit.go.jp/edogawa/gaikaku/index.html in English https://www.ktr.mlit.go.jp/edogawa//edogawa_index045.html
Facebook: facebook page in Japanese
Access: Driving from downtown Tokyo take about 60 mins. Here is a downloadable map to the Area. Train from downtown Tokyo takes about 90 mins to Kasukabe station, from there ride a taxi for about 7 mins.
If you visit the facility in Saitama we also recommend making a day trip of it and visiting the following locations:
The Pocky Factory (Kitamoto, Saitama)
The Railway Museum (Omiya, Saitama)
FlyStation (Koshigaya, Saitama)
Little Edo – The town of Kawagoe
We also recommend the following Tokyo kids friendly facilities.
SonaArea Disaster Facility (Ariake, Tokyo)
Tokyo Water and Science Museum (Toyosu, Tokyo)
Tokyo Gas Museums (Toyosu, Tokyo)
Sumida Incineration Plant (Sumida, Tokyo)
Tokyo Metropolitan Area Underground Flood Control Discharge Area (Kasukabe, Saitama)
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