Out beyond the northern outskirts of Tokyo in Kasukabe City, Saitama Prefecture, lies the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel. This marvel of modern engineering was crafted 50 meters underground to funnel off flooding in the Greater Tokyo Area during disasters such as a typhoon or tsunami.
This huge storm drain is also a huge tourist draw, possibly due to the fact that it has an almost otherworldly atmosphere, like an alien temple. As a result, it’s been used repeatedly as a filming location and affectionately known as the “Disaster Prevention Underground Temple” or just “Underground Temple” for short.
However, its somewhat remote location – although important for its purpose – makes it a little tricky to visit for most people, but as luck would have it some very attractive transportation offers have recently sprung up. Asahi Motor Corporation will run free shuttle buses between Kasukabe Station and the Underground Temple until Jan 31. The 20-minute rides will run several times a day, every day of the week, and will also make a stop at Roadside Station Showa for those who want to get some shopping in as well.
For those who want a little more from their visit, Asahi’s parent company Tobu Railway will be offering monitor tour packages throughout the same period. These trips will take guests right from the heart of Tokyo to the Underground Temple and back. A “monitor tour” is a travel package with the purpose of promoting more out-of-the-way locations in Japan, by offering free services in exchange for guests’ spreading the word via social media or other means. This one is no different, offering a 1,000 yen meal ticket and free guided tour of the Underground Temple along with free transportation.
Details about the monitor tours and shuttle buses, such as dates and times can be found on the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel’s official website here. For those who can’t attend in time, which is sadly probably most of us these days, solace can be taken in the convenient Google Street View tour of the underground wonder from the comfort of your own home.
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