A land known for its creative beauty and artistic landscape, Japan’s sewer system stands apart from any other in the world. The most striking example can be found in the city of Saitama, which features a storm sewer system that is a true work of art.
Typhoons are a dreaded occurrence in this part of the world and to reduce the onslaught of their destruction, the sewer system of Saitama has some unique features.
Its construction includes giant concrete silos, which are 65 meters (213 feet) tall and 32 meters (105 feet) wide. They are connected by 6.4 kilometers (almost 4 miles) of underground tunnels that lie 50 meters (about 164 feet) below the city’s surface. The sewer system also has a giant tank with 59 concrete columns.
The construction of this incredible urban infrastructure began in 1992 and it is open to tourists. The result of centuries of practice, Japan’s first sewage system dates back more than 2,000 years.
Some 1300 years ago, the city of Heijo-kyo had a drainage system network that ran throughout its borders and five centuries ago, a stone culvert, called the Taiko Sewerage, was built around Osaka Castle and is still in use today.
The Kanda Sewerage, which was built in the Kanda area of Tokyo in 1884, represents the first modern sewerage system in Japan. It wasn’t until the end of World War II, however, that it became a national project to initiate the construction of sewerage systems throughout Japan.
In many countries, sewers are a neglected aspect of a nation’s infrastructure, but not in Japan where storm sewer systems are a work of art.