G-Cans Tunnel Project & Omiya
Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
70Trip End Mar 17, 2013
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I had arranged for a guide with Tokyo Free Guides. He met me at my hotel and we set off for the G-Cans Tunnel Project, which is located about 30 kilometers north of the city. The G-Cans Tunnel Project is in a low-lying area that frequently suffered severe flooding. As Tokyo had expanded the area became home to about three million people. The project's aim was to prevent flooding in this area. It does this by buffering water in five huge underground, vertical cylinders. A tunnel connects the bottoms of these cylinders so water can flow between them. When the cylinders fill to the level of the large underground viaduct at the level of the top of the cylinders water is fed to an enormous pump that pumps the water up and into a nearby river that does not have a flooding problem.
The tour started in the building that contains the pump . Before the tour started I was shown a movie in English that explained the system. Then when the tour started we were shown what seemed to be a similar movie in Japanese as well given a verbal description, also in Japanese. We were then taken to the roof of the building. From there we could see the ground above three of the cylinders, the area over the large viaduct although there are few signs there's anything underneath and where the water is discharged into the river.
We then exited the building and walked to the far end of the viaduct near the closest cylinder. We then entered a small building that covered the top of a staircase down to the bottom of the viaduct. We were allowed to wander around in a small portion of the viaduct. After a while we went back upstairs and the tour was over. We didn't get to see the actual pump or look down into the cylinder.
Next we went to the town of Omiya. When Tokyo was being re-built after an earthquake in 1923 the bonsai growers were all put together in a portion of this town. The number of bonsai growers has shrunk over the years but there are still around 10 of them in the original neighborhood, which also now contains the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum.
We wandered around the streets and visited some of the bonsai growers. We then visited the bonsai museum. For some reason, you're not allowed to take pictures at any of the growers or in the museum except for one small area.
After touring the museum we found a cafe and ate lunch. We then caught a train and headed for my hotel. We had been discussing my restaurant plans and somehow I had gotten my days confused and thought that today was the day I had a reservation at Nihonryori RyuGin and that today's guide was the one who had said he'd leave me there at the end of the day. When he said he was going to leave me at the hotel I was concerned since I had no idea how to find the restaurant and no way to print any information I might find online. He agreed to take me there.
We took the metro to the Roppongi stop. We then wandered around a while and after a phone call or two we found the restaurant. I said goodbye to my guide and wandered around the neighborhood a while until it was nearly time for my dinner.
I wandered back to the restaurant and went in. I was informed that I was a day early. After thinking about it briefly, I realized she was right. I don't know what had happened that got me thinking the reservation was today. When we were trying to find the restaurant I pulled out the address and phone number, which were in my itinerary for a different day but neither of us ever noticed. I left and headed back to my hotel. At least I know how to find it tomorrow.