Where Tokyo Controls Its Sewers
I must admit that this isn't the typical tourist site.
And I swear that I wasn't even looking for it.
I was walking around the neighborhood one morning, before moving on
to my next destination in Japan, and there it was.
The headquarters of the Bureau of Sewerage for
the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
I was staying in the Asakusa area of Tokyo.
Asakusa is in Taitō-ku
or Taitō Ward, north of Akihabara and east of Ueno.
That's a great place to stay.
There are several interesting sights, nice budget accommodation,
and transportation is easy.
Maybe most importantly, you don't have to change trains at all to get
there from both Haneda and Narita international airports.
I have been very jet-lagged when I arrive in Japan,
as I'm getting off a 12-hour flight that crossed 12 time zones.
Easy transport is good!
Sensō-ji is a large Buddhist temple complex in Asakusa.
It is the oldest, founded in 618 CE, and one of the most important
Buddhist temples in Tokyo.
It is the most-visited religious site in Japan,
and the second-most-visited world-wide
after the Hindu pilgrimage center of Sabarimala.
When you first arrive, severely jet-lagged, you may be awake by 5 AM.
Go to the temple for the morning service!
It starts at 6 AM.
Smell the incense, listen to the chants.
It's very peaceful, a few people from the neighborhood will stop by
on their way to work.
A bow, a quick prayer, sometimes an irrelevant Shintō-specific
double clap, and off they go.
Starting in early May, the temple becomes a madhouse by mid to late morning.
Large groups move through, talking and taking pictures.
Their tour group leaders are shouting in attempts to organize them.
I was staying at the Nui Hostel at the beginning of the trip.
After 3 days in Tokyo I would head south and visit several other places
I went for a walk along the river before getting my pack and starting
toward the train station.
I saw this map along the riverside path.
Nui is just above the post office on the opposite side of the river:
Look at that, it's the Capital Bureau of Sewerage!
I'll walk past there on my way back to the hostel to pick up my pack.
It's the large square light red building seen in the distance below.
Here it is.
The light colored buildings to the right are an electrical power facility.
The Bureau of Sewerage is the light red colored building.
I thought at first that there might be a small treatment facility here,
between the wall along the riverside walk and the building.
But that's just a parking lot.
The water gates are for storm drainage control, and just happen to be
right beside the Bureau's building.
Some very kawaii signs provide an overview of what's here.
In Japan, even the wastewater is kawaii.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government operates wastewater treatment for the
It is divided into 10 treatment districts, and is serviced by 13
Their web site includes a
showing the districts and the locations of the plants.
The system handles 4.58 million cubic meters of sewage every day.
That is collected from a population of about 8.7 million people
in an area of almost 58,000 hectares.
The system has just over 16,000 kilometers of sewer lines.
Just over 1,000 kilometers of that is the trunk lines,
with diameters of 8 meters or more.
The branch sewer lines make up the remainder.
There are 84 pumping stations.
There are 484,058 manholes providing street and sidewalk level access
to the system.
In 1965, only 35% of the population was connected to the
sewage treatment system.
The percentage grew rapidly, reaching 93% by 1990 and 100% by 1995.
The surrounding area was at 99% coverage by 2015.
They inspect the system with cameras, and use rigid vinyl chloride lining
to reinforce lines where the concrete is deteriorating or the reinforcing
steel is rusting.
Meanwhile, full reconstruction projects are underway.
They plan for a service life of 50 years, hoping to extend that to 80 years.
Of course, with this being Japan, the designs are resilient to earthquakes
and they have backup electrical generators to run their pumps.
See their site for lots more!
Bureau of Sewerage
Tokyo Metropolitan Government