Cycling around Japan is a great way of truly experiencing the sights but there is one thing which is never nice and that’s tunnels. Thanks to ‘A Ride In The Neon Sun: A Gaijin In Japan‘ by Josie Dew (1999), I was aware of them before I came to Japan. Whilst journeying across Japan she often waxed lyrical about her least favourite occupational hazard and said that entering a tunnel was like being sucked into a giant black rectum of toxic effluvium.
Whilst she was referring mostly to countryside tunnels the one featured in this article is very much a city one as it’s not too far from Shinagawa station which is the world’s ninth busiest train station. I had actually been cycling around the Shinagawa and Tamachi area’s on some various photo missions and I was looking to get to the other side of the tracks to see the NTT Communications building up close. It was more difficult than I thought so I had to rely on the maps app on my smartphone to bail me out. It appeared there was a road ahead going under the tracks which seemed a better option than going back the other way. Eventually I found the route to take me to the other side but it was far from conventional!
On making my way into the tunnel I had to duck my head down a bit and my hat brushed against the ceiling from time to time as I went under the tracks.
As I entered the tunnel it did seem like I was entering a secret underground lair or something like that. The perfect place to escape from the likes of Godzilla who, if you remember, did come out of the water at Tokyo Bay and promptly destroy Shinagawa Station in the original 1954 film. Then again, if you know the story of the tunnel in Sendagaya 2-chome then you might be more wary of setting foot in such places!
This tunnel is only 1.5 metres high and it is the lowest in Tokyo but unbelievably it is not the lowest in Japan as there is supposedly a 1.2 metre tunnel somewhere!
Many cars have inevitably had their roofs scratched, particularly taxi cars which have lights or signs on top of the car. There were a few pedestrians too so I parked up my bicycle and wandered back into the tunnel. As the picture below shows, the roof of the tunnel is only at my eye-brow level.
Whilst far from being a sight, it has to be said that this quirky tunnel is actually quite interesting so if you’re ever in the Shinagawa area (with time to kill!) then check it out!
Click here to read ‘Cycling The Yamanote Line’
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10 Tokyo Themed Cycling Rides’