Mar 7, 2024
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Kanmon Tunnel: An Undersea Road Trip in Japan

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The Kanmon Tunnel is an engineering masterpiece that connects the islands of Honshu and Kyushu in Japan. It spans the Kanmon Strait, offering a unique alternative to traditional ferries and bridges while defying the depths of the sea. The tunnel consists of two independent tunnels: one for road traffic and one for rail. The 7.8-kilometer-long road tunnel was started in 1937 and completed in 1958, marking a milestone in Japanese engineering. It was the first underwater tunnel of its kind in the world. It also includes a pedestrian tunnel that can be accessed on foot. Vehicles carrying dangerous materials are prohibited from passing through the tunnel.

  • Location: Kanmon Strait, Japan
  • Cities connected: Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture and Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture
  • Coordinates: 33°57’48.6″ N 130°57’33.6″E
  • Highway: National Route 2
  • Minimum height: -56 meters below sea level
  • Length: 7.8 kilometers

Challenge for Drivers

The road tunnel has a steep 6% gradient, which requires caution when driving. The maximum speed allowed is 60 km/h, and you must be attentive to traffic signs. Ventilation is a crucial aspect, and the tunnel has a state-of-the-art ventilation system. The Kanmon Strait is known for its strong currents and tides, which add an element of excitement to the journey. The tunnel portal has a design that expresses the characteristics of the region, with the image of a pufferfish with its mouth open.

In the vicinity of the tunnel, you can enjoy

Tourist attractions such as the Kanmon Bridge and the Kanmon Strait Museum. Delicious local cuisine, especially fugu, a pufferfish that requires special preparation to be safe.

Kanmon Tunnel on Google Maps

Additional Information

  • Railway Tunnel: The 3.6-kilometer railway tunnel was completed in 1942.
  • Ventilation: The tunnel has a ventilation system that uses 120 fans to circulate fresh air.
  • Lighting: The tunnel is lit by 1,500 fluorescent lamps.
  • Monitoring: The tunnel is monitored by a 24-hour surveillance system.
  • Safety: The Kanmon Tunnel is a safe and well-maintained facility. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when driving through the tunnel.

The Kanmon Tunnel is a fascinating and important piece of Japanese infrastructure. It is a testament to the ingenuity and engineering skill of the Japanese people.

Archived in:
Asia · Japan

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