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Umihotaru is an artificial island serving as a highway rest area and tourist attraction in the middle of Tokyo Bay.It's part of the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line highway traversing Tokyo Bay above and below the ocean to connect Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture and Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture. Umihotaru is built atop the entrance/exit of the undersea tunnel going to Kawasaki.
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From Tokyo, taking the bus at JR Kawasaki Station is most convenient. Buses for Umihotaru leave once an hour. It takes about 45 min to get to Umihotaru. Bus fare is cheap.
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Entrance to the undersea tunnel of Tokyo Bay Aqua Line in Kawasaki.
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It took 9 years to build Tokyo Bay Aqua Line which opened in 1997. It's 14 km long, with 9.6 km undersea.
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It's the fourth longest undersea tunnel in the world.
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Off-ramp to Umihotaru.
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Get off at the Umihotaru bus stop.
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Bus schedule on Umihotaru. You can either go back to Kawasaki or go on to Kisarazu in Chiba.
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Entrance to Umihotaru.
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Umihotaru floor plan. It has 5 floors. The 4th and 5th floors are the main floors.
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Umihotaru has escalators in the middle going up 5 floors.
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The ocean is right there.
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Top deck facing Kawasaki. Dress warmly if you visit in the colder months because it's quite windy.
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As long as they don't do this on real turtles. Must be the Urashima Taro influence.
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Top deck facing south.
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Tokyo skyline. On really clear days, Mt. Fuji is visible.
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On the lower deck, Godzilla footprints. Great idea. Pointing toward Kawasaki. Umihotaru has appeared in a Godzilla movie.
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Godzilla footprint is huge.
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Looking toward Kawasaki. In the center is Kaze no To (風の塔, "Tower of Wind") which supplies air into the tunnel.
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One corner on the lower deck had this impressive display of a cutting shield of a tunnel boring machine used to dig the undersea tunnel.
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Closeup of drill bits on the cutting shield.
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Tunnel boring machine cutaway illustration.
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About the tunnel boring machine.
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Passengers flying to or from Haneda Airport can usually see Umihotaru from the plane.
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Wave breakers
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Helipad
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Umihotaru is basically a parking structure with three levels of parking topped with two levels of shops and restaurants. Top floor.
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Umihotaru has escalators in the middle going up 5 floors.
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Food court with ocean views.
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Gift shops inside.
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Gift shops inside.
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One shop even had Hawaiian goods.
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I went on a Sunday so it was packed with cars.
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Tokyo Bay Aqua Line above the ocean toward Kisarazu, Chiba.
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Umihotaru showing its age with rust here and there.
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Chiba skyline is mostly industrial.
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Umihotaru bus stop.
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Bus schedule at Umihotaru.
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Bus for Kisarazu.
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Tokyo Bay Aqua Line heading to Kisarazu over the ocean. After 2 hours on Umihotaru, took the bus to Kisarazu. Great place to visit.
 
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