Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
Walk Across The Bottom Of The Sea! Kanmon Pedestrian Tunnel
Written by Maki
The Kanmon Straits are located betweenShimonoseki city in Yamaguchi prefecture, Honshū's westernmost point, and Fukuoka prefecture's Kitakyūshū city in Kyushu. Here you can find the Kanmon Pedestrian Tunnel, a tunnel that allows you to walk across the bo
The Kanmon Straits separate Shimonoseki city in Yamaguchi and the city of Kitakyūshū in Fukuoka. But did you know that there is a pedestrian tunnel under the sea? Just the thought of walking the ocean floor is exciting, but that's not all.
The Kanmon Straits are on the border of Yamaguchi and Fukuoka prefectures, and though the route from above by train or car will cost you money, walking through this tunnel is free.
Today we'll be introducing the Kanmon Pedestrian Tunnel (Kannmon Kaikyō Jindō Tunnel) located on the seabed of the Kanmon Straits.
Separating Honshū and Kyushu: The Kanmon Straits
The Kanmon Straits divide the largest island of the Japanese archipelago, Honshū, and the southernmost island Kyushu. The Honshū side has Shimonoseki city of Yamaguchi prefecture, while on the Kyushu side is Kitakyūshū of Fukuoka prefecture. The border between the two prefectures is located on the coast.
The narrowest portion of the straits is approximately 600 meters wide and is where you can find the Kanmon Bridge. Other than the pedestrian tunnel we are introducing today, you can come and go between shores by highway, normal roads, bullet train, local train, and boat, but anything other than walking will cost you a fee.
Starting From the Kyushu Side: Moji in Kitakyūshū
There are two entrances to the tunnel. One in Moji of Kitakyūshū, and one in Shimonoseki. Today we'll be crossing from the Moji side.
The Moji entrance can be found in this building. First you will head about 60 meters underground by elevator. Just so you know, above the pedestrian walkway is the Kanmon Tunnel for vehicles.
Pedestrians can pass through free of charge, but if you have a bike or motorcycle with you, you will have to pay 20 yen. Riding through the tunnel is prohibited, so you'll be pushing it along beside you.
Once you get off the elevator you'll find a resting space where you can take a break or get a free commemorative stamp. The air conditioning is managed well, so the space is quite comfortable.
"Shimonoseki Direction" is written on the ground. We will be following this arrow.
Walk Along the Long Seabed Tunnel
The length of the tunnel is 780 meters, which is approximately a 15 minute walk. The road has a slight slope, the middle portion being the deepest.
Every 100 meters, there are direction boards showing the distance left.
There are also cute drawings of puffer fish and other sea creatures, giving a sense of the ocean floor beyond the walls.
The road has become flat, and it seems we have reached the deepest part of the tunnel. We are almost at the prefecture border.
The Border Between Yamaguchi and Fukuoka
"Fukuoka-ken" (Fukuoka prefecture) and "Yamaguchi-ken" (Yamaguchi prefecture) is what is written on the ground. This is the border between the two prefectures. Standing on the border line to take pictures is popular among tourists, and sometimes you'll have to wait your turn to do so yourself.
There are illustrations for Kitakyūshū and Shimonoseki as well. The left is the famous Shimonoseki fugu (puffer fish), while Moji's JR Mojikō station on the right.
Arriving at the Honshū Side: Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi
From the border onwards the path has a slight incline, but it's a gentle slope so you won't have any trouble. Continuing straight we see an open space ahead.
The sign that read "Shimonoseki direction" on the Moji side reads "Moji direction" on the Shimonoseki side.
This sign shows the length of the tunnel: 775 meters.
The pedestrian tunnel was recognized as a road of Japan, and is Japan National Route 2.
55 meters upward by elevator brings us back to ground level and to our destination.
Outside there is a park where you can see the fascinating Kanmon Bridge up close.
Access to Kanmon Pedestrian Tunnel
You can visit the pedestrian tunnel by public transportation. You can get from the city area of Moji close to the tunnel by trolley train.
Both the Moji side and Shimonoseki side entrances can be accessed by bus. You'll be getting on the Nishitetsu Bus from JR Moji station or JR Kokura station and getting off at "Kanmon Tunnel Jindō-guchi" (Kanmon Pedestrian Tunnel Entrance). From JR Shimonoseki station you'll use the Sanden Kōtsū bus to "Mimosusogawa".
Did you get a feel of what it's like to walk across the bottom of the sea? It was my first time walking across the border, and the moment my feet stepped over that line was quite exciting. The locals use the tunnel daily as well, and I passed by some joggers as well as students coming home from school.
Kanmon Pedestrian Tunnel is a unique tunnel that allows you to walk along the bottom of the sea. We recommend you try the experience too!
Kanmon Pedestrian Tunnel
Address: Fukuoka, Kitakyūshū, Moji ward, Moji (Moji side), or Yamaguchi, Shimonoseki, Mimosusogawachō 22 (Shimonoseki side)
Credit Cards: No
Other Languages: Some English on signs
Nearest station: Nishitetsu Bus (西鉄バス) "Kanmon Tunnel Jindō-guchi" (関門トンネル人道口), Sanden Kōtsu Bus (サンデン交通バス) "Mimosusogawa" (御裳川)
Access: 10 minutes by bus from JR Moji station (門司駅), 15 minutes by bus from JR Shimonoseki station (下関駅)
Price range: Free (Bicycles and motorbikes: 20 yen)
Phone number: +81-83-231-1350 (Shimonoseki City Tourism Division), +81-93-322-1188 (Kitakyūshu City Tourism Division)
Website: Kanmon Kaikyō Kankōu Suishin Kyōugikai (Japanese)