“[H]ow many Tokyoites are aware of the rivers they cross every day? (A quick survey of friends suggests not so many.) The Wakaba shōtengai [shopping street] is but one example and many other shōtengai were also once rivers. Shibuya’s main drag, Center Gai, and Harajuku’s Cat Street are other examples. The rivers that run under each, the Uda River and the Shibuya River, converge under Shibuya’s famous scramble crossing. It makes sense when you think about it: whenever heavy rain falls on the capital, domestic TV stations send their camera crews to Shibuya for footage of taxis sloshing through flooded streets.
“What is perhaps most fascinating about this secret underground life of the city is that it still seems to be just that — a secret. And in just a generation or two, the collective memory of the city will be erased. What [other] defining elements of Tokyo will be completely forgotten in 50 years?”
– “Rediscovering Lost Tokyo”, by Rebecca Milner, The Japan Times, July 19, 2014