• Japan In Focus

Hyogo: Kobe Locals Bid Fond Farewell to ‘Gulliver Tunnel’

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A woman takes a photo of a passageway covering, locally known as the “Gulliver Tunnel,” ahead of its removal in Kobe.

KOBE — The covering of an underground passageway in central Kobe affectionally called the “Gulliver Tunnel,” as it looks similar to a tool, used in the popular anime “Doraemon,” is being removed from Nov. 6 due to redevelopment of the area.

The Gulliver Tunnel is a fictional gadget in the Doraemon series that allows a user to become smaller by going through the larger entrance and exiting the smaller end.

Located on the south side of JR Sannomiya Station, the A14 exit looks somewhat like the gadget in the anime, making it a local landmark. The passageway led to Hanshin Electric Railway’s Kobe-Sannomiya Station as well as an underground restaurant area.

The exact date when the covering was established is unknown, but it already existed in 1933, according to the city government.

In the area, there used to be four exits shaped like that, and residents would use them to get to tram stops. When the streetcar line was discontinued in 1971, three of them were removed. The remaining one was utilized by those taking the bus or using a bicycle parking lot.

However, the bus stop at the exit was removed at the end of March, so the municipality made the decision to remove the remaining exit covering.

On the last day it was open, fans of the “Gulliver Tunnel” took photos in front of it and walked up and down the stairs.