|Tremendous Transformation of the Tokyo
The shoals of Tokyo Bay, once a natural habitat teeming with marine life and sheltering abundant migratory birds, have lost most of their natural endowments through land reclamation projects. However, the 80-hectare (198-acre) Kasai Marine Park opened in June 1989 and much of the natural environment recreated along the coast between the Arakawa and the Edogawa, two major rivers that empty into Tokyo Bay. The west side of the park is a grassy area provided for the recreation of local residents, while the east side is a bird sanctuary composed of artificial marshes and swamps. The eastern section of a man-made beach created in the shape of a bird's outstretched wing is also designated as a bird sanctuary and is off limits to people.
The park attempts to restore the natural environment, and with the establishment of nearby hotel and restaurant facilities, it also aimed at reacquainting humans with nature. One can also observe schools of tuna and other fishes, said to be difficult to rear in captivity, darting around inside a giant donut-shaped 2200-ton (2.2 million liter) tank in the aquarium that is located in the center of the park.
In Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture, on the eastern bank of the Edogawa opposite from the Kasai District, lies an urban resort comprising numerous modern hotels clustered around Tokyo Disneyland. After opening in 1983, Tokyo Disneyland created major changes for Urayasu City. Five large-scale resort hotels opened in Urayasu City in the latter half of the 1980s, and the district is linked with downtown Tokyo by a new railway line and a wide, palm-lined avenue. Only fifteen minutes by train to the center of Tokyo, this world of fantasies transformed the Urayasu coast into a modern, resort town and a gathering place for large numbers of people.
Photos: (From top) The aquarium in Kasai Seaside Park; the artificial beach of Kasai Seaside Park (Tokyo Metropolitan Government); Maihama district of Urayasu City (Urayasu City).
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