A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Opening of “Ken-oh-dou” tomorrow

Did you know that a new expressway will be opening in Tsukuba tomorrow? The name of the expressway is Ken-oh-dou(圏央道) which is the outermost “circle” of the Sankanjou (ongoing highway project to ease the heavy traffic in Tokyo. 3環状 literally means three circularities). The other two “circles” are Gaikan(外環) and Chuo Kanjou-sen(中央環状線). Ken-ohdou will eventually be connected to Narita and all the way to Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture, or Fujisawa in Kanagawa Prefecture. Please take a look at this map for the Ken-ohdou plan: http://www.ktr.mlit.go.jp/3kanjo/kenoudo/

The expressway that will be opened to traffic is actually the 12km-long section between Tsukuba Ushiku and Ami Higashi, but it’ll be the first stretch of Ken-ohdou to open in Ibaraki Prefecture although the Tsukuba Ushiku Exit’s been open for some time now.

The opening ceremony took place last Saturday. The participants were able to enter this highway and walk around! The various events took place such as traditional taiko performances by difference local groups, quiz-rally and the sales of food and other local specialties(click here for the ceremony details). I wish I could go, and I wish I had a time to announce this event here last week….


  • Shaney says:

    Thank you very much for this post! I have been looking for information about this road. The map is very helpful. I am looking forward to the time when we will be able to drive to Narita on the highway. I wonder how long it will take…

  • Prima Cabina says:

    I went the opening event last week.
    My family had an experience to walk around and even lay down on the express way!

    Now the time from Tsukuba to Narita Airport is about 45-60 minutes drive by car (Route 408 is not recommended because it is crowded partially, take local ways). Once the Ken-oh-dou is connected to the To-kan-dou (Higashi Kanto Express way) in 2012, it can be within 30 minutes, I believe.
    But this kind of public projects tend to be extended/suspected because of difficulties of land expropriation…

  • Shaney says:

    I don’t know the back ways to Narita. I always go the simple 408 way because I don’t know any tricks to get there faster. Would it be possible for you to explain the route (perhaps with a map or landmarks) and post it on TsukuBlog? (If it is too difficult to explain, please don’t bother.)

    I went to Narita yesterday to pick up some friends and there was a lot of traffic on 408. I can usually get there in about 90 minutes, but it ending up taking more than two hours. If I can find a back route to go, I would be really happy!

  • Shaney says:

    Prima Cabina took up my suggestion and posted the route on the post entitled
    An Empirically Determined Faster Route from Tsukuba to Narita.