Well, there you go.

With all the things going on in the big city, probably most Tokyo residents are unaware that four groundwater pumps offering free water around the clock have been set up since last summer.

Next to four trains stations along the JR Ome Line in Akishima, these colorful Chikappa filling stations can be found. The name is a portmanteau of “chikasui,” which means “ground water” in Japanese, and “kappa” which are mythical turtle-like trolls. We’re not really sure what those creatures have to do with all this, but kappa do live in the water, so it kind of works.

The purpose is to help reduce plastic waste by giving an opportunity to refill and reuse plastic bottles, and also to raise awareness of the very tasty and clean aquifer that runs underneath Akishima.

But to see how truly good this water was, we deprived our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma of fluids so he would be nice and thirsty, and then sent him on his way to Akishima Station.

▼ Akishima Station

When he arrived at the Chikappa at Akishima Station he was impressed with the dual controls of a button and pedal for those weary about touching things in public with their hands. Nevertheless, to help assuage those fears, a label on the pump says that the door and button are regularly disinfected.

The door indicated that a plastic bottle or thermos should be used, but we didn’t have that in our budget, so instead we armed Masanuki with a plastic cup. He pushed the button and instantly crystal clear water came pouring out.

Our reporter estimated that you could probably get a half-Liter (17 ounces) of water in 10 seconds at the rate it was coming out. These green posts tap into water between 70 and 200 meters (230 to 656 feet)  underground where it is naturally filtered and imbued with minerals.

After taking a sip, Masanuki was very impressed with its clear taste. There were no noticeable chemical tastes that are often found in tap water. It was closer to the bottled water sold in stores.

So he decided to do what you always do around a water cooler: start up some water cooler talk.

Masanuki: “So, uh, did you watch the Game of Thrones finale?”

Masanuki: “Yeah, I didn’t get why the dragon didn’t kill that guy either.”

In fact, it’s said that some people move to Akishima simply because the water supply is so good here. Not just while drinking but for cooking, bathing, and even watering plants, everything seems to turn out better here.

This water station isn’t just for residents of Akishima either. Anyone is welcome to come at fill up at a Chikappa in either Akishima Station, Hiajima Station, Nakagami Station, or Higashi Nakagami Station. They also don’t require electricity, so even in the event of a disaster people might still be able to get clean water from these locations.

It’s just a great thing any way you look at it, so be sure to take advantage of a Chikappa whenever possible. Just bring a bottle instead of a cup so you don’t end up looking weird like Masanuki did.

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]