Japanese Underground Bunker in Bukittinggi


In the second world war, Japanese won in many places in Asia. They swept out many European colonization in Asia, including Dutch in Indonesia which had been accupied by Dutch for almost 300 years. Really 300 years?? The new theory now starts arguing that.

Japanese occupation lasted during 1942 to 1945. During that period Japanese had fought against the allied forces. In 1944 the Japanese Army landed in Belawan Port, North Sumatera and marched to the South. They found Bukittinggi with its Ngarai Sianok, was an ideal and strategic place for the center of Japanese defence in Sumatera.


Lobang Jepang or Japanese underground bunker, the figure on the left, is located in the centre of Bukittinggi town, at the Panorama Garden. It is the site view to Ngarai Sianok. This site is visited either by local and foreign tourists at Sunday and the other holidays. “Lobang” is more appropriately called Japanese “Bunker”. It was established in March to June 1944 for the interest of Japanese’s army entrenchment during 2nd World War.

Lobang Jepang is created based on the instruction of Japanese’s Army Military Government (25th Army) for Sumatera region which is positioned in Bukittinggi under the command of Moritake Tanabe as a General Army of Sumatera’s entrenchment.

Seeing the hilly topography of this city, valleys and canyons, then General Toriko Tanabe ordered the construction of tunnel hole which is more popular known as “Lobang Jepang”.The establishment is done by human labor forced (Romusha Kisohoshi) on military requirement. At the beginning, it is done voluntarily, then it turned into forced labour (romusha). Many workers were imported from Java.


Since the work was done by forcing, many people died in the workplace. It was also caused by exhaustion and lack of food. When the workers rebel, they would be whipped and shot until they died.

This tunnel is made at the depth of 40 to 50 metres (underground). The lenght of this tunnel is 1470 metres which is divided into 20 (twenty) rooms; bedroom, hiding room, treatment room, kitchen, prison and ammunition repository. The design of room is deliberately made tortuous with several trap rooms. The bunker can house 1000 troops and protect the troops from as large as 500 kilogram TNT.

The Local government thought that if the interior wall of the bunker is cemented, it would strengthen the bunker against the earthquake but apparently not. The cement was cracked by the earthquake but the bunker was not.

The original wall exhibited the geological formation of the subsurface. It was from volcanism lithology. Then it can be a museum of geology as well. People could learn geology from the bunker wall but it could not now. Some of the wall is still expose and not cemented. It showed the section of quarternary volcanism that was chatacterized by the existence of pumice stones.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

About Arif Wibowo

Passion on Photography Live in Jakarta, Indonesia. Working in oil and gas company. Like traveling, bicycle, and photography. Born in Sukabumi, West Java. Graduate from Physics ITB 1985.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s