written by Yuka
Let me give you some tips about getting the most out of the express way in Japan. They might me be useful when you go on a road trip!
However, efficiency is not its only merit. By using it effectively, it can make your trip much more fun with great memories.
Service area(SA) and Parking areas(PA) are often seen along the Expressways. Unlike many service areas in other countries, they offer a lot more than gas refill and restroom breaks. Many people in Japan actually put them in as one of the must go spot when they go on a road trip. Depending on the places you go, the service areas are filled with different surprises!
From local food, sweets and souvenirs that are made with local ingredients and to rest area with nice view, also clean restrooms (some times showers as well) or even hot springs!!
Japanese chicken BBQ!!
Everyone love "Katsu curry" (curry with pork cutlet)!!!
Of course, there is cafe!!
You can simply serve yourself a nice and hot Ramen meal while you camp somewhere cold and crave for something nice and warm. (You get the picture!)
These pickles are perfect with rice or just as nibble for sake! They are different from your usual pickles, but since you are in Japan, why not give it a try.
Trust me, they are delicious!
It says "Green tea coke". It's made with Shizuoka's tea. (a prefecture known for its tea) Dare to try it?
Like I said, not just the food, even the restroom is impressive filled with Japanese high tech elements!
Of course, you can check out the information on traffic.
Here comes my personal recommendation!!
Freshly grinded coffee from a vending machine!
The coffee means are grinded right after an order is placed, and then carefully dripped by the machine before it comes to you. How comforting and re-energizing it can be to get a good quality coffee (with a reasonable price) after a long drive!
Next, this is Japanese sweets "Shingenmochi".
This sweets from Yamanashi prefecture. You can get it in Kanto, Tokai, Tohoku area.
Shingenmochi is three small piece of rice cakes with kinako and sweet honey syrups. Kinako is soybean flour. I love it!! So delicious. Rice cake is similar for Japanese and rice is staple food.
Enjoy "Singenmochi" !!!
This is famouse crispy rice crakers "Kaki no tane", normally it's little bit spicy and salty rice crackers (and yam!), but this is covered with chocolate! This name is "Kaki choco".
Salty and sweet chocolate!? Actually this is strange for us, BUT this is awesome!! I love it!!
My favorite one is "Kinako Kaki choco" !!
Kinako is normally used for Japanese sweets, but this is with chocolate!!?? Again!! This also rare! I didn't know this is amazing combination. I think you can get is in Kanto, Tokai, Tohoku area, too.
So, how did you like my brief instruction about the service area? Can't wait to go!?
Like I said, there are even Onsen (hot spring) in some of service areas. Please try to find one of them on your road trip. The pictures I shared here are taken from one of my favorite service areas, while you are on the road, please find your favorite and share it with me too!
If you ever want to plan a customized road trip in Japan, please feel free to contact us, we will be happy to help you plan what you'd like to see or experience.
Thank you!!! Arigato!!