Skip to main content

Shin-Tomei Highway

Yesterday, Sept. 30, 2012, a typhoon swept through Japan late in the afternoon across most of Tokai region, the day we were supposed to drive together on Japan's premiere highway.   I had made a promise to a Japanese lady the previous week that we would go driving  on the 30th,  and that we would rent a car for the whole day instead of borrowing her parents car.   My suggestion was that we take the Shin-Tomei Expressway, the newest and most modern highway in Japan.   Why?

I have a thing for highways, especially ones with long expanses of road that stretch deep into the horizon and disappear into the sunset.  Some roads even hug the coastline, while others ascend high up round a winding mountain road, into the clouds seemingly.   The Shin-Tomei was another such highway built just recently that showcases Mount fuji from the driver side window on the right, and a beautiful expanse of ocean to the left.   It is the most linear highway in Japan next to Yamagata Prefecture's  Nan-yo by-pass.  

The plan was for me to teach her how to drive, and to help her gain confidence behind the wheel.   I have been driving in Japan for five years, and have traveled extensively by car to many regions of Honshu.  I was more than willing to assist her in regaining confidence on the road, with my steady guiding hand..  I was glad my approach was effective this time, and that she didn't blow me off.  I was glad she felt so comfortable with me, enough to trust me on a lone deserted highway, at night.

The Shin-Tomei, that beautiful marvel of modern architecture, with so many deep and wide tunnels.   It's like our car slid into each and every tunnel effortlessly, so smoothly...( Spooohhh...sound as we entered into the tunnel from the changing air pressure).  In and out we went, through so many dark and forbidden tunnels, and all we had was each other to look at as flashes  of light hit my face from the tunnel lamps - now you see me now you don't, and with my strong right arm on the wheel.  

Our destination was to nowhere, yet we were on our way to somewhere, but didn't know exactly where....   Shin-Tomei is a highway built with the driver in mind, and to help alleviate congestion on the old Tomei Expressway.   We wound up driving down to the Shizuoka SA (service area), to freshen up from the long, yet enjoyable drive along an ocean view highway.    The service areas have excellent facilities for resting up, and enjoying the natural surroundings.   We were expecting a big typhoon to hit after sunset, so we couldn't take in so many different views, especially with intermittent showers.  Nevertheless, we were able to enjoy each others company. 

The service areas were fully stocked with amenities like gourmet coffees, and wireless stations with maps.   The restrooms were fitted with all the latest accouterments a modern hotel would have, like deluxe toilets and sinks, all fully automated.   The food courts offered everything from Japanese food to Korean food.  

The one thing you may want to considered is what you will do when coming down this far.   One recommendation would be Kawanoe Onsen.   Why come here?  For one, it's about 25 minutes from the Shin-Tomei interchange Fukuroi(?) and will offer some commanding views of the hillside terrain where steam engines chug through on occasion.   That's if you are into seeing steam trains letting off thick plumes of gray and black smoke into the air.   I think it's lovely, and all from an onsen ( outdoor hot spa).     It is one of the charms of living in such a nature rich environment with lots of greenery.   High proximity is important for me, I would hate to drive several hours just to get back onto the highway.

Food Court


The car
In the end, the whole drive went amazing.  What a nice highway date from a new Jukujo!   the soul of Japan.


  1. Really like the last picture and the onsen pictures too! It would be nice to locate where all those wonderful places are! Anyway thanks for sharing!

  2. Hey Akazuki,

    Thanks for stopping by. I should post up the address. Will do.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Shin-Okubo: Little Korea

So I finally got around to going up there to Shin-Okubo,  the land of Seoul via the Yamanote Line.  Been putting this trip off for years for personal reasons;  I am not a fan of Hanlleyu.      I knew why I came up this way, and for none other reason than the food, and maybe to bask in the nausea of Korean romanticist who steal Japanese Jukujo's souls.    But honestly, I like spicy food and stews and pickled vegetables that challenge my taste buds.    I also love the little funky cafes that line the main thoroughfares and alley ways, each with their own little eclectic menus and interior decor.     This place is Korea.  

Shin-Okuba represents more than just a place to relish in Korean culinary delights and K-pop culture, but a place where Koreans can express themselves through their culture.    You can feel the local vibe in the air as you're walking down narrow walkways and footpaths.    I have personally been to mainland Korea six times, so a lot of the nostalgia was there …

August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, especially  in places like Tohoku and Kanto regions.  August is also  the most contentious month of the year in Japan; with the end of the war and war-related guilt.    Then there's the great exodus back home for millions of Japanese.   Obon season is what it's called in Japan, and it's  where families return to their hometowns to remember their ancestors and to spend time with loved ones.  Gravestones are visited, cleaned, and washed; rice or alcohol is often placed on  miniature altars next to a  headstone.  This is a way for Japanese to reconnect with their roots; a way for them to stay grounded and founded in the ways of tradition and cultural protocol.   

For the foreign tourist, some places will be overcrowded and expensive to reach; for Japanese, this is normal and can't be helped.   Wherever you go there will be lines and h…

Japan Board of Education: Amazing Grace...?

Japan Board of Education Textbook.
Amazing Grace
Shuken Shuppan  Polestar textbook English Communication

Preface:  Japanese / Japan is  one of the leading donors in humanitarian aid around the world.   They have donated billions of yen to charities, developing countries, and startup business to just about every country on the globe.  Some Japanese have even taken matters to the extreme  to the point of poking their noses into hotspot areas like Palestine and Isreal, things the Japanese may want to avoid.  Had Japan shared its borders with an ethnic minority with its own government, the relative peace and calm of this country would be questionable.   No other country can be like nor emulate Japan.   So, where does this spirit of charity and altruism come from exactly?   Why do the Japanese feel they need to save the whole world, while caring very little for its own people?   It's the Board of Education...?  The essay below is one such example of what Japanese kids learn in school,…