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.