Umi-Hotaru: Not Your Usual Truck Stop

There is a road accross Tokyo Bay that is called Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line. Connecting Chiba and Kanagawa Prefectures, this road is unique because it’s half bridge, half tunnel. What’s make it even more unique is the place where you can stop right between the bridge part and the tunnel part.

This place is an artificial “island” called Umi-hotaru (海ほたる, meaning sea firefly).It has all the facilities of any Japanese highway station, but the plus is you get stunning views of the bay. Unfortunately, it was cloudy when we went, but it was fun nonetheless.

There are plenty of restaurants, souvenir shops and even a UFO catcher station which somehow makes you believe that the toy you win there is more special than if you win it anywhere else. The staff “helps” you a lot so we ended up spending a lot of money to get this cutie. They even put your toy in a balloon for free. I saw loads of people getting 5 or 6 of them… I swear this station must run on UFO catcher profits.

Umi-hotaru is nicely designed so you can enjoy views from all four sides. There are many photo spots as well. Apparently you can even see Mount Fuji when the weather is clear, but all we could see was clouds, unfortunately.

Above : not the view we got.

It’s obviously very windy there, so it must be a great place to visit during hot summer days. Here are some pictures I took.


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