Matsumotos Corner Vol.20

Service Areas (or Rest Areas)

- Oasis on the Expressway -

The other day I had a chance to travel from Osaka to Tokyo on a night express bus. Sadly, many restaurants are now shortening their opening hours at night due to the spread of COVID-19. But it’s always a relief to see the lights of a service area (or rest area) when on a dark highway.

Many of Japan’s expressway service areas are large and attractive places to stop for more than just a toilet break and a rest. In addition to local specialities and restaurants, some now offer accommodation, showers, hot springs and even amusement parks. In those with gates that allow you to enter the facilities from the local road, you don’t need to be an expressway user to use them.

When driving long distances by car or motorcycle, it would be a good idea to stop at such a large service area with good facilities for a rest and a change of pace to ensure safe driving. But I also love those open-air service areas on Malaysian expressways. Because, above all, you can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere there, and as a foreigner, I can find Malaysian foods and snacks in the stalls that I don’t usually see.