Umihotaru is a large parking area located on the sea.
Umihotaru is a highway rest area on the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, which crosses Tokyo Bay from Kawasaki to Kisarazu in Chiba.
On a fine day, the 360-degree view of Tokyo Bay from the observation deck of Umihotaru is fantastic. And at the restaurants and food courts in the facility, you can eat Chiba’s local food.
This article is about dining and sightseeing at the popular Umihotaru parking area.
- About Tokyo Bay Aqualine
- Umihotaru offers a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay
- Souvenir Corner on the 4th Floor of Umihotaru
- Summary of Dining and Sightseeing at Umihotaru
About Tokyo Bay Aqualine
An expressway of the sea
Tokyo Bay Aqualine is a marine expressway that connects Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture and Kisarazu City in Chiba Prefecture.
The number of users passing through the Tokyo Bay Aqualine has increased significantly since the toll fees using ETC were drastically reduced in 2009.
Aqua Tunnel and Aqua Bridge
The 15-kilometer-long Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line is divided into the Aqua Tunnel, an undersea tunnel, and the Aqua Bridge.
|Undersea tunnel||9.5 km|
“The Aqua Tunnel” is the world’s longest undersea road tunnel.
Umihotaru Parking Area
The Umihotaru Parking Area is located at the point where the Aqua Tunnel and the Aqua Bridge switch.
Umihotaru is a five-story building with many restaurants and stores inside.
It may be called a “parking area” because it doesn’t have a gas station, but in terms of scale, it is a facility of the size of a service area.
The first three floors are the parking lot of Umihotaru
UMIHOTARU’s parking lots are divided by vehicle size.
1st floor: parking lot for large vehicles such as buses and trucks
2nd floor: Parking for standard vehicles (upstream, toward Kawasaki)
3rd floor: Regular car parking (down line, toward Kisarazu)
Once you’ve parked your car in the parking lot, take the large escalator in the center of the building to the fifth floor!
Ordering Chiba’s specialties at a restaurant
On the 5th floor of Umihotaru, there is a food court called “Marine Court” and a restaurant floor where you can eat. Let’s take a look at some of the food menus at Umihotaru.
Asari Shio Ramen at Ramen Nami-ichi
First up is the “あさりとあおさの塩ラーメン (Salt Ramen with Asari clam and Sea lettuce)” (800 yen) from Ramen Nami-ichi, a restaurant in the Marine Court food court.
This salt ramen was served with a large-sized piece of peeled asari clam.
Kisarazu City in Chiba Prefecture, where Umihotaru is located, is famous as a place where you can go cram digging.
This is why Umihotaru offers many food menus with clams as ingredients, such as “Asari-man (steamed bun with clam filling)” and “Kisarazu-age” (fried clams).
Katsuura tantan-men noodle
Next, I ordered the Katsuura Tantanmen noodle (800 yen) from Menya Riku 5K Ken, a tenant in the specialty store area on the fifth floor.
Katsuura Tantanmen is a local specialty of Katsuura City, and is characterized by its ramen soup containing onions and ラー油 (chili oil).
The sweetness of the onions is said to reduce the spiciness of the chili oil.
Umihotaru offers a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay
The view from the observatory
After you have finished your meal, head out to the observation deck from the 5th floor restaurant floor to enjoy the sea breeze and take in the view from Umihotaru. On a good day, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of Tokyo Bay from the observation deck.
The photo above was taken from Umihotaru, looking towards the Aqua Tunnel. The white building directly in front of you floating on the sea is the “Tower of Wind,” which is the ventilation outlet for the undersea tunnel.
You can also see airplanes arriving and departing from Haneda Airport from Umihotaru.
View from the observatory toward the Aqua Bridge
Here’s a picture taken from the opposite direction, towards the Aqua Bridge. It’s amazing that such a large facility is built on the sea!
The Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture is faintly visible in the distance.
Souvenir Corner on the 4th Floor of Umihotaru
Stores offering a variety of Chiba Prefecture’s specialty products
The fourth floor of Umihotaru houses souvenir stores and cafes such as Starbucks.
At the souvenir store, you can find a wide range of Chiba Prefecture’s famous products, such as “Pienatsu-monaka” (bean-jam wafer), “Boso no Biwa” (loquat jelly), and “Shoyu Zarame Roll” (soy sauce flavor roll cake), etc. There are also limited-edition sweets such as “Umihotaru Pudding Baumkuchen” that can only be purchased here.
It is convenient to buy souvenirs at Umihotaru on the way back from your trip.
Summary of Dining and Sightseeing at Umihotaru
What do you think? Umihotaru, a parking area floating on the sea, is accessible by car 24 hours a day, and the night view from the facility is spectacular.
I think it would be fun to visit Umihotaru Parking Area not only to eat Chiba’s local food, but also just to see the 360-degree view of Tokyo Bay.
Access, parking, and fees for Umihotaru
|Access||33 minutes from Tokyo Station by car. The Tokyo Bay Aqualine can be accessed with a discounted ETC fare of 800 yen for standard cars.|
Sightseeing spots in the surrounding area
If you are planning a sightseeing trip to the Boso Peninsula using the Tokyo Bay Aqualine, we recommend these sightseeing spots.