October 12th. ’17
Mitou Service Area
After some hesitation, as it had been raining all afternoon, we left home about 9pm. The rain had eased but there was still a fine on and off drizzle on the windscreen. We had an uneventful drive straight through to the Mitou service area on Chugoku Expressway and arrived about 11.30pm. By the time we had set up the bedding and had a nightcap, we slept around midnight.
Mitou SA to Gareria Kameoka michi no eki
Mitou was quieter than expected and we slept reasonably well for a first night of a trip. We woke around 8am. And left Mitou between 9 and 9.30 for a long drive on the Chugoku Expressway. I really like this road. There is virtually no traffic. It is quite common for the expanse of highway both in front and behind on both carriageways to be devoid of any other vehicle and when a vehicle does appear it is most frequently a yellow, Nexco patrol SUV.
This time, for no apparent reason, an 80 k.p.h. restriction was in place on an empty highway in daylight and in dry weather. Absurd. There was one exception to this where, for a stretch of 50 kilometres or so, the limit was inexplicitly dropped to 60 k.p.h.
Leaving the highway thinking to make it to Lake Biwa, but it is too late in the day, so we stop at michi-no-eki Gareria Kameoka.
＊Mitou SA to Kameoka city, Kyoto pref. ; about 6h.
Gareria Kameoka michi no eki
As michi no eki go, this one is not very pleasant. It is right on Route 9. in the middle of the city and a very concrete affair all round. It is very busy and popular despite that as it provides free parking with easy enough access to Kyoto.
We walk to the railway station area and eat in an izakaya specializing in nabe. This was disappointing as a culinary experience but the walk was necessary after driving all day. There are other places to eat around the Aeon near the station and an Okonomiyaki place on the other side of Route 9 from Gararia but we didn’t try it.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.