Igei Service Area, Okinawa Expressway
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Expressway service area with ocean views
The Okinawa Expressway is the only highway in Okinawa, beginning east of Naha and ending south of Nago on the west coast. If you’re driving in Okinawa the expressway is a handy option if you’re looking to avoid the sometimes busy roads in the southwest of the island. Igei Service Area is on a section of the Okinawa Expressway that flirts with Kinbu Bay on the island’s east coast. The service area is about halfway between the cities of Kin and Uruma. Where Igei Service Area comes into its own as these things go is that is has views over the sands and waters of the aforementioned bay. In fact there is an attractive viewing platform out the back of the main facilities surrounded by greenery and the occasional palm tree. It all looks a bit colonial Southeast Asia. Not that this is as fine as beach vistas get in Okinawa (thankfully) but for a highway rest area, it’s a novelty at least. I should say that this view is only afforded to those drivers who are headed south, Naha bound. As far as the facilities go, Igei can boast of some sheltered parking spots (a nice touch but one that my experience of driving in Okinawa tells me is not unique). A sizeable wall of vending machines provides all your sugary, caffeinated drinking needs. There toilets here are in pretty good nick and a little stall out front sells soft serve ice cream (Blue Seal, of course). There’s a small restaurant at Igei serving the usual noodle-based fare (dishes around 600 yen) with tables that face the garden out back through some large and bright windows. The Okinawa Expressway isn’t the busiest of highways you’re likely to drive on in Japan and so there should be no trouble parking up at Igei Service Area. For the beach / ocean views, Igei is a stand out.