I recently visited Umihotaru, a recommended [Chiba] sightseeing spot for people with disabilities.
In this article, we have included the barrier-free status of Umihotaru. We hope this will be a useful source of information for those who plan to go on an outing with a disabled or handicapped party.
- Driving along the Tokyo Bay Aqualine by car
- Barrier-free at Umihotaru
- Spectacular view of Umihotaru
- Delicious food
Driving along the Tokyo Bay Aqualine by car
Who did I go with? What made me go there?
I usually use a wheelchair, but on this day, I had a training session and followed the “bane” because there was a kind-hearted able-bodied person who was willing to drive me there.
I was the only one from the same workplace to attend the training, and I was lonely eating alone, so I wanted to invite someone and asked her to join me.
I happened to talk to the person sitting next to me and he said, “Okay,” so I had lunch with the group.
The workshop there is in an inaccessible location and the bus is wheelchair accessible, but I had a hard time getting on the bus in time, so I made friends at the workshop with the person who would drive me there. So I asked him if he could show me some spots that I could go to by car, and he said he would like to go to Umihotaru, an expressway that runs over the sea.
Travel time and directions by car
As for the time, we went there at the end of a training session on a weekday, so we passed through the Tokyo Bay Aqualine around 5:00 p.m. It took about 10 minutes to get there.
How much does the toll road cost?
It cost 800 yen (for a standard car) to go there and back with the ETC fee, which is expensive without the ETC. It is possible to use only the “Umihotaru PA” from Kisarazu City, Chiba Prefecture to Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture without crossing the Aqua-Line, and then make a U-turn and return to the Chiba area. The Tokyo Bay Aqualine was quite expensive when it first opened, but now the price is lower due to government and prefectural subsidies. I hope it will continue for a lifetime.
How long will the Aqualine 800 yen last?
Toll discount on Tokyo Bay Aqualine to continue until March 2025 800 yen for ordinary ETC vehicles The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and Chiba Prefecture have announced that toll discounts on the Tokyo Bay Aqualine for ETC vehicles will continue from April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2025.
ETC cars can pass through the ETC lanes at the Kisarazu Kanada Toll Gate without changing the ETC card in the on-board unit by ETC wireless driving.
If you have a disability certificate, you can go at a discounted rate for the disabled and save money.
Night view of Umihotaru parking area
Rates do not change depending on the time of day, such as morning or night.
The night view was also very beautiful, so I recommend it.
Barrier-free at Umihotaru
A floor map is provided for reference. The Umihotaru parking area is a 5-story building, with the express bus terminal on the 1st floor, parking on the 2nd and 3rd floors, stores and amusement on the 4th floor, and an observation deck and restaurants on the 5th floor, etc. The area was extensively renovated in April 2019 and is very clean.
There were 5 parking spaces for disabled visitors on the 2nd (up) and 3rd (down) floors. I went on a weekday, so there were about 3 more parking spaces available for the disabled. From there, it is convenient to go to the elevator without getting wet in the rain without any steps.
On this day, I parked in the parking lot on the Kisarazu side, so I took the elevator from the second floor to the fifth floor.
Restrooms for the Handicapped
There was one large multipurpose restroom for the disabled on each floor. The door was not button-operated, but rather opened and closed by turning a key.
The handrail was on the side with the toilet paper and the white bar down on the other side.
There is also a hand washing station in the restroom, which is very convenient for those with bladder problems.
Inside the store
There are no steps, so it is very convenient to use a wheelchair to get there.
There are two large elevators and an escalator.
The elevator takes you to the 4th floor (shopping floor) and the 5th floor (restaurant floor and observation deck).
Spectacular view of Umihotaru
Sea view (5th floor, 4th floor)
The ocean color, sunset, and night view from the Umihotaru parking area were all beautiful. Highly recommended for a couple’s date spot!
Being around the ocean, it was very cool, but the wind was too strong to take pictures.
observation deck (e.g. at an airport)
There were various fish-shaped and globe-shaped objects for commemorative photos.
The sunset was very beautiful. At the dolphin sculpture, I was so impressed that I was able to get a miraculous shot.
Umihotaru Shiawase no Kane (4th floor)
I have been ringing the bells of happiness. May you find someone special someday…!
From the Umihotaru parking area, you can see the Aqua Bridge and the ocean on the Kisarazu side. In the opposite direction, you can see Kanagawa and Tokyo. I thought I would be lucky if I could see Mt. Fuji, but it was cloudy so I couldn’t see it.
Footbath (4th floor)
This is an ocean view spot where you can relax and relieve your fatigue in the warm water while enjoying the view of the sea. There is no charge, but there is a charge for towels to blow your feet, so it would be better to bring a handkerchief or towel.
Note that the hours of operation differ between weekdays and weekends/holidays.
It is an amusement plaza for the enjoyment of travelers.
There are many other sights to see, but my legs would be tired and the time would be late, so I took my time later to have dinner, souvenirs, and see the night view.
Restaurant (5th floor)
We went to “Osan Kitchen,” a restaurant with a view of the ocean. It was dark at night, but the seats with a view of the ocean were full, so we dined at a table in the middle of the restaurant.
For my dish, I decided on omelette rice for the first time in a long time. The freshly prepared dish was very tasty. A free drink was also included with the food order.
The food court was quite crowded during dinner hours (7:00 p.m. and up).
If I have a chance to go there again, I would like to have a meal at “Boso Kaisendokoro Kisarazu-an” on the 5th floor….
Souvenirs (4th floor)
We bought our souvenirs at the Uminaka Plaza (4th floor), which is open until 10pm, the last hour of the day. I was told that they have a good selection of goods, so I looked at various items. There were various kinds of snacks, goods, and foods. I will introduce some souvenirs in my next post.
Fuji-shaped original breads are popular “Poltorugaru Cafe” is also worth a stop!
I was very impressed because it was the one spot on the ocean I wanted to visit at least once among all the places I could go by car. I recommend the Umihotaru parking area because it is very barrier-free for wheelchair users. There were wheelchair users and overseas visitors as well.
It takes about 40 minutes from Kisarazu to Kawasaki by Aqualine. Besides, you can also go to the Tokyo area. So, if you live in Kanagawa or Tokyo, why don’t you use the Tokyo Bay Aqualine to cross Umihotaru and come to Chiba Prefecture for a visit? You can visit the large Mitsui Altret Park, Aeon Mall, Umihotaru, and the Boso Peninsula.