Visiting Daikoku Futo PA for the First Time
An automotive-infused trip to Japan wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of its most interesting car-spotting area. It’s none other than the instagram-famous #Daikoku Futo Parking Area. The sort-of ‘Cars & Coffee’ area for Japan, or perhaps ‘Cars & Sushi’ we shall say? However, unlike ‘Cars & Coffee’, this area doesn’t have any organiser at all. It’s a highway rest-area, and random car meets simply kept happening most of the time. It is especially crowded during the weekends, with car communities holding individual meetings with its members in the district.
The result is a gearhead-dreamland that’s constantly filled with automotive skittles and eye-candies. From beautifully restored classic cars to beefed-up JDM rides to outrageous race cars, it is only at this place that we’ve truly experienced the Japanese’s diverse street car cultures. Yet we didn’t come during one of the busiest times either. We were there on a Sunday afternoon, while most people say that the best times to visit were Friday- and Saturday-nights. Supposedly, some of the most highly-tuned wangan runners only come out at night to avoid unwanted attentions.
Visiting Daikoku was a great experience. However, getting there and going home from there, was an entirely different story. The rest area is only accessible by car, with no links to public transportation whatsoever. As a result, we have to take a cab from the Yokohama station to be dropped off at the parking area. Yes, dropped off only, and that was early in the morning. Later in the evening, we couldn’t find a way back to our hotel; Daikoku PA is a one-way rest-area, and there’s simply not a single empty cab to get into. It’s like being stranded at Bandung-to-Jakarta Rest Area and looking for a cab to go back to Bandung. No way.
Out of desperation, we walked into a police station located in the area, asking for help. Spoke as many hand languages as we could, typed English-Japanese words via Google Translate, and we eventually did manage to tell our story to them. Oh boy were they confused! It’s not everyday that they’ve got to meet this bunch of Indonesians coming to Daikoku only to see cars, and visiting their office in search of a cab!
Luckily, the policemen opened their secured gates especially for us to get out of the Daikoku rest-area. Outside the isolated district, it was an industrial zone. Public busses stopped by every 30-minute-or-so and random cabs can sometimes be seen. After several of minutes walking, we did manage to find a cab to go back to our hotel!