THINGS TO DO
Michi no eki Motegi is a famous road station here in Tochigi prefecture due to the town’s famous Twin Ring Motegi circuit which held national and international racing competitions. So this place is a stopover for everyone who travels via road to the famous circuit or any other itineraries nearby. It’s not just a simple road station but there are lots of things to do here especially for everyone like eating, musical events, picnics, strolling, playing, and watching the steam locomotive passing by. This place has an array of shops, outdoor food stalls, playgrounds, lawn for picnics, and an old American house that serves as a museum as well. It is called Old Dato Kodato’s house. So for those who are interested in history and vintage things, a visit to this house is a great experience and you can feel what it’s like living inside this house in the ancient times in the United States. The visit is free of charge but they are not always open. They will accept visitors on special holidays like Golden week.
EAT AND SOUVENIR SHOPPING
Just like any other commercial establishments in Japan, michi no eki Motegi has signature cuisines that only this place produces. It’s the famous Yuzu ramen that was featured in many magazine and TV channel. It has a distinctive taste that only this place produce originally. People from other places flock to this small restaurant and on weekends and special events, they open up an outdoor restaurant in the plaza area to expand their dining place. And not just the ramen but they have the famouse Tetsukuri icecream which is available in many flavors. These homemade ice cream are not too sweet but just the perfect taste and reasonably priced. Best seller flavors are strawberry, strawberry milk and matcha. There are long queues during weekends and special occasions. Aside from the ice cream, they have takoyaki and tayaki which are best sellers as well.
On the other side of the building is the famous Yuzu no sato baum kuchen or round cakes that resemble a chiffon cake. It is a best seller delicacy in town and it is best eaten with a cup of hot coffee. Last but not least is the famous boat-shaped building which houses the soba restaurant and these soba set taste great, it looks like your grandmother is cooking for you. And beside the restaurant is the farmer’s market which sells local produce at very affordable prices. Recommended products, especially during summer, is watermelon which is cheaper compared to the supermarket price.
Near the parking area of michi no eki is the souvenir shop that sells handmade items and locally produced food items which are rare and cannot be seen in supermarkets and other road stations. I think it is a must to taste one of their products if you don’t live in Tochigi prefecture. It will gave you a taste of furusato or hometown.
The plaza at the middle of this road station has an interesting stage with artwork and they host several music festivals and fireworks displays here. It serves as an entertainment area for those who live in nearby towns. It is mostly free of charge and they have family-friendly events as well.
Michi no eki Motegi is accessible through car which is the most convenient way and Moka rail or Steam locomotive which stops at Motegi station then a taxi ride for about 10 minutes.
In my own experience, this place is family-friendly, affordable and there is a balance of nature and entertainment as well. As an outdoor person, I prefer to visit this place than shopping malls because you can experience local cuisines, nature and other interesting things especially if the weather is good. My recommended time to visit this place is during spring when plum and cherry blossoms are at its peak and May during Golden week in which they display the koi no bori or carp streaming during Children’s day. During autumn as well in which they host a music festival and fireworks display. December is great too because of its winter illumination.