Tarkovsky shot it using the Shuto Expressway (首都高速道路) outside Tokyo. He famously claimed that he wanted it to be that long, nearly five minutes, to drive away viewers. In contrast, Kris Kelvin's voyage to the space station Solaris, which immediately follows the highway sequence, takes less than 30 seconds.
You can watch the entire sequence on Youtube (below). You can also watch a fascinating "low-rez remake" of the sequence created from Google Streetview digital videos (it's only 2 minutes). In principle, there is no reason I couldn't similarly create a remake of my daily commute on the BQE. I can already hear the MacArthur Foundation calling... Here's the original:
Here's the low-rez remake:
*This extraordinary novel has only recently been translated directly from Polish into English (for years, the only available translation came from an earlier French translation). It is available only as an audiobook; well worth listening to--all 7 hours 48 minutes of it. Hari, is that you?