My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: August 30, 2023
See Tokyo from the water. Feel the breeze and the spray as you travel around the Sumida River and Tokyo Bay, a cheer rising from the passengers as you pass each famous spot. Watch as the city flows past your eyes on your journey between Asakusa and Odaiba. Traveling through the city by tour boat gives you a chance to see Tokyo like never before. Watch the city and the crowds go about their daily business as you float by.
The waterways that connect the Sumida River to Tokyo Bay pass by numerous popular tourist sites and historic landmarks. Stopping at Odaiba, Asakusa, Kasai Rinkai Park and other locations, the waterbus is perfect for touring these areas. Spots like Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Gate Bridge become even more breathtaking when seen from the deck of a boat.
While cruising along the water, enjoy the special thrill of passing directly underneath Rainbow Bridge, both a symbol of Tokyo Bay and a key thoroughfare providing access to Odaiba. From Odaiba Marine Park watch the sun set, and then enjoy a sweeping view of the nighttime sky over Tokyo Bay.
Take in the massive scale of Rainbow Bridge, and watch the jumbo jets as they take off and land right overhead—relishing the many impressive sights around Tokyo Bay is one of the joys of riding a water bus. Enjoy the underside view of Tokyo Gate Bridge, which at 2,618 meters long is also called “Dinosaur Bridge” for the pair of metal "dinosaurs" converging at its center. Have fun with the whole family at Kasai Rinkai Park, where you’ll find an aquarium and a large Ferris Wheel that provides breathtaking views of Tokyo’s cityscape and the bay.
Watch the ebb and flow of the tide change the scenery of Hama-rikyu Gardens, a famous public park from the Edo period (1603-1868) located on the Sumida River.
*Please note that as of June 2023, passengers cannot get on at Hama-rikyu Gardens, but they may disembark there.
Asakusa is another of Tokyo’s most popular areas with access to cruises and boat tours. The water bus pier is a walkable distance from the Kaminari-mon (Thunder Gate) at Sensoji Temple. In these neighborhoods, discover how old Japan mixes with the new, like the skyscrapers that line the historic streets and waterways.
Cruising The Rivers and Open Waters of Tokyo
Imagine you are on a cruise ship and discover spots you’ve never seen before with the panoramic view of Tokyo's waterscapes that can be seen via Google Street View.
Tokyo's waterscapes on Google Street View
As dusk falls, dinner cruises set sail along the Sumida River and out to Tokyo Bay for views of the glittering skyline. There are a variety of cruises and tour boat operators, but dinner cruises tend to be popular and need advance reservations. During summer, traditional pleasure barges, or yakatabune, are very popular with locals.
Yakatabune Boat Cruises
Before Tokyo became the modern city it is today, it was Edo, a castle town with moats and channels for transporting people and goods. Today, these waterways weave through central Tokyo and pass close to the Imperial Palace. Boat tours generally leave from Nihonbashi Pier and run along the Nihonbashi and Kanda rivers.
Do some research before you visit to choose the right tour for you. Some operators offer slightly more exclusive champagne cruises, some allow you to charter a boat, and others offer more standard packages for cruising Tokyo’s scenic waters.
Find some of the best cherry blossoms in the city along the Meguro and Sumida rivers and around the Chidorigafuchi Moat. The best time to see these lovely blooms is from late March to early April.
Seasonal Views from the Water