My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: November 29, 2023
For those who enjoy the ride—on everything from cars and trains to boats and helicopters—here is a course that spans the waterfront area on a variety of transit options.
The course begins at Asakusa, a traditional downtown Tokyo neighborhood. No visit to Tokyo would be complete without spending some time exploring the area, including paying respects at Sensoji Temple and checking out the souvenir offerings along Nakamise Shopping Street. It is only a short walk from Asakusa Station to the pier where the waterbuses depart, located just next to Azumabashi Bridge.
The Sumida River is one of Tokyo’s most iconic waterways. It has long been an important artery for the transportation of goods and people, and was historically celebrated in the popular arts. Today, people are able to experience the river’s charms on a leisurely cruise that makes its way from the city center down to the mouth of the river. Along the way it offers a unique perspective of Tokyo, including the many memorable bridges that span the river. The large panorama windows offer scenic views on both sides as the boats make their way from the bustling traditional streets of Asakusa past the central business district to the forested beach of Odaiba Park. The Asakusa-Odaiba Direct Line is non-stop, but another option includes stops at the Hama-rikyu Gardens—the site of a former villa that belonged to the Tokugawa shogunate—and Hinode Pier*. On the final stretch to Odaiba, the boats pass under the soaring span of Rainbow Bridge, some 52 meters overhead. The non-stop course takes about fifty minutes and is available six to eight times a day. The Odaiba area is host to attractions such as the beach at Seaside Park, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, and the Hachitama Spherical Observation Room, for spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding area.
*An alternative course would be to disembark the waterbus at Hinode Pier, and catch the Yurikamome Line (see description below) from Hinode Station. This route replaces the boat crossing under Rainbow Bridge with the train crossing over the bridge.
For information on routes, reservations, and fees, please go to the website.
From the waterbus pier, it’s a five-minute walk to the Yurikamome Line Station. This line is named after Tokyo’s official bird, which has a vermilion beak and legs. Opened in 1995, it is also Tokyo’s most futuristic train line. The six-car trains travel on rubber tires, making them relatively noiseless. You’ll notice that there are no drivers on board as the cars are controlled and operated entirely by computers. The elevated line runs about every five minutes during the day from Shimbashi Station and passes over Rainbow Bridge before arriving at Odaiba Kaihinkoen Station. From Odaiba Kaihinkoen Station, the Yurikamome Line makes a stop at Tokyo Big Sight Station, one of the city’s premier convention and exhibition spaces. It is also the most convenient line to many of the sports facilities built for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, including the Ariake Arena, which became a sporting and cultural center after the games. Other events held at locations along the route included gymnastics, the triathlon, BMX cycling, and tennis. The line runs 14.7 kilometers from Shimbashi Station through Ichiba-mae Station, home to Tokyo’s famous fish market, and terminates at Toyosu Station.
The fare on the Yurikamome Line from Odaiba Kaihinkoen Station to Toyosu Station is ¥330 for adults, and ¥170 for children. It takes 18 minutes.
For the automobile leg of this route, follow the signs to the taxi stand to the north of the station. Here you can take one of over 40,000 Tokyo taxis to the Tokyo Heliport. Japanese taxi doors are controlled automatically by the drivers, who keep their cars clean and well-maintained. The ride to the heliport is 6.5 kilometers and will take 15 to 20 minutes. (Wearing a seat belt is compulsory.)
The fare will range from approximately ¥2,700 to ¥3,300, depending on traffic.
Tokyo Heliport has been the home port for Tokyo-based helicopter companies since 1972. It hosts berths for helicopters belonging to government organizations, news agencies, and private companies. It is also home to tour services for those looking for a bird’s-eye perspective of Tokyo Bay and other locations. While there are longer flights, including some that circle the TOKYO SKYTREE, today we are staying focused on the waterfront. The flight plan for the 10-minute cruise over Tokyo Bay includes such Tokyo icons as Tokyo Tower, Rainbow Bridge and the brick-clad façade of Tokyo Station. The stunning sight of the broad expanse of the Tokyo metropolis matched by the waters of Tokyo Bay on the horizon makes for a perfect end to a day on the move.
The fare for the 10-minute helicopter cruise over Tokyo Bay starts from ¥39,600.
Reservations can be made online. Please check the website for information on routes and fares.