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Updated: July 30, 2019

Several great ways to make water a key feature of your day

When you're strolling through Tokyo's ultramodern canyons of glass and concrete buildings, it can be easy to forget that this is a seaside city full of rivers, lakes, ponds, and canals. Consider this short selection of activities a starting point for exploring your own water-themed day.

General Tips

  • Discover the poetry, park, and ponds of Kiyosumi Gardens, then head on for a lunch at a stylish space overlooking the Sumidagawa River
  • Savor the riverside seasons and a sense of wild nature, then move on to a colorful downtown Asakusa district that shaped the character of old Edo
  • Enjoy a restful evening in the absolute center of Tokyo: Nihonbashi. Here too, you can sit by the river as you dine on delicious seafood and sip excellent sake

Map Legend

  • Walking
  • Taxi
  • Bus
  • Train
  • Water Bus

1

Starting point for a day by the water

Kiyosumi Shirakawa Station

On the Toei Oedo Line and Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Kiyosumi Shirakawa Station is close to the heart of traditional Tokyo. The station is less than 15 minutes from Tokyo Skytree in one direction and from Nihonbashi in the other.

Walking3 mins

2

The old pond

Kiyosumi Gardens

Kiyosumi Gardens offers manicured lawns and lush foliage in any season, plus a photogenic pond with resident ducks, carp, and turtles. At the water's edge you'll find stepping stones formed from beautiful slabs of rock. Winding paths present engaging scenes every step of the way. Trees, flowers, and wooden pavilions make beautiful backdrops for photos to share with family and friends. At the far end of the park is a monument to Japan's most famous haiku poem, which is about a frog plopping into an old pond. To get a sense of the tranquility that inspired the poet Matsuo Basho, aim to visit Kiyosumi Gardens in the morning.

Walking5 mins
An impressive German-inspired structure

Kiyosu Bridge

Just a ten-minute walk away, you will encounter the powerful presence of the Sumidagawa River at Kiyosu Bridge. This 90-year-old structure was modeled on a famous bridge in Cologne, Germany. Go up the flight of steps just a short walk to the left to enjoy lunch in a restaurant with a great view of the bridge and the river itself.

Walking3 mins

4

Riverside barbecue and craft beer

PITMANS

At PITMANS, you can enjoy a meal while looking out at the Sumida River. Their speciality is barbecue, grilled for you by professionals. Try it casually at lunch, or in the evening as a main meal. The home-brewed craft beer and Eggs Benedict (on the breakfast menu) are particularly recommended.

Walking30 mins

5

From Kiyosumi Shirakawa to Ryogoku

Ryogoku Kokugikan, Edo Tokyo Museum, Sumida Hokusai Museum

If an afternoon walk appeals to you, your next destination is 4 km up the Sumidagawa in Asakusa. The riverside path offers engaging sights, including flowers, seagulls, boats, and barges, while haiku on plaques offer a reminder that you are still in Basho territory. As you walk, you will pass some tempting places to visit, including the Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo stadium, as well as the Edo-Tokyo Museum and the Sumida Hokusai Museum, both located behind the stadium.

Walking20 mins

6

Homemade cakes, with a view

Cafe Mersault

Keep walking beside the Sumidagawa River, cross at Komagata Bridge, then walk towards Azumabashi Bridge and you'll soon find Cafe Mersault. In addition to excellent handmade cakes and coffee, the cafe has a terrace seating six to eight people that offers a great view of Tokyo Skytree and the golden flame atop the Asahi Beer Hall.

Walking5 mins

7

The pride of Edo

Asakusa

Now you're just a short stroll from the beating heart of old Tokyo, Asakusa. Sensoji Temple draws visitors from all over the world and is one of Tokyo's must-see spots. But you will find so much else to enjoy in Asakusa as well, ranging from rickshaw rides to river trips, and craft shops to colorful arcades. Visit the multi-floor Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center to explore your options and find out about the latest hotspots, as well as experiences that will take you back in time to the days of Edo, as Tokyo was once called.

Train15 mins

8

No distance at all from Tokyo

Nihonbashi Bridge

An 8-minute ride on the Ginza Line, the oldest subway in Japan, will take you to Nihonbashi, the place that is literally in the center of Tokyo. At one end of Nihonbashi Bridge you will find information about the zero-kilometer marker. This bridge is the point from which, for centuries, the distance to every other location in Japan has been measured.

Walking1 mins

9

Eat in style by the riverside

Ichinoichinoichi

Here, looking out over the dark evening beauty of the Kandagawa River, enjoy food and drink made with Japan's finest ingredients at Ichinoichinoichi Restaurant & Bar. If French fries with squid-ink sauce is too adventurous, there are plenty of delicious alternatives, including steamed sea bream on rice. The drinks selection includes excellent examples of junmaishu sake.

Visit Tokyo > Walks & Tours > Waterside walks, cafes and restaurants