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Avoid the crowded trains and enjoy expansive and unique views of Tokyo cruising down the Sumida River inside the futuristic Tokyo Cruise boats.
Tokyo is a mega-city with many different transportation options, from Shinkansen to human rickshaws there are many ways to get around this crowded city. During our visit to Tokyo, we needed to go to Odaiba from the Asakusa area. We can of course take the subway there but decided to spice up the trip by taking Tokyo Cruise down the Sumida River instead.
Tokyo Cruise to Odaiba
You have probably seen the futuristic glass-covered boat in Tokyo postcards or poster. There aren’t many places where you can hop on the boat; the main station is right next to Azuma Bridge in Asakusa. The trip from Asakusa to Odaiba on Tokyo Cruise takes 1-hour vs. 40 min on the subway. Even though it takes longer on the boat to get to Odaiba, we wanted to enjoy the views of Tokyo on a beautiful sunny day rather than going underground.
Tokyo Cruise Time Table & Price
When you enter the Tokyo Cruise building, you buy the tickets directly from the vending machine. The cost to go to Odaiba from Asakusa is 1,560 yen. There are 2 of these futuristic boats and their names are Himiko and Hotaluna. Both of the boats go to Odaiba as one of their stops. Hotaluna stops at Hinode Pier (around Tokyo Tower area) and Himiko goes to Toyosu area, where the new Tsukiji fish market is located. The price of the ride depends on which stop you plan to get off.
When it was the departure time, the riders lined up at the departure gate. While waiting, you could see across the Sumida River (隅田川) at Asahi Art Square through the floor to ceiling glass.
Tokyo Cruise on Sumida River
After waiting for about 10 minutes or so, our boat came up the river and docked.
Once you enter the boat, there is no assigned seating and since the entire boat is covered in glass, there is really no seats with bad views. The interior of Tokyo Cruise boats are quite spacious and the seats along the sides have small tables riders can use. Riders also get a clear view of the cockpit area through a clear glass window.
Soon after boarding the boat headed down Sumida River. During the first part of the ride, the views were not very interesting. You see mostly the backside of condos and office buildings.
After 25 minutes, the captain announces the rooftop deck is open for guests to go up and enjoy the breeze and the view. We are not sure exactly why the roof deck is not open from the beginning of the trip. It’s possible that many of the bridges we passed under were too low and the boat might not make it under safely if there are folks on the roof deck.
We spent quite a bit of time on the roof deck once it opened. It is really spacious and you get to enjoy unobstructed views of Tokyo.
After about 40 min, the boat made a brief stop at Hinode Pier where some passengers disembarked and then it continued on to Odaiba.
While at Hinode Pier, we saw an interesting looking boat called Gozabune Atakemaru. It offers passenger cruises around Tokyo Bay with kabuki-style entertainment as part of the experience.
After a brief stop at Hinode Pier, our boat Hotaluna continued on to the final destination – Odaiba.
If you are heading to Odaiba from Asakusa and has a bit of time to spare, try riding Tokyo Cruise down the Sumida River. You can enjoy interesting views of Tokyo’s skyline and not worry about the crowded train. Thank you for reading this short guide for Tokyo Cruise. If you are interested in our travel around Japan, head over to our Japan travel posts here.