Flowing from Arakawa River and running for eight miles (27 kilometers) through the capital before emptying out into Tokyo Bay, the Sumida River (Sumida Gawa) is Tokyo’s lifeblood. Passing under 26 bridges and feeding a network of scenic canals and waterways, Sumida River offers magnificent views of Tokyo.
A boat ride along the Sumida is a scenic way to explore Tokyo, and you can get on the water in a number of ways. Sightseeing cruises aboard spaceship-like cruise ships take in the districts of Asakusa, Hamarikyu, and Odaiba, affording views of Tokyo Tower, Hamarikyu Gardens, Asakusa Temple, Tokyo Skytree, and Rainbow Bridge. Alternatively water taxis hop between various waterfront destinations, and day cruises run out into Tokyo Bay. Boat cruises are often combined with other city tours and attractions, such as a tour of Tokyo's Asakusa area, a walking tour of Tsukiji Fish Market, or a visit to Tokyo Tower.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Sightseeing cruises typically last about 40 minutes.
- Most boats have an open-air viewing deck, as well as indoor seating with panoramic windows.
- Audio guides are available onboard sightseeing boats in English, Chinese, and Korean.
- Limited tickets are available day-of, so it’s best to book cruise tickets in advance.
- Most boats are wheelchair accessible, but confirm with individual operators before booking.
How to Get to There
Boat cruises run from Hinode Pier, Asakusa, and Hamarikyu Gardens, and it’s possible to board at all three stops. The closest subway stations for Hinode Pier are Hinode (Yurikamome) or JR Hamamatsucho; the closest station for Asakusa is Asakusa (Ginza Line); the closest station for Hamarikyu is Kachidoki (Toei Oedo Line).
When to Get There
Sumida River cruises run regularly year–round, but for the most atmospheric views, opt for a sunset sightseeing cruise or a night cruise. For an even more unforgettable experience, book a cruise to coincide with Sumida River Firework Festival, held in July, and watch the spectacular firework displays against a backdrop of the illuminated city.
Views of the Sumida River
A boat cruise isn’t the only way to enjoy a view of Sumida River. Take a stroll around the waterfront Odaiba Seaside Park for a view with Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower in the background, enjoy a ride on the giant Ferris wheel at Palette Town in Odaiba, watch the sunset along the river from the Roppongi Hills, or soar overhead on a helicopter tour.