The Tokyo Cruise company operates a number of river cruises from the Asakusa Pier that make for a very pleasant way to see the city. The destinations from Asakusa are Hamarikyu, Hinode Pier, Toyosu, and Odaiba.
Cruises to these destinations run throughout the year, even on national holidays and they can be booked online in advance or on the day. For popular routes like Asakusa to Odaiba, it might be a good idea to book your tickets in advance. All boats are wheelchair accessible.
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The Himiko & Hotaluna
These cruises feature a variety of boats, but the most popular boats are the futuristic “Himiko” and “Hotaluna” with their shiny metallic surfaces and curved panoramic windows.
These two boats were both designed by the manga and anime artist Leiji Matsumoto, who is famous for his work on Space Battleship Yamato and Space Pirate Captain Harlock. Fares for the Himiko and Hotaluna are higher than for regular boats. Also these two boats have regular maintenance days when they are unavailable, so if you especially want to ride these, you should check the online schedule before you go.
Tokyo River Cruise Routes
From Asakusa Pier the following routes are available:
Asakusa to Hamarikyu
This cruise takes about 35 minutes to reach the Hamarikyu Gardens, a landscaped public park with a pond and traditional tea house. The admission fee for the gardens is included in the fare for the cruise. There are between eight and ten services a day on this route between 9.50 and 15.20. Regular fares are 980 yen for adults and 370 yen for children.
Asakusa to Hinode Pier
This cruise takes about 40 minutes to reach Hinode Pier. This location is convenient for two stations: Hinode Station for the Yurikamome Line and Hamamatsucho Station for the Tokyo Monorail and JR East’s Yamanote and Keihintohoku lines. There are around 20 services a day on this route between 9.50 and 19.15. Regular fares to Hinode Pier are 780 yen for adults and 390 yen for children. There are also some Hotaluna services which cost 1,080 yen for adults and 690 yen for children.
Asakusa to Odaiba Seaside Park
This cruise takes about 70 minutes to reach Odaiba Seaside Park. Here you can enjoy a walk on the beach, plentiful shopping and dining facilities, and scenic views over Tokyo Bay. There are around 18 services a day on this route between 9.50 and 17.30. A transfer may be necessary at Hinode Pier. Regular fares are 1,260 yen for adults and 630 yen for children. There are also some Hotaluna and Himiko services on this route which are priced at 1,560 yen for adults and 930 yen for children. These services are a little faster than regular servies; the Hotaluna takes 60 minutes and the Himiko takes just 50 minutes to cover the same distance.
Asakusa to Toyosu
There are two regular Himiko services to Toyosu which depart from Asakusa Pier at 13.20 and 15.10. The Himiko takes about 70 minutes to reach Toyosu. The main attraction here is the Lalaport shopping mall, which includes a cinema, and restaurants as well as shops (many of which offer tax-free shopping to overseas visitors. Tokyo Gas Science Museum is also nearby. Fares on this route are 2,040 yen for adults and 1,170 yen for children. These services to Toyosu do not run between January 15th and February 5th.
Tokyo Cruise Asakusa Pier Location Map
The Asakusa Pier is easily accessible as it is just a 3 minute walk from the Tobu, Toei, and Tokyo Metro Asakusa Stations. Inside the Tokyo Cruise building, cruise tickets can be bought from automatic ticket machines. These machines have English guidance but staff will be happy to help you out if you need assistance. There is also English signage throughout so that you know where to wait for your boat.
As well as Asakusa Pier, and the destinations listed above, Tokyo Cruise boats can also be boarded at Pallete Town and Tokyo Big Sight. For more details of cruises from all locations or to make reservations check the Tokyo Cruise website.
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos by Michael Lambe, javao/PIXTA, Apple1966/Shutterstock.com. All rights reserved.