There’s a fantastic way to see Tōkyō, and hardly anyone outside of Japan seems to know about it. Well, it’s time that changed, because the Suijo Bus “Tokyo River Cruise” is fantastic, and if you have the time and like to slow down once in a while, you should really give it a try.
I’d decided ahead of time to try and get tickets for either the Himiko, a teardrop-shaped spaceship of a ship, or the Hotaluna, which is like the Himiko but with a promenade deck on the roof. The day of our trip was a little chilly, so we opted for the Himiko in the end.
The Himiko line starts at Asakusa, just across the road from Sensōji, and travels down the Sumida to Odaiba, docking to drop off and pick up. After it leaves Odaiba, it travels northeast to Toyosu, then returns to Asakusa. Rather than do an entire round trip, I decided to feed my geeky nature and head to Odaiba via the Yurikamome Line, which is an extremely cute elevated and automated transit system.
From Odaiba the Himiko takes a gentle and pleasant trip toward Toyosu, offering great views of the Rainbow Bridge and both sides of the river. As the Himiko was designed by Matsumoto Reiji, creator of the Space Battleship Yamato series, there is the occasional piped chatter between anime characters as they discuss the scenery, and this can get a little loud at times.
You also pass the Asahi Beer Hall with its distinctive Golden Poop. It’s supposed to represent the “burning heart of Asahi beer”, but it’s known locally as kin no unko, the poo of gold.
An hour after leaving Odaiba the Himiko docks at Asakusa Pier, which has a lovely little traditional gate guiding up to the hectic street level. From here it’s just a short walk to Asakusa Metro Station and the Nakamise shopping arcade.
Using the Suijo Bus:
There are several different Suijo Bus options available, departing from Asakusa, Hinode Pier, Hamarikyu, Toyosu, Odaiba, Palette Town and Tokyo Big Sight. Visit the Suijo Bus Website for full timetable information. The Himiko and Hotaluna can both get very busy at weekends, especially in summer, so try to use it on a weekday.
If you wish to use the Yurikamome to reach Odaiba, or return from it, see the very cute Yurikamome Railway Map.
Admission: The Odaiba – Asakusa stretch on the Himiko costs 1,520円 per adult, in either direction. Other costs are on the Suijo Bus Website.