Font size
  • S
  • M
  • L

Tokyo Viewed from its Rivers

On a spring afternoon, Vanessa and Claude find themselves at a pier along the Sumida River. They have been brought there by Toru, a work colleague.

Tokyo Viewed from its Rivers

Vanessa

Toru, today have you perhaps invited us for a hanami (a cherry-blossom viewing party)?

Toru

Yes, I want to show you some special hanami spots that you can keep in mind for future reference. I hope you enjoy the experience.

Claude

However, around here it’s basically the sea?

Toru

That is true. Here is the mouth of the Sumida River. Today, I was hoping that we would hop on a boat and head upstream.

Vanessa

Really? It will be the first time that I have been on a boat in Tokyo.

Claude

The same for me. Thinking about it, somewhat unexpectedly, Tokyo has numerous rivers.

Toru

Yes, back when Tokyo was still known as Edo, it was very much a “water capital” in that both rivers and canals crisscrossed freely through it.

Claude

You make it sound like Venice!

Toru

As to Edo’s citizens, they both transported goods by boat and used the city’s watercourses to get around. It is said that they entertained themselves on the water as well with drinking parties and the viewing of fireworks. Even today, there are still some yakata-bune (traditional pleasure craft) that remain.

Vanessa

You are saying that the rivers and canals were also somewhere that Edo’s population could relax.

Toru

Well by and by, as the transportation of supplies shifted from the water to the land, numerous rivers and canals were filled in in Tokyo. Nevertheless, many watercourses remain in the modern city. Look there, our boat is coming.

The three friends board the boat and it starts on its passage while offering views of the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower. Along the way, it crosses under numerous bridges.

Vanessa

Regarding the Sumida’s bridges, they are interesting because each one seems distinctive in terms of its color and style!

Claude

Passing under the bridges along the river has a certain impact about it. Seeing the stands of tall buildings from the water is also amazing in that they seem to rise from ground level.

Toru

What do you think? Are you enjoying the experience of witnessing Tokyo’s cityscape from a slightly different perspective?

Vanessa

Yes, it is very refreshing.

Claude

And look over there, I can see Tokyo SKYTREE! Toru, this little expedition by boat is most enjoyable!

Toru

I agree. In that in recent years there have been efforts to try and bring back the idea of “Tokyo being a water capital,” much attention is being paid to transportation by boat representing an important tourism resource. In addition to the Sumida, there are other watercourses along which you can cruise the city by boat. It seems that small craft that run courses through the heart of the city on the Nihonbashi, Kanda and Onagi rivers, etc., are also proving very popular.

Vanessa

Look there! The cherry trees are in full bloom along both banks of the river.

Claude

That is wonderful! The blue sky and the pink of the cherry blossoms is beautifully reflected in the water.

Vanessa

You also have SKYTREE in the background. Toru, this really is a wonderful hanami spot!

Toru

It makes me very happy that both of you are enjoying the experience. In that from here on in the weather will become better and better, what do you say to organizing another boat trip?

Vanessa

Yes, I would like to cruise Tokyo’s watercourses at night. I think the city skyline would be beautiful.

Claude

I would also like to board a yakata-bune at least once!

Toru

Both sound like great ideas! Let’s make some plans quickly!
Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau “Tokyo Cruising”
http://www.gotokyo.org/shuun/en/index.html