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Tokyo’s Waterways to Shine in the Light of 2020 and Beyond

June 1, 2019 Visit North Asia No Comments Email Email

Whilst waterways may not be the first thing to be associated with the buzzing metropolis, they sure are one of the most historically significant ones – and they are about to stand in the spotlight more than ever as we move closer to 2020. 

Tokyo’s connection with water is a deeply rooted one going back to the old days of Japan. Bustling with boats ferrying people and goods through the city, life centred around Tokyo’s rivers and waterways during the Edo period (1603-1867).

Modern-day Tokyo owes much to the intricate system of waterways created during this period. New developments out on Tokyo Bay and along the city’s waterfront areas pay homage to this history and are fast becoming some of the city’s most exciting neighbourhoods.

The Harumi waterfront district of Tokyo, known for its beautiful views over the lower reaches of the Sumida River, has been designated as the site to host the visiting international athletes next Summer and is set to impress athletes and visitors alike.

But even if you can’t travel to Tokyo for major international sporting events, there are plenty of unique ways to explore the historic waterways of Tokyo all year long.

Here are our Top 5:

The “Yakatabune” Pleasure Boat Experience: Eat, drink and be merry on board a “Yakatabune”, historically referred to as Japanese pleasure boat. Usually an evening affair, feast on traditional Japanese cuisine as you admire the big city lights by night.

Stroll former merchant districts: Served by multiple waterways, the area from Akihabara south through Kanda, Nihonbashi and Ginza was one of the liveliest and most prosperous districts of Edo, inhabited by merchants and craftsmen. Today, they remain key business districts with department stores and large retail outlets lining their main streets.

Explore remnants of the Edo period: Head to the Hama-rikyu Gardens right by the Imperial Palace, which, during the days of Edo, was the site of Edo Castle and the seat of the Tokugawa Shogun. Surrounded by an intricate system of moats, the castle was impenetrable.

Row a section of the Chidorigafuchi Moat: Just by the Hama-rikyu Gardens, you can rent a boat to row along a section of the Chidorigafuchi Moat, an activity that is particularly charming during cherry blossom season.

Take a River Cruise: Operating along the Sumida, Kanda and Nihonbashi rivers, cruises are an excellent way to take in the sights of the city, old and new.

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