Typically you get around Tokyo by rail-driven public transport. A train connection here, a few metro stops there – and sometimes, you go for a bus or take a taxi. As especially the Southern part of the city is also having a lot of water and piers, it does not feel too surprisingly that there are also ferries connecting several spots of the city. During our stay, my wife and I had a ride with Tokyo Cruise, which are sometimes also named as Suijobus. We went for a rather posh way to travel with them. Here is my review.
Suijobus Tokyo Cruise – Location and Routes
Tokyo Cruise serves a total of seven different locations. I would say that three of them are the key ones, Asakusa, Odaiba Seaside Park and Hinode Pier. We had the trip from Asakusa to Odaiba Seaside Park. The trip is one of the longest on their schedule. However, we had a non-stop service, there are also itineraries with stops in between, especially Hinode Pier. I would recommend to check out their website, it is rather informative about the current schedules.
The cruise we took operated on a Sunday afternoon. The travel time was estimated with slightly less than one hour. The vessel we used was their poshest one, Emeraldas. While the nominmal total price of 7,440 JPY (45 EUR) feels rather hight, you have to state that 4,000 JPY was the reservation fee for an exclusive compartment on board (see below). Thus, the base fare per person was 1,720 JPY or roughly 10.50 EUR.
Suijobus Tokyo Cruise – The Ships
Tokyo Cruise runs three vessels. We had the Emeraldas, which also offers the most amentities. The other boats are called Hotalune and Himiko. Their design is rather similar, they all come with that futuristic look. The Emeraldas can operate with up to 100 passengers. It is 34.5 meters long and 8.4 meters wide. The 423 kW engines provide a maximum speed of 10.3 mph.
You enter the vessel from doors on the side. The main cabin of the ship are tables on each side of the ship and plastic chairs. Despite the ships are rather flat, the windows offer nice views. However, the sun-protection layer of the windows leads to a blue-ish color. The really posh option is that you can book a compartment in the ship. Two a bit more separate ones are located in the rear. We had the posher one, which is overlooking the main cabin. The price for that on a weekend was 4,000 JPY for one trip – weekday ride supplements are cheaper. You had nicer seats and priority boarding, which gave us a very relaxed trip.
Suijobus Tokyo Cruise – The Cruise
Waiting for the boarding and boarding itself at Asakusa Pier felt a bit of chaotic. The main reason for that was the coordination between different employees. One sent us – correctly – to separate priority lane, while the other insisted that we go back in the main line, which went a bit forth and. Once boarding started (we had to wait some additional minutes in a line outside), the remaining boarding process went smoothly and we were guided to our seats (in contrast to main cabin, which is first come-first serve).
The first part of the cruise went Southbound on the Sumida River. The cruise is nice, but it is not a firework of tourist attractions on both sides of the water, so that you definitely also have time to relax. Once you pass Eitai bridge and you are getting closer to the islands and harbor facilities, the ride definitely gets more thrilling, also from a touristic perspective.
This is also about the point in time when a door in the roof of the ship is opened and you can enjoy the Japanese capital from the main deck. Not only due to the nice views, this is a very impressing experience. Short before you make it to Odaiba, the vessel also passes the famous Rainbow Bridge.
Suijobus Tokyo Cruise – Service
Apart from the weird boarding procedure, the service with Tokyo Cruise was really nice. There is even a small cafe onboard, so that we could refresh ourselves during the cruise. The prices were reasonable and there were even some souvenirs you could buy. The Emeraldas also featured a full service toilet. There was no WiFi onboard. There are no announcements about possible sights. Apart from signs, all formal communication onboard is done in Japanese only.
Suijobus Tokyo Cruise – My View
I really liked the cruise, especially because it gave us one hour of relaxed commute. If you use public transport between the two spots, the metro and rail connections are just very slightly longer – therefor, they are much more frequent and cheaper, so they might be the better option if you are in a hurry. Even though the price is rather high, I really loved having the private compartment as well – we had intense days in Japan and this gave us some quality time. Unfortunately, the boarding process was a bit too chaotic – and there cold be more communication on this rather touristic transport.
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