The Ara River, or Arakawa, comes into Tokyo from Saitama, snaking its way around before joining Tokyo Bay. The river is wider than Sumida River and is even home to Boat Race Edogawa, a sports venue where visitors can bet on racing boats speeding by on the river. For something a little more adventurous, the section of the river in Nagatoro-tamayodo National Park is good for rafting.
Chidori-ga-fuchi is a scenic area and part of the moat surrounding the Imperial Palace. It’s located in the northwest section, and the nearby park is a good spot for hanami. In springtime, renting a boat here is such a popular pastime that it can be difficult to obtain one. Chidori-ga-fuchi is perfect for those looking for a quiet, leisurely paddle on the water with good scenery.
Sumida River is Tokyo’s most famous river because, although it is much smaller, it’s more centrally located than the Arakawa. In places, the two run adjacent to each other or even meet via lock. Some cruise lines like Funa Sobi will actually take passengers through these locks while aboard their boats. There are countless water bus cruises to choose from, and piers dot the shores from Asakusa all the way to Odaiba. Sumida River is the place to go to see Tokyo’s famous Rainbow Bridge, the Skytree, and other iconic landmarks from the water.
Inokashira Pond is a man-made lake in Inokashira Park, Kichijoji. The area is a popular destination for locals hoping to escape the hustle and bustle of central Tokyo. As it is a small pond, the docks here rent out small swan or paddle boats on an hourly basis, and there are no large cruises or motorboats here.
Find the widest selection of cruises on Tokyo Bay, from an evening dinner cruise on the Vantean to a summer yukata-themed cruise on the Nouryousen. Be sure to read the route map carefully to avoid disappointment. Some cruises barely leave the waters near Odaiba, while other options are low enough to breeze past the boats and explore parts of the Sumida River as well.
Another large man-made lake, Shinobazu Pond is found in Ueno Park, the busiest of Tokyo’s public parks. With so much to do in Ueno Park already, Shinobazu Pond is nevertheless often crowded with boaters. Like Chidori-ga-fuchi, springtime is the busiest season.