After visiting the Sensoji Temple, we walked to one of my favorite sushi places in Tokyo. Parents had sushi for the first time in Japan! The kaiten-sushi joint is located about three minutes away, near the Sumida River Boat Terminal.
After lunch, we went ahead with the next agenda – going on a cruise!
We often get on a cruise along the Yarra River whenever we visited Melbourne (the first thing we do after landing), so before the trip I highlighted that we could cruise along the Sumida River to my mom. There were several lines and boats to choose from, but we opted the one headed toward the man-made island, Odaiba. Considering the distance, the rate of ¥1200 per adult (about RM45) is a pretty good deal.
Here’s a picture of the many types of boats you can ride on. Himiko and Atakemaru are two unusual cruise boats you can ride on. Where Atakemaru is more designed to look like an ancient Japanese boat (it’s huge and colorful, we were really wondering who’d ride that), Himiko is a futuristic boat I’d love to try one day. I recall seeing it afloat and playing hip-hop music with loud bass inside!
I suggested my parents to skip the Himiko, since we won’t be able to feel the wind if we’re in the boat since it’s too covered. We got on one of the more Western-looking boats with multiple decks.
Unlike the Yarra, the view along Sumida isn’t all spectacular. You’ll be passing through ordinary buildings (or maybe I got used to the city) with the exception of a few – like the Tokyo SkyTree, Tokyo Tower and further ahead, the Odaiba Rainbow Bridge and Fuji TV Building. The weather was sunny and the water was so clean. It became an enjoyable ride
Asna, Reza and I enjoyed the view from the top deck – where we could run and fool around, while my parents would rather sit at the lower deck — they’ve got fancy seats!
Before reaching Odaiba, we stopped by Hinode Pier (the nearest pier to Tokyo Tower) to change boats. I’m not sure how long the whole ride was in total, but it felt like we had ample time to enjoy the view, water and wind. Soon we saw the bay – there’s Odaiba, an artificial island built in the 1850s with the purpose of defending Edo (the name of Tokyo, previously) from sea attacks. Here’s a better explanation from Tokyo Travel:
Odaiba (お台場) is a popular shopping and entertainment district on a man made island in Tokyo Bay. It originated as a set of small man made fort islands (daiba literally means “fort”), which were built towards the end of the Edo Period (1603-1868) to protect Tokyo against possible attacks from the sea and specifically in response to the gunboat diplomacy of Commodore Perry.
More than a century later, the small islands were joined into larger islands by massive landfills, and Tokyo began a spectacular development project aimed to turn the islands into a futuristic residential and business district during the extravagant 1980s. But development was critically slowed after the burst of the “bubble economy” in the early 1990s, leaving Odaiba nearly vacant.
We reached the pier and got on this wooden walkway on the right side of the exit, filled with trees. Suddenly it’s like going to a wildlife sanctuary! As we walked ahead, there were a couple of observation decks for visitors to utilize, facing the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower. I could imagine how beautiful it would be at night, when the Rainbow Bridge lights up in different colors.
There are a couple of things to do and see in Odaiba and you can read up on the attractions here, but we were really there because Asna requested to see Odaiba (more Digimon influence) and because I thought it’d be a good idea to show my parents more futuristic buildings like the Fuji TV Building in an area that’s not as packed as the city. Previously my friends and I got on a shuttle and spent the whole day at Odaiba, but when traveling with family, we can’t afford to consume so much of Asna’s energy. After walking and admiring the view for a while, it was time to go back to our hotel for the prayers, call it a day and continue the journey at night.
On the left of the end of the walkway was Aqua City, a shopping mall, while on the right (maybe two hundred meters away), it was the Daiba station of the Yurikamome line. Since we reached this place by water, it was a good idea to experience the rail. The Yurikamome line is different and I love riding it because the train crosses the Rainbow Bridge… and it provides a fantastic view of Odaiba and the bay!